items that are one or two off
I beg to differ…most jewelry nowadays is mass produced. The
major jewelry venues regularly sell thousands of a kind. The T.V.
hucksters very often order ten thousand items of a kind. As a matter
of fact, they don’t even want to desal with a supplier who cannot
turn out large quantities of identical items. On another level,
chains are a prime example of an item that is almost always mass
produced . Not only are they mass produced…they fall within close
tolerances of being easily recognized styles, dimensions and weights.
Chain making machines have no peers for productivity and uniformity.
Hand made chain is essentially a thing of the past. On the other
hand, little regard is allowed for the shortcomings of a given style
of chain. If it sells, produce it ! This is where the process starts
falling apart. A given style of chain will have fairly uniform wear
characteristics. The shortcomings of a given style of chain are well
known to all of us who have to repair them. Thus, we know that
herringbone chains will frequently become un-usable after a short
while because they kink. We also observe that box chains frequently
have poor butt joints that fail. Furthermore, we note that round
chains with flat tabs frequently fail because the tabs are not
soldered properly, or, better yet, that they should have been
assembled with tubular tabs. And then there is the so called French
Twist which is not soldered at all. The list goes on. Meanwhile the
disenchanted customer is alienated and the entire industry becomes
suspect ! Every element of the industry is fraught with questionable
practices and slipshod quality control. In other industries these
problems are recognized as being endemic to modern mass production
and certain controls have been instituted to allay the problems.
Recalls of faulty products are taken for granted. But, in our
industry, the total lack of sanctions begs for faulty products.
Loopholes get filled by shortcuts and shortcuts produce faulty
product. Ultimately we are going to have to take the bull by the
horns and realize that product liability should apply to every
industry if we are going to retain the confidence of the
consumer…the people who pay our bills !
Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA