Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Technology used in fine jewellery vs hand fabricated

Slightly different angles of the photos make comparison a little
difficult - as I say, I like both of them. 

Judging jewellery from pictures is like trying to guess which apple
tastes better from the picture. It is an exercise in futility.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com

Here’s my personal experience: I do own a Taig 4-axis CNC mill, and I
have BOBCAD towrite milling code for the mill. What do I use it for?
Not much. If I wanted to just simply bang out fast jewelery to sell
at flea markets to supplement I SSDI income, I would have used CAD
only long since. Instead I am learning slowly to become an amateur
silversmith, in the tradition of jewelery goldsmiths but with silver
and copper as my medium because gold is out of my financial reach. I
haven’t sold a thing yet. But it’s a much more cost effective way of
providing presents to people, especially my wife, who wears some of
the things I have made to church regularly. I use my CNC mill only
as a universal power tool. I’ve made a couple engravings with it from
JPEG photos. I make specialized fixtures to hold my work in. And
finally, I made one silver casting mold out of Tufa rock. (I brought
100 pounds of Tufa from Gallup with meto Idaho, practically a
lifetime supply) I also use the CNC mill in jogging mode as a
precisiondrill into silver articles using my ,03 to .04 drill. So I
tend to use my equipment as an amplifier, nota crutch (hopefully not
very much as a crutch).

Andrew Jonathan Fine

Hi Leonid,

Judging jewellery from pictures is like trying to guess which
apple tastes better from the picture. It is an exercise in
futility. 

Well seeing it’s supposed to be a bit of “fun”, futility shouldn’t
really factor.

You do bring up an interesting point, about judging jewellery from
pictures and by extension, videos.

Regards Charles A.

Hi Charles,

A person who makes beaded jewelry is called a beader.

350 finished individual fine jewellery pieces per day was the stat
I was quoted. Another scary stat, an engagement ring fully finished
and set, ready to go 5 minutes. All hand work. 

Ok that beats me. I make roughly 400 hand forged copper Christmas
tree ornaments in a day These are all hand done with 23 steps from
start to finish. Made starting with 6 gauge copper round wire. Then
made into strips about 24 gauge thin. I cut, sand, anneal and when I
put in sharp bends, reanneal. Of course there is the pickling and
such. But what I’m on a stage at a Renaissance Festival all summer
is the twisting step. Quilling a paper art came from metal work. It
died during Shakespeare’s time. (the metal work part). BUT

I get the strips I twist ready before the stage demonstrations. If I
had to work the copper into strips and also doing the twisting in
one day, there is no way I could crank out 400 ornaments. I also do a
line of silver jewelry based on those designs. It boggles the mind to
think a person from start to finish can hand make an engagement ring
in 5 minutes. I can only imagine an assembly line of people working
on bits that have been fabricated in advance. How is this done?

Aggie
Flummoxed in Florida

Hi,

I previously posted about a seminal article I read by Sharon Church
in Metalsmith Mag. It was on a thread that talked about Handmade vs
Cast. It is pertinent to this thread also. The value in handmade is
the RISK involved that at every stage the piece could be destroyed.
CAD made is almost always perfect and identical.

I try to make all my work look hand made.

Esta Jo Schifter
www.shiftingmetal.com

You do bring up an interesting point, about judging jewellery from
pictures and by extension, videos. 

Videos are done to demonstrate techniques of jewellery and not
jewellery itself. If video shows jewellery from different angles,
than some judgement can be reached in this regards. Pictures on the
other hand are static and even badly made piece can be positioned to
give good impression.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com

It boggles the mind to think a person from start to finish can
hand make an engagement ring in 5 minutes. I can only imagine an
assembly line of people working on bits that have been fabricated
in advance. How is this done? 

I was boggled too, it’s a production line process, and they go hell
for leather… personally I couldn’t take that amount of stress, even
if it was one process in ring manufacture.

Regards Charles A.

350 finished individual fine jewellery pieces per day was the stat
I was quoted. Another scary stat, an engagement ring fully
finished and set, ready to go 5 minutes. All hand work. 

