For goodness sake, nothing like embracing a little goldsmith
snobbery! What some might describe as production shops can easily
be very busy, productive shops where people wear headphones (so
they can listen to what they like), don't wash their hands every 5
minutes, wear t-shirts and jeans, yet do some of the finest work
you will ever see.
Some call it snobbery, and others call it professionalism.
Keeping hands clean is important for several reasons. First, at least
in my practice, clients like to visit from time to time, and been
able to shake hands without grossing them out, is important.
But even if shop is never gets visited, keeping hands clean is one of
the most important tools in gold preservation. There has been
discussion on differences between goldsmith and metalsmith working
with other than precious alloys. Goldsmith must know how to start
project with one ounce and end up with the same ounce. Metal
preservation techniques are unique to goldsmithing. If one works in
copper, there are no such concerns. So, the shop which does not care
for this, simply charges clients for excessive losses, or on it’s way
Headphones are a problem because it indicative that person does not
want to be there, so he/she wears headphones to block the outside
T-shirts and jeans, - means that there are no communication between
clients and the ones who actually making jewellery. That makes it
highly unlikely that a work of some caliber is done there. Would you
ever hire a lawyer or an accountant wearing t-short and jeans?
I had an interview once with an jewellery house of some reputation.
The shop was on Madison avenue, which is a high rent area. Everything
was fine until I asked to see the shop and was given a tour. Shop had
2 large windows, all completely blocked with used emery paper rolls.
The foreman proudly proclaimed that pile hadn’t been touched for
years. They were so busy that they simply had no time to deal with
it. For him it represented the highest achievement ever. I thanked
them for the time and left.