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Soap boxes, alloys and attitudes!


I couldn’t agree more with Steven Kretchmer. The need for instant
gratification and to have everything handed to oneself has led to
more problems than not in society. Credit so we can have it now
and pay for it later is the prime exemple of this. Others still
blaming the wealthy for having too much money that they worked hard
for and earned.

Listen, there is a wealth of out there in books and
even on the internet. Go forth, research, and discover something
new instead of worrying about what someone else has already
discovered. You may want to learn to make blue gold to use in your
own designs, but what if instead you spent your energy
experimenting and dicovered a malleable purple gold alloy?! Even
by accident this would be a great accomplishment. There is so much
more to be dicovered and invented yet than there has been so far.

Sorry folks,

I wasn’t going to ‘rise’ to the bait of Mr Kretchmer, but this
posting has goaded me into it:

Orchid is a place for us ALL to learn something about our
industry, our hobby, whatever. It is not possible to experiment
and learn without a starting point and I am sure that Tobey was
only looking for a starting point. I teach jewellery and I have to
ask Messrs Maugham and Kretchmer exactly where they would now be in
the jewellery industry if they had never been taught anything, if
they had never looked anything up in books, if they had never used
anyone elses ideas?

Why, I have to ask, are these people even members of Orchid, if
not to share ideas?

For my part, I will continue to share my knowledge and ideas with
anyone who wishes them and ignore the attitude of the above-quoted
thread, as I hope and trust the other Orchid users will.

Yours aye,
Dauvit Alexander,
Glasgow, Scotland.


Some, simply like to assume that they are “discoverers” and want
to pretend they are doing things on their own . . . kind of like
"OH, you just stole my design . . ." But, the "design in question"
was that of an oak leaf . . . exactly like those which grow on the


Thanks, Dauvit. I, too, have been wrestling with their posts and
your response matches my reaction exactly! I’m not a newbie to
metal work, but by no means am I an expert either. The posts on
this list have helped me immensely since I “found” Orchid last
year. They have broadened my horizons, increased my knowledge, and
improved some of my techniques. In the long run this type
helps our entire industry because the more we share,
the better our work and fewer shoddy pieces contaminate our
reputation as a whole. If its proprietary, just say so, but a few
hints as to how to proceed with your own experimentation aren’t
going to “rob” one of your just due. If this list was just for
experts, what would they talk about - who does it better? And
remember, although no one wants their work copied, imitation IS
the best form of compliment. Personally, when my work is imitated
it motivates me to move on, provides the impetus to spur my
imagination and inspires me to create new and better work.

One more comment for all the newbies out there (of which Tobey is
not), your questions and responses contribute to what makes this
list so great. Don’t be intimidated, keep asking!

Bacliff, Texas Gulf Coast USA


Och! Dauvit, I’m wi’ you on this one! The Krechmers of the world
may just have it all wrong. I’ve been a jeweller from apprentice
to master, man and boy for forty two years. It’s been a long
while and in that time I’ve won four Diamonds International
Awards and many National Awards in Oz. I hope I’ve made my
contribution and paid my dues. I’ve trained a lot of apprentices
and I’m proud of every one of them. I’ve taught them everything I
know and not one of them has ever threatened my existence or
earnings. They have made their own mark in their own way.

For the last four years I’ve been teaching all I know at the
Design Centre to apprentices in our premier trade school and I’ve
confirmed what my father and grandfather always believed and
practiced - that you only grow by giving.

Look at the respect Charles Luton-Brain has earned through his
generosity. Look at the generosity of the rest of the Orchid
group, the sharing and the stimulation that makes this such a
wonderful site. Good on you, Dauvit, Rex from Oz

    Och! Dauvit, I'm wi' you on this one! The Krechmers of the
world may just have it all wrong.