I’ll get to the quote which I didn’t see where it came from
originally, in a sec. As for this eternally humorous thread in
general - we are jewelry manufacturers to the trade, by and large.
We get a job, we assess the best way to do the job by juggling
method, technique, time and always budget, and that’s what we do.
Period, end of story. The thoughts on this thread actually just
never cross my mind. Whatever is best to get the job done. Now, as to
the quote - I am blazingly fast at the bench. It’s unlikely that
anyone here is faster, though I’m sure some could keep up with me.
It takes me around 20 minutes to fabricate a wedding band to finish
polish if I have the stock - maybe 45 if I have to roll it out or
even melt it. Handmaking a (presumably diamond) engagement ring from
scratch in 5 minutes is simply not possible, and if you fabricate
the setting it becomes ridiculous to even say it.

So the quote just MUST be about something else. The last shop I was
in before going independent had 6 jewelers (goldsmiths), 3 setters
usually, 3 polishers and the casting room. There was a model maker
and I was second to him - I would do some of the specials he didn’t
have time for, and I’d do the production in between. We put out that
sort of production - maybe 2-3000 diamond rings a week. But we were
filing and assembling castings - handwork but beginning with
castings. A good diamond setter might set 2-300 stones a day,
depending on the type of setting. Yes, I’d sit down and solder 50
settings on 50 rings in a half hour, but it was just assembly work
and the polishing room did the prep after I filed them all up.
That’s the value of a production shop - goldsmiths do the
goldsmithing, polishers polish and setters set and all that work is
happening simultaneously. But the notion that a single person can
sit down and fabricate from scratch 350 truly fine pieces a day,
every day, is simply preposterous and I’m living proof.

Hi Leonid,

Videos are done to demonstrate techniques of jewellery and not
jewellery itself. If video shows jewellery from different angles,
than some judgement can be reached in this regards. Pictures on
the other hand are static and even badly made piece can be
positioned to give good impression. 

True videos move, but if you have a series of images that would work
better than a video. After all video is just a series of low quality
images, displayed at 30 fps in the US and 25 fps here in Oz.
Photographs can have a higher resolution, than standard video.

I do agree with you that an image is not as good as holding a real
piece of jewellery.

However we do have to have a few concessions due to distance.

If I want to show you something for a fun exercise, I’m not really
going to post the piece to you :wink:

Regards Charles A.

Hi John,

I am blazingly fast at the bench. It's unlikely that anyone here is
faster, though I'm sure some could keep up with me. It takes me
around 20 minutes to fabricate a wedding band to finish polish if I
have the stock - maybe 45 if I have to roll it out or even melt it.
Handmaking a (presumably diamond) engagement ring from scratch in 5
minutes is simply not possible, and if you fabricate the setting it
becomes ridiculous to even say it. 

I’ll get some more details from the teacher that told me the stat.
Personally I can’t see how an engagement ring manufactured, set and
polished by hand fabrication, could be done in that time, but he was
pretty adamant about the figure.

If it’s true, and not just marketing hype from Hong Kong, we’re
toast… well I would be at least :smiley:

It worries me a lot when I hear stats like this, I was sort of
hoping the list could provide a rebuttal.

Regards Charles A.

I am blazingly fast at the bench. It's unlikely that anyone here
is faster, though I'm sure some could keep up with me. 

Good to see that you have such a healthy and positive self image
John. The world is a hard enough place without people beating
themselves up. ; )

Mark

I knew a jeweler on the East Coast who worked a re-mount booth. He
once told me that he could size down a gold wedding ring, including
the cut-out, solder, file, sand, and re-polish the ring in 90
seconds. I think that’s right. He was very quick with his hands and
knew his business.

Jay Whaley

I am blazingly fast at the bench. It's unlikely that anyone here
is faster, though I'm sure some could keep up with me. 

Ha ha, nothing wrong with a positive self image and the physical
results to back it up as well, I’m sure of that.

When I was younger I used to do a lot of work for a diamond dealer
who only worked in a crisis mode.

