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What is "Fine" jewelry?


#1

Dear Orchid,

Dan, I agree. One too often unreported fact of a “retail” business
is that you WILL have a lady who needs a ring cut off the finger.
Sometimes men need that service, too. We use a "beaver ring cutter"
and apparently the local hospitals and undertakers don’t have these
things…get calls from undertakers sometimes.(mostly can’t do
that!)

So, when the swollen finger is puffy and the lady is in distress is
the blade of my “beaver ring cutter” going to do the job? This is a
point to consider, from the customers view and from that of the
seller who should be totally open up front about such a possibility.

Interesting thread you have going here.

Thomas. @Sp.T


#2

Dear Daniel,

I really couldn’t tell which side of the fence you are on. You made
reference to the statement that an abrasive wheel would make short
work of a Titanium ring that was too tight ( Tightanium…? ) If,
indeed, you are suggesting that a carborundum abrasive wheel is the
solution to cutting off a titanium ring from an expanding customer,
I would then put your solution into perspective by asking how in
hell you are going to keep the customer’s finger intact while
munching through the titanium at 18,000 rpm ?

As for your assertion that titanium is much less deformable than any
of the conventional jewelers’ metals , I am intrigued by the
possibility of using titanium as a potentially ideal metal for
mounting valuable Just recently I had the onerous task of
having to mount two half carat diamonds on a flat gold band wherein
the customer insisted upon using four prong heads …and, she also
wanted them mounted as high as possible. In keeping with her wishes
and in keeping with my concern for the safety of her diamonds, I
elected to mount them in the “Solstice” style four prong head which
is a fine combination of style and heftiness. The result was
stunning were it not for the fact that the customer returned a month
later with one of the prongs missing. Miracle of miracles, the
diamond was not missing. However, I noticed under the 'scope that
the break in the prong was obviously coarsely crystalized gold. DING
! It was a bad casting…! I decided that rather than take a
chance on another cast head I would use a die struck platinum
head.Alas, after having done so, I realized that the platinum head
was , for want of better words, mushy. Platinum may be very durable
and resistant to work hardening, but it is NOT resistant to
deformation ! ( And, thus, not a suitable substitute for security )

Therefore, why not consider titanium as a substitute for any of the
conventional jewelers metals as a medium for securing stones ?

I welcome input on this important problem. It seems to me that
finding a more secure way to mount valuable stones is a penultimate
consideration for jewelers. Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos CA.


#3

Ok…I can’t resist this one. Whenever I hear the term “Fine
Jewelry”, I invariably think of the mass produced items in gold,
platinum, and precious stones found in one’s local mall outlet or
department store. You know the ones…you can find an ad for them in
every weekend newspaper supplement in America, (think Sears, Macy’s,
JC Penny’s, Zale’s etc…). This “Fine Jewelry”, is photographed in
row after row of discounted splendor. I often will check out these
ads in detail, out of both curiosity and interest in the mass
population, who obviously purchase and support the continuation of
this particular vein of product. I guess it just shows to go ya how
manipulation of usage, can totally alter the meaning of a word.

Oh Yeah…and in case any of you are interested, for better or for
worse, QVC…is the single largest purchaser of
gemstones…precious…semi precious and other wise…in the world.
I have this first hand, as my mother worked for QVC at one time, and
the sheer volume of “Fine Jewelry” that is sold through QVC is mind
boggling. Oh the horror of it all. Personally, I think Ron Mills
described this whole question most succinctly. Hey Ron…where can I
get one of those slap you in the face chains…[grin]

Cheers,

Lisa, ( There’s a chill in the air, and my 16 year old son Wolf has begun
splitting the logs for winter’s fires), Topanga, CA USA


#4

All, Fine jewelry has a very precise description. Fine jewelry is
made of precious metals, precious and craftsmanship.
Precious metals are gold of 14kt or higher and platinum. Precious
gemstones are high quality diamonds, rubies, or sapphires.
Craftsmanship is the work of the master metalsmith. If any of these
qualities are missing then the piece is not “Fine Jewelry”. Yes, I
know all the arguments around this. Jewelry that does not contain all
these elements is not “fine jewelry”. A lady jeweler whom I know is
a master metalsmith. She has worked in Fine Jewelry for most of 25
years. She now is branching into using other stones and metals. She
does not call her work in these mediums “Fine Jewelry”. To avoid
contaminating the meaning of “Fine Jewelry” she calls her new
jewelry “Art Jewelry”. She works in mixed metals with semi-precious
stones and applies the same level of master metalsmithing. She
creates without destroying the meaning of “fine Jewelry” She is a
master.

Gerry Galarneau
@Gerry
www.galarneausgems.com


#5

Actually Ron, what I was implying is that there are no special
materials needed to cut titanium. yes it is much harder than gold,
silver, platinum etc., but it is still relatively easy to cut. In a
true emergency using a Dremel cut-off wheel is not very difficult,
and the resultant potential nick of the skin is much less a worry
than you might think.

Generally speaking I warn all of my customers that it is always
better to take the ring off before engaging in aggressive sports or
other such activities. Titanium rings when properly polished are
extremely silky on the inside surface and can easily be removed from
a not too badly swollen finger with soap and water.

