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Rhodium rant responses

Good day to everyone, Wishing to provide clarification on a couple of
points that I have previously made which caused some feathers to be
ruffled, I submit the following:

(1) I read the posts in this forum as a means of gaining insight
into the daily activities of others in the industry, and glean
knowledge from others with whom we all share experiences related to
our work or hobby. I, too, work many more hours a day than I should.
I have spent 25 years in this industry, and, in that time, have
learned much about the science and mechanics of the creation of
beautiful things, and just about as much about the people who make
it their life work. Often, fragile egos are at stake, and one must
be sensitive to the feelings of others. However, I stand by my open
criticism of those who will offer advice that may result in damage
to goods or the reputation of the poor soul who follows such advice.
In short, if you don’t have a qualified answer to a valid question,
it may be best for you to remain silent.

(2) Mr. Fuja commented that my contention was that this forum is
populated by “schmucks”, which was not, in any way,
intended…although I made reference to amatuers giving advice to
amateurs. This was justifiable, given the quality of the answers
which were given to the person asking about the rhodium plated
diamond. At the end of every job is a customer…who will talk about
their experience, good or bad, with many other potential customers.
Satisfied customers provide ongoing income for deserving jewellers.
Jaded customers sometimes swear-off jewellery for life. In the end,
it will be the customer who will judge you…not me. My post was
sent to Orchid to save someone’s butt, and in doing so, do my part
to protect an industry which has suffered under a deluge of
fast-buck artists, outright crooks, and shameless liars. This
industry feeds my family, and I am compelled to do what I can to
protect the collective interests of all who make their living in the
"second-oldest profession". Oh, and I must add…the word "schmuck"
is your term, not mine, because to millions, it is the German word
for “jewellery”, and I can’t explain for the life of me how it ever
became an American slang for stupid people.(I’ll think about it some

(3)Ted asked about rhodium plated chain, and how to remove the
rhodium…and I will say this: I don’t know. My experience with
electrostripping involves cupric oxide removal, not rhodium, and I
can’t say what the negative side-effects of the stripping might do
to the chain. Burning the rhodium off with a flame is not an option
with chain, as there is often a surplus of solder used in its
manufacture. Better to get the customer a new chain, save the screw
-around labour, and try and make up the cost in the next job you do
for them.(They will be satisfied. What is that worth to you?)
Telling them “I told you so” is not going to improve the
jeweller/client relationship.

(4) Mr. Huffman took some exception to my remarks about amatuers
giving advice to amatuers, and stated, in a round about way, that
the professionals in our industry covet their trade secrets…and
are not always the source of clever wisdom. This may be true where
you live Mr. Huffman, but in general, I disagree. I have apprenticed
under several masters,travelled extensively, and have never been
denied which could help me to improve my knowledge or
skill. To imply to the readers of Orchid that professional jewellers
are uncooperative, or that one out of twelve is "woefully ignorant"
may reflect the particular demographics of your community, and I
feel sorry for the customers that are served there, but your
generalization does not apply to the real world. I have had other
jewellers go out of their way for me during my earlier years, and I
have carried this forward.

I simply have a problem with misas it is far more
destructive than lack of Creating misand
generously offering it to participants in this forum is
irresponsible, and to excuse the behaviour of those who do this by
tarring and feathering the professionals in front of an
impressionable audience of newbies does everyone a disservice.
Respectfully, David Keeling

Hello David Keeling and Orchid participants;

I’d like to make a final comment on this thread and move the
discourse forward to make what I hope is a useful observance on the
nature of the forum itself.

First, David’s responses are an excellent examples of the kind of
erudite professionalism that keeps me anxious to get home after a
days work and log on to read the Orchid postings. I’m still of the
cynical sort, and I don’t think I’m ready to change my opinion of the
general level of knowledge of professional jewelers. David points
out that in my case, it may be a regional problem, and he’s probably
right. But I wonder if he doesn’t make my, point, somewhat, with
this comment in his latest post:

  My post was sent to Orchid to save someone's butt, and in doing
so, do my part to protect an industry which has suffered under a
deluge of fast-buck artists, outright crooks, and shameless liars. 

But I do reconsider my opinion that jewelers are not generous with
their knowledge. Looking back, I think it’s been the few exceptional
cases of jewelers being close-lipped about their trade that have
formed my opinion. I still maintain there are a lot of very vocal
"experts" who are successful at self promotion but really shouldn’t
be held up as experts in the field. But he’s right, I shouldn’t
publicly tar the profession. My real issue is that businesses have
driven down wages, scrimped on training and other resources, and
discouraged a lot of good talent and it’s beginning to show.

But take a look at the way this dialogue on the rhodium plated
diamond has evolved.

  1. we have a problem, and someone can’t effectively describe it but
    they urgently need help. 2. a lot of opinions fly around, at first,
    not very useful. 3. the problem is finally described and an effective
    solution arrived at (I think). 4. banter begins criticizing how the
    situation was responded to. 5. the best people try to be both
    supportive of others while at the same time encouraging better
    responsibility and increased knowledge.

Now I ask you: Can you imagine what would happen if businesses in
America worked this way? I wish I worked for that kind of company.
My suggestion to Orchid readers is to pay attention to the threads on
the forum and wait until all the opinions are in and the reactions to
those opinions have been stated before you try something that could
cost you a lot of money or grief. The best knowledge will prevail, I
think, and we will eventually learn to recognize that members like
David Keeling are especially knowledgeable and we will look forward
to the time at which they decide to comment on the situation. Thank
you, David, for your advice, and I know you’ll understand that when
we respond, even critically, we still value your contribution. I
personally am at a point where I don’t need technical help as much I
need help in the areas of character and temperament, and I recognize
which members, like David Keeling, are more astute in those areas
than I am. I am always in awe of those of us who can become really
good at this job without developing a correspondingly huge ego.

David L. Huffman