Where does "quality" creep into that? And what makes one approach
of"higher" quality than another?
Well Brian I can see the gears spinning in your brain, which is kind
of the point of my writing this, is to think about things.
Number one, we went to a funeral a few weeks ago for a 92 year old
cousin. A relatively small crowd for our Italian family, his kids
and grandkids and others. When the priest asked if anybody wanted to
say anything, nobody did. But he was never wrong, whatever that
Number two, I wrote the start of this thread in a effort to move
this forum onwards from all of that. No other reason, really, I’m
just a writer by nature.
Number three, as I said in the beginning, I am talking about
business, not idealism. Making jewelry (orrelated things)
successfully so that you have cash flow that becomes self
perpetuating and can live off of your work. The topic is phrased as
a question but it is rhetorical.
In a nutshell, time is money. One person gets a silver wire and
makes a band very casually, throws it in the tumbler and calls it
quality, another makes it in gold by filing stock as I talked about,
but fairly casually (like me) and calls it quality. Cartier uses the
same methods but insists that the tolerances must be +/- half a
tenth everywhere, and calls it quality. Yes, you can use a lathe but
theband is only an easy example and the lathe is just a labor saving
device (time=money). And yes Brian and others, they are all correct.
"This is my space and my product and if I say it’s quality, it is."
That’s theclassroom and book and philosophy part and I have no
problem with any of that.
Thing is, those three rings don’t have the same value, meaningprice,
ultimately, even discounting the metals cost. Not only does the
Cartier ring have triple or more the time it also has triple the
skill level, which translates into labor cost. And this is obvious
but it’s alsothe reality of running a jewelry business. There are
those in this world who will say, "That’s not good enough for me"
and there are others who will say that they like it funky. You, as a
businessperson need to supply those people with what they want. It’s
just not as simple as some philosophical argument about aesthetics
or machinery or handmade or what, it becomes about cash, and making
So. You handmake everything. Why? You never buy commercial findings?
Why not? You would never use casting as a process. Again, why not?
If the reader has good, valid answers to those (and other) questions
then that’s fine. If it’sjust a mindset that “this is how things are
done”, as with our seemingly dear departed, then maybe you are
shooting yourself in the foot.
If you’re making a custom setting that’s unique, then that’s one
thing. If you’re making the same setting you can buy from Stuller
for fifty bucks because “everything has to be handmade, dammit” then
that’s quite another. I understand the differences between forged
metal and cast but whether those differences actually mean anything
in the real world in any given circumstance is arguable, at times,
not arguable at other times.
Business. You can fabricate your special setting over and over and
over or you can make a line of models and cast them. Not only does
your outright cost get cut by a tenth, but then whoever does the
work doesn’t need to have theskill to make the setting, just to
stick it wherever it’s supposed to go. The job changes from special
order to assembly and who is to say the quality is less? Not me, in
The reason this comes up is because one said that another’s work
lacked something that the other justdidn’t care to hear about - I’m
assuming. It’s fine to be a critic if you are neither buying nor
selling nor making it and have no stake whatsoever, in the end. In
the real world of this business I have to make these decisions every
day - this is a hundred dollar job and it gets that much, that’s a
two thousand dollar job and it gets THAT much. It’s all a car - all
of the cars have engines, brakes and wheels and they are all shiny
and function well. That’s a fundamental meaning of quality. In our
case, this car has fabric and that one has leather, that one has a
Because somebody is paying for it.