I have to agree with you Dauvit and Rex and Gabrielle. I have
only been in this business for 18 years, but if it hadn’t been
for my teachers, my fellow goldsmiths and artists, and the
employers I have worked for who have readily shared their many
years of accumulated knowledge I would have gotten nowhere. The
sharing of knowledge, of techniques, tools and procedures for
fabrication, casting, setting, and polishing, was all important
to me in my desire to improve. Without it how do we learn? It
is an ongoing learning process for every one of us. We don’t
just stop if we win an award. We go on. Mr. Kretchmer is the
same. He doesn’t stop at just designing. He continues with
making a model, casting it, settting stones, polishing. Where did
he, or any of us, get that skill? From someone who taught it to
us. From someone who shared their knowledge and skill with us,
to help us get better, as jewelers, goldsmiths, artists,
hobbyists, or whatever. To deny the offering of knowledge based
on the paranoid assumption that it will lead to a loss of sales
or a special technique to a competitor really misses the point.
Without the sharing of knowledge the industry doesn’t bring in
new blood to keep it alive. We all end up losing out, and the
trade gets stale. No new designs. No new techniques. No new
I have to admit that there are many in the American
Jewelry Design Council that feel the way Mr. Kretchmer does. But
there are others that do not. As for me? I will continue to
give out any on anything I feel I know anything
about, to anyone who who has an interest in learning something

The best to all of you who are on a quest to learn,

Barry Hansen
Hansen Designs
Corona, California



Since it’s come up again, my $.02. I would agree with what you
say about sharing and generosity. However, if you have spent
much of your time on a specific discovery that can be patented
and desire to recoup, I think you have that right. It is my
understanding that this is what Mr. Krechmer is talking about. I
think the tone of his post was most unfortunate, as he could have
said that he just couldn’t afford to give away the amount of time
he had invested in his tension setting to those who wanted the
idea for free. I think that that is what he meant. I applaud
his industry as I applaud your generosity. I hope that both are
justly rewarded.



This is a sore subject for me. In my years on the road I
wintered in Texas selling in a street market. This was full of
the most secretive bastards you would ever want to meet, and also
the most stagnant artists too. Almost all of them learned from
one source or another and then withdrew into their safe little
line, never to share or learn anything.

Not only does this create an atmosphere of stagnation
technically it also stifles creativity. I have learned many
techniques from this list that I will probably never use but each
and every one stirs the creative juices, without which we become
nothing more than factory workers.

These folks also had the attitude that if they were the only
person selling at the market, they would get all the sales. In
reality, if you are the only person selling, then you just become
a bum on the street. We all need each other to create a market,
we even need the K-Marts of the jewelry world.

Leave the Krechmers of the word alone, they will self destruct,
just as the poor souls mentioned above did. I left every year and
spent time in the real world, rubbing elbows with other artists,
and came back with a fresh outlook and a fresh line of jewelry.
And they were left to wonder why my sales were better

OK, I’ll get down off the soap box now, Besides I’m afraid of


I agree. It’s a lot of fun talking to other craftspeople and
trading There are enough books, classes, and other
jewelers around that its unlikely anything will stay a secret.
Also, I try to do new designs all the time. The most secretive
people at shows frequently are the ones whose work is static.



