Strange days

Hi all

just had a good days trading at Bellingen Markets (MNC AUST).

Interesting my friend who is an English trained silver smith, did
not know how to use a fineness stamp.

All her work in England went to the Assay Office. We do not need to
fineness mark under law in Oz, yes weird.

Told her how I do it showed a stamped piece with the 925 in an oval,
the aust fineness mark.

Ringing HOJ this week to get one. Also she said she had trouble
sourcing gems, trade does not want to sell to her no problem,
ordering from O’Neils Affiliated this week. She did not tell them she
was a professional and English trained.

They don’t let the hobby people in only professionals. And believe
me the last thing the trade wants in a gem dealers is a hobby buyer
who does not know what they are looking for and wants to waste time
browsing. Professionals already have the designs done and know what
stones in which sizes they want and while that is being invoiced will
then browse and will be finished browsing before the invoice is
written and the stones packaged!

A jeweller who is moving to the area, recently working in a top shop
in Sydney making 30k plus jewellery, looked at my new cocktail ring
design I said I was not happy with and he told me not to be picky it
was great.

Yep close but no cigar for me, sold it no problems. It was a massive
12mm round CZ set in sterling. Need those dimensions to get the

Sadly though he told me how the trade was dying because the wages
are so low for those without in demand skill sets.

Gem setters for one. My daughter gets paid more as a Barista than
she could earn as a trade jeweller. And she can do a lot more than
solder prefabricated bits together and give it to the polisher, who
then gives it to the gem setter. Such is much of the trade trained in
Aust. There are exceptions Enmore college was good but apparently the
whisper is they are aiming to train designers not fabricators in the
future. Heard this again today.

Sadly give the average young Australian trade jeweler a design, some
metal granules and point them to the ingot/wire moulds and they are
lost. How sad.

Then a charming elder lady, same generation as me LOL, admired my
reticulated rings and told me she had bought a magazine to learn
reticulation. Described the process and asked what I thought. I was
honest “Throw it in the bin.” Explained how I was taught to
reticulate sterling, yes not 800, sterling! The magazine had a very
complicated and lengthy process that started with pumice stoning the
metal. How I hate the expletive deleted experts.

How do I do it?

Simple. Get the billet of sterling say 1.5 mm thick and heat till it
it goes white, then keep heating until it starts to melt.

Keep the flame moving, then focus on a particular area till the
silver “pools” remove flame quickly and there you have reticulated
silver. Some practice is needed but it is not rocket science.

I then file down the inside and fabricate the ring. Solder and leave
in pickle for 10 minutes. Scratch brush.

Reheat pickle and scratch brush, twice more. Ring done. Made
thousands and this works well, no complaints.

Alternatively I give it a high polish and use the fire scale in the
dips to contrast with the raised parts.

My customers prefer the scratch brushed version.

I will be interested to see the steps others go through to
reticulate. And if they produce a superior product.

Always willing to learn but never to waste time.

Xtines Jewels