He used to drag me with my mobile workbench off to do shows where he
would sell the loose diamonds and then I would make and set the rings
right there and then.

Serious, serious pressure work, but boy, like they say, there is
nothing to make you play a song faultlessly like playing in front of
a live audience.

The same goes for jewellery making as well.

Anyway, a few years ago I put myself to the test-- making a ring
from start to finish doing everything.

Alloying, rolling, gem cutting and pave setting.

Check out http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7zht

Just for fun, you understand.
http://www.meevis.com

If it's true, and not just marketing hype from Hong Kong,
we'retoast... 

well I would be at least :smiley:

Well, yes, Charles ask your teacher to clarify. I can solder a
center setting (straight, square and plumb) in about a minute. Any
good setter can set a 1 ct. diamond in a good setting in a minute or
two, and a quality polishing room can polish it in a minute or two -
and from a time-and-motion point of view there is your five minutes.

Think about it: Get a piece of wire stock, anneal it, cut it to
length, bend it into a circle, solder it closed, round it on the
mandrel, file it all over so it’s clean, sand itall over so it’s
even cleaner, cut out a place for the center setting, fit and solder
the setting, prepolish the ring and setting prior to setting, set
the diamond and then finish polish the whole ring. That doesn’t count
actually making a setting, just a ring with a stock setting. AND
it’s just a wire ring without any contouring or style. If each of
those tasks took one minute, the job would be more like 15 minutes,
no matter what. It’s actually an hour or two, depending on the
details,It just is. Now if you are talking about punching or casting
shanks and settings and using ~handwork~ to assemble, set and
polish, then five minutes isn’t so extraordinary as a shop average.
All that means is that they’re not using soldering kilns. It’s not
like the Chinese are miraculous because they’re just people like you
and I. The story is just mixing metaphors or something. It simply
can’t be.

Ha ha, nothing wrong with a positive self image and the
physical results to back it up as well, I'm sure of that. 

Nice job, Hans. Anhour to drill 18 holes?!?!? ;} That’s a good time
for doing that, though, especially cutting the stone, too. The point,
the point…

I guess there’s not one exactly except that time is money. If it’s
not, for you, then you are not a jewelry business. But, on the other
hand, it’s not a race - “fast” in this context just means working
efficiently, knowing exactly what you are doing and foreseeing the
future so you know what needs to be done next. Polish it now because
after you do THAT you won’t be able to get to it. I have a
meticulous platinum job right now that involves pushing 3 teeth of a
file - all that will fit - back and forth, back and forth. Quite a
few hours and it’s only 1/2 done. I guess the real point goes back to
the 5 minute thing, though. Hans’ ring is a quality piece and it
just takes what it takes to build it.

Somebody surely could do it quicker, maybe they could shave a whole
hour off. But there ain’t nobody, nowhere, who’s gonna do it in a
half hour or even an hour. Much less five minutes.

The answer to life, the universe, an everyrthin was 42. Maby it’s
now 43?

No, it’s 42. Humans claiming credit for the labours of others are
already accounted for in 42.

Anyway, a few years ago I put myself to the test-- making a ring
from start to finish doing everything. Alloying, rolling, gem
cutting and pave setting. Check out
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7zht 

Wow Hans, among the talented, you stand above the rest. Very few can
make the ring AND cut the stone… not to mention that Dragon Bow.
You have quite the bag of tricks my friend.

Mark

Hans: I’ve marked your presentation as a favorite on my computer. I
want customers and students to know what it takes to make a ring like
this from scratch. Thank you for sharing this gem of knowledge. We
don’t always get to see a master’s process – and in such an
imaginative way.

Betsy
www.misilverworks.com

Hello Hans,

Yup. Verr Purty. I appreciate your sharing the process and am in awe
of your abilities. Rock on, Hans… maybe someday I’ll be able to
meet you face to face!

Judy in Kansas, where yesterday’s show was great traffic in spite of
the constant drizzle. Wish people had been as enthusiastic about
parting with their money as they were about looking and asking
questions.