Before I ask my question, I want to make clear that while I made jewelry for a living, I am not a professional. I sell in markets, craft fairs & a couple of retail locations, and I make affordable stuff which people seem to like and which doesn’t break the bank. I don’t have a professional studio (it’s my bedroom!) and because I live in an apartment, I only use a butane torch. I work in silver and copper, and lately I’ve been adding recycled gold bits to some pieces (mostly by fusing it). When I grow up I’d like to be a real jeweler, get some training and have a proper studio, but at my age that may never happen. That said:
I have a regular customer (I’ve never met her, she found me on Instagram). She wants to commission me to re-purpose her & her husband’s wedding rings (he passed away). I’m frankly reluctant, the rings are beautiful First Nations work & she could get a very good price for them, though of course I understand the sentimental aspect & have done this sort of repurposing, on a smaller $cale, for other people. They are white & yellow, white on the inside, with a couple of small stones (sapphire & diamond, I think, from the photo).
My question is about melting the two colours of gold together. Apart from the fact that (I assume) it will be much less yellow, is there any other reason not to do this? I thought I saw a thread about this but can’t find it now.
I’m leaning a bit towards simply declining, to be honest, and suggesting she approach a professional. On the other hand she knows what I do and likes my style, so who I am to tell her what she should want? Sigh.
No the customer isn’t always right, They have no idea that jewelry making is as much science as it is art. While doing custom work clients often come up with lovely ideas that just simply won’t work in real life. this is where the jeweler needs to step up and take a position of knowledge and authority. And start with one of the two phrases, " As a professional I would advise you to" Or “I have consulted some of my industry experts and they have advised” …
It’s a really bad idea to melt two unknown alloys together. Some alloys are just not compatible and you may end up with a metal that wants to misbehave like cracking, pitting etc. Also the solder that was used to solder the two colors together will lower the karat and possibly contaminate the golds as well. And you will end up with an awful beige colored metal.
We always have our scrap gold refined back to 24 kt. We then alloy it ourselves to what ever karat we want. But then if you did that there is no way to know if you and the client will get back the same sentimental metal that was sent in.
Push the easy button. Tell your customer that you have consulted some experts in your field and tell her that they said “No it’s a bad idea”. Tell her what I said about the alloy and metal provenance issues. Then sell your client a nice chain to hang the beautiful rings on. She can wear them every day and remember her husband and the love they had. Buy the chain wholesale from a trusted source like Rio Grande, Stuller, etc. Add on shipping costs and double your costs to the client. Easy peasy. And easy money.
Thank you Jo, I appreciate it. She has been wearing them on a chain and says they’re too heavy. I’ve talked to her at length about my misgivings and she’s insistent. I’m going to see what I can do about separating the two layers. If I can’t do that, I have some 24k I can use to bring the colour up? Cheerio
Just an update. Thanks for all the advice. I told my client I was unable to do the job. I didn’t mention my personal feelings (my reluctance to be the one responsible for destroying two beautiful rings), just the technical difficulties. It was a relief to say no.