The advantage of titanium is in its ability to withstand direct
impact which would otherwise deform a similar gold, silver, or
platinum ring. The deformation of these rings is what causes the
majority of rings to get stuck on your finger and require cutting
off. Since titanium will not deform it eliminates all of these
scenarios. When the ring stays round you would be surprised how
easily it can come off in an emergency.

As far as using titanium for prong settings, how do you expect to
attach the titanium to the rest of the ring?

Daniel J. Statman, Statman Designs
www.statmandesigns.com
@Dan_statman


#6
If, indeed, you are suggesting that a carborundum abrasive wheel
is the solution to cutting off a titanium ring from an expanding
customer, I would then put your solution into perspective by asking
how in hell you are going to keep the customer's finger intact
while munching through the titanium at 18,000 rpm ? 

Ron, I am relatively new to Titanium (I’ve been making Ti rings for
a few months) and am very curious about this problem. I’ve asked a
few experts without recieving a good answer. Can any of you
enlighten us as to how these rings can be cut off in an emergency?
(broken finger, expanding customer, etc.) If someone wants to test
some cutting techniques I could donate a simple band to the
experiment. Perhaps another strong but thin piece of metal could be
placed under the Ti while cutting off the ring, but this may be
impossible if the ring is very tight already. I’ve seen some very
nice Ti rings… I’d say cut the finger off and save the ring :slight_smile:

          As for your assertion that titanium is much less
deformable than any of the conventional jewelers' metals, I am
intrigued by the possibility of using titanium as a potentially
ideal metal for mounting valuable ...Therefore, why not
consider titanium as a substitute for any of the conventional
jewelers metals as a medium for securing stones ? 

I think using Ti for mounting stones would be difficult… Ti can’t
be soldered (it severly oxidizes when heated in the presence of
Oxygen, and solder won’t stick to it) it must be attached to the
ring with some sort of cold joint, such as rivets. This is entirely
possible… but I’d fear that the metal is so hard that it would be
difficult to set the stone without chipping it. Though Plat is
strong, its far from being as strong as 6-4 or CP Ti. No
comparison. Your normal burs will work on it though, so it sounds
feasable.

I’m very curious to hear other’s opinions and hopefully some first
hand experience with this. Bill Seeley (www.reactivemetals.com),
can you share some of your vast Ti experience here?

David Tomich
Flagstaff, AZ
@David_Tomich


#7

Fine jewelry is the stuff that mass merchandisers sell, 14kt gold
with conmmercial quality rubies,sapphires, emeralds, opal (near
colorless), and SI or lower diamonds. Usually as light in weight as
possible. Made just well enough to hold together long enough to
justify the expense, and made that way to satisfy the needs of that
segment of the public that don’t really care about that piece, and
are tired of it by that time anyway. It apparently is manufactured
in such a way, that when it needs repair, it has the potential to
become “nightmare from hell” jewelry. You have to be very careful,
and sometimes that does not help.It is advertized at 50-70% because
they are so proud of their merchandise. Made, sold by, and sold to
people who don’t care.

Richard Hart Jewelers Gallery - Custom Designs - Gold - Silver
-Diamonds - Colored Gems 1505 S. Pearl St. Denver, Co 80210 Voice:
303-777-4333 Fax: 303-777-2613 E-Mail: Jeweler@interfold.com


#8
    Hi, A jeweler in Tulsa told me that they don't carry titanium
because it deforms too easily and then is difficult to cut off
before necrosis sets in. She also said several people nationwide
have lost their fingers and sued the jewelers from whom they bought
the rings. 

Oh my it sounds like have our very own jewelry urban legend.
Titanium is soft, and may deform easily but the idea that is
responsible for fingers being cut off is absurd. Titanium would not
be any harder to cut off using the usual methods of a ring cutter or
a saw blade. For necrosis(dead tissue) to set in you have to leave a
damaged ring on long enough for the blood supply to be cut off and
the tissue to die or the incident that caused the deformation would
have to have been severe enough to cause the finger to be crushed
whether there wasa ring on it or not . And besides if it is easily
deformed one way(to squishthe ring) is can easily be deformed the
other way.

All stories of killer jewelry should be taken with a grain of salt.

Brigid Ryder


#9

Dear Folks, to follow-up a bit on my post in this subject a note of
clarification is appropriate. Today, simply put, fine art is one
thing and fine jewelry is something else. This is because the
definitions “at large” in the public mind are different. These
definitions are formulated by public exposure as to “what is what”,
so to say.

Very few would deny a Salvador Dali painting is fine art. Many might
not like it but cannot deny it is accepted world wide as fine art.
A wonderful creation of jewelry unless signed by a prominent name
might be considered “strange” and not fine at all! Such is the
marketplace and education. The market for the most part determines
what the public considers “fine jewelry” and history determines fine
art. This is because in a large part jewelry is promoted,
advertised, pushed and marketed in mass. Fine art is not marketed in
mass. The item of jewelry I would consider “fine” regardless of
ingredients is simply not the “fine jewelry” of the marketplace.
Fine in the marketplace means more price than design. Certainly, a
gemstone is not fine unless it is graded as fine. Design has no such
limitations. So, doggy doo sorts of design with fine gems are fine
jewelry. The price matches the definition.

Well, this is getting to much into fine lines of taste and crossing
too many areas of definition for me…so, just now to listen to the
rest of you. I learn much from the words of others here.

Blessing and Peace. Thomas. @Sp.T