Dear Mr. Kretchmer- I read both the recent request directed to you
and your response to it. I was tempted to throw my hat in this ring
as it where, but as they say, ‘discretion is the better part of
valor’, and all that, so I refrained from rising to what I
preceived to be bait, or calculated to cause a response. Until
today, Orchid willing. Being an aspiring inventor myself, I fully
understand your Intellectual Property rights and I personally
admire your dedication to what you pursue. That being said, let me
say further that while recognizing your right to keep your work
product to yourself, your concerns about possible competition,
patent infringement possibilities etc., I mean don’t you think that
your response was a little over the top? I mean as was said here
on Orchid recently, We are all involved in this thing because we
believe in helping others learn and improve their skills and
knowledge and in the process learn ourselves. Anytime a person
thinks that they know everything about this business, well, just
post it off to Orchid, because you will be proven wrong. This
person wasn’t seeking to take over the colored gold jewelry
business, I don’t think, do you? He is a person who is only
seeking to get started in this business as you yourself once had to
do and where would you be today, Mr. Kretchmer, if not for the
people who helped you get started and helped you along? Or maybe
you were re- incarnated with your knowledge and skills intact? What
if everybody you ever sought advise from had this response for you?
Seems to me that there has to be discretion exercised here. I mean
it’s not like this is not available Maybe Tobey just
wanted to save himself a little time and frustration and thought it
wise to ask someone’s advise about it. I know that once I was
interested in Mokume Gane and made some. It gave me a new respect
for those people who are really masters at it, because I learned
that I was not. You know, Mr. Kretchmer, after a person futzes
around with this blue gold or pink platinum or whatever for awhile,
don’t you think that they would have a new found respect for your
efforts? And do you think that if you told him that he could get
this alloy at such and such a place that you have a deal with,
where’s that hurt you? It doesn’t take a genius to discover that
different elements in differing amounts causes different hues,
where’s the harm in maybe giving a helping hand to someone who
lacks your experience in this? Nobody is asking you to compromise
your IP rights and the ‘concept’ of colored gold is not patentable
anyway- it’s like saying you can’t make blue paint because I have a
patent on the color blue. And besides, these colored gold formulas
are out the in the public domain and have been published which
would further bar their patentability. It was a good thing that
Tobey asked via Orchid as someone else was kind enough to point
this out to him. This reminds me of the cable bracelet controversy,
or the chain slide one, or the Kieselstein-cook or whatever
buckles. Seems like a lot of people that are very paranoid about
having any competition at all, to me. A specific design, yes, you
should be free from having it knocked off, but how can you expect
to have infringment protection on whole concepts of design? You can
try forever to put a nice spin on it, Mr. Kretchmer, and post all
of the nice stories you want, but you can’t disguise the truth. You
were simply exercising your right to not help someone (which is
your right), I just think that maybe it was a little heavy-handed.
Sincerely, Ricky Low, Houston, Texas


I’ve gone through the orchid archives and read all the posts I
could find on blue gold and attitudes and I can’t find it any fault
with Steven Kretchmer’s position. In hindsight it appears it would
have been wiser if he’d never responded at all to the blue gold
post. What I find disturbing is the attitude that a lot of people
seem to have that any anyone possesses belongs to
everybody. Steven Kretchmer did point us to some articles or books
on the subject of blue gold and he challenged people to do some
experimentation and work through the problems. I think that’s
what any university professor would do. I didn’t read in any post
that anyone had tried to do anything at all to create blue gold.
The first step in learning something isn’t to ask someone else for
the answer. Try to work things out and when you come to problems,
describe the situation and ask for assistance. I didn’t see where
anyone made one move to create one gram of this stuff. What I did
see was a half-dozen posts jumping all over a guy because he
didn’t want to give away something he’s spent thousands of dollars
and hundreds of hours working on. I don’t see how anyone can make
these demands. His position is a standard one in any industry, and
companies in any industry thrive on competition. However, giving
your company’s assets away to the competition is simply foolish.
Nobody does it. Try calling Coca-Cola for their recipe. If
Kretchmer patents his formula and process we can read all about it.
Eventually this will be in the public domain, like
most of the other passed back and forth on this list,
and we can all use his recipe to make all the jewelry we want.
Right now we are free to roll up our sleeves and create our own

Dick Caverly

 What I find disturbing is the attitude that a lot of people seem
to have that any anyone possesses belongs to

I tend to agree… If you don’t wanna give up your secrets,
don’t. I have learnt my skills 10% school 90% experimentation.
That is why orchid is so great. Those who do share things, even
little tidbits, have been wonderful. I seriously doubt if I had
spent as much time getting blue gold, as the gentleman did, I would
give up that kind of either. Have we typed enough
about this subject yet???


Hi Dick,

I don’t think any thinking individual begrudges Steve a recouping
of his expenses and the ability to make as much money as
possible from the sweat of his labor and the fruits of his
intellect. That said, I suspect that the response that he gave
appeared to be arrogant, condescending, and (As a conservative to
the right of Attilla the Hun this liberal Democratic buzz phrase
is hard for me to use) mean spirited(Whew, there I said it!)!
Maybe he just had a bad day. None of us ever experienced that I’n



                                  Skip Meister
                                NRA Endowment and