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What is quality?


#1

Was: Bezel setting with no back

I aim for 90%+ of my best for any job or quote. Any more% and I
really need a blank cheque and that is not going to be cheap nor
close to any semblance of reasonable. 

I pasted Jeff’s quote here from the no-back-bezel thread, because I
think it’s a powerful discussion. First off, I’ll say that there’s a
group of people here on Orchid, Jeff being one, who are, as I like
to call it, working in the trenches. I started out making jewelry by
"like, tripping out, man", too. I’d get some materials and make what
I wanted my way, and I had a good ol’ time doing it, too. It was
finished when I said it was finished. I still do that sometimes,
when I feel like making something. But after a time I grew in the
business, had some jobs – the last job I had before going solo
every single piece was inspected from stem to stern under 10x and
experienced eyes. Square, straight, plumb, scratches, tiny pinholes,
ripple-y filing, prong tips - and more and more and more. Every
piece - hundreds a week - was put through the wringer and the
tiniest flaw would send it back for redo. They were tough, but we
use essentially the same standards now.

The other thing is that what I mostly do now is special order
jewelry - that’s a union classification, though I haven’t been union
for years. People bring me things and ask me to make them. I don’t
get to choose, and everything is different. And very often things
are funky - old, mismatched stones, strange materials, workarounds,
and always a budget, which is sometimes no budget, but usually not.
In other words, my job is to do the best I can with whatever is
thrown at me, and keep it on budget. What this means to the topic is
that I don’t just do what I do, I do everything in some sense. I
make fabulous diamond jewelry and I also make $25 charms for the
newborn and fix broken walking sticks and set beach rocks and shells
for cheap.

So, what is quality? Think about it, it’s not so easy as one might
think. I know one here who is very vocal about it proudly showing
crooked work on their website… I don’t truly want to take the
time, but I could pull out the metrology (Mr. Starrett, Mr.
Mitutoyo, Mr. Brown & Sharpe) and show anyone how imprecise their
"precision" craftsmanship is - mine, too. So, what is quality,
really?

Personally, I would define quality as “at least good enough”. This
being the real world, not a classroom discussing philosophy. If one
is making washers for the general household market, then a mild
steel that’s stamped to a reasonable shape is plenty good enough -
budget is never NOT a concern. If it’s for aerospace, then you have
parameters - hardness, toughness, precision fit, hazardous
conditions, what have you. Those parameters change what “at least
good enough” means. And still budget. Getting into some discussion
of how anything can be done for a million dollar cost is
nonsensical. This is a $50 ring wholesale, we’ll put $15 labor into
it and no more. Start from there.

So, quality is actually a sliding scale, it’s in the eye of the
beholder, largely, and standards vary from here to there. Nobody
here is hand crafting a wedding band that’s parallel to a millionth

  • if you’re using stock, THAT’S not parallel to a millionth when you
    get it. So when, where and how do you decide that’s it’s “close
    enough”? There’s a short list of objective things: solder seams,
    squareness, straightness, regular shapes if they’re supposed to be,
    setting standards, stuff like that. But when you ask the question of
    whether Jim Anybody from Orchid or Rene Lalique is doing “better
    quality” work, how do you quantify that? Then you need to say, “It’s
    at least good enough.” Only a fool holds an agate street fair ring
    to the same standards as the crown jewels, and more importantly you
    won’t make any money at it, either. Perfect example: DeLorean.
    “We’re going to make a crown jewel where cost is no object and try
    to mass market it.” Wasn’t that simple, but not so far away, either.

It’s the job of a jeweler to know what to do. It’s the job of a
jeweler to be able to distinguish between a diamond and a jasper,
and know what to do with each. And it’s the job of a jeweler to at
least try to respect the customer’s budget. Putting 40 hours of work
into a $100 piece out of some moral cause is walking backwards, and
though everyone will think you are a fine, principled human being,
you still won’t get paid. This isn’t art school, it’s business. Ill
say quite frankly that I have wasted many hours struggling with some
task, trying to get it up to a standard of craftsmanship, when it
just was never going to be because the materials just couldn’t go
there - trying to put a square peg… We all do that, but life
at the bench isn’t so simple when there’s a foreman or customer who
stops by and says, “Do This. Now.” Could be anything anybody can
dream up, with any materials… And BTW it’s way more fun…

So - it’s become a book ;} I personally have no categories outside of
industry categories. If you are working at a bench, you’re a bench
jeweler. If you’re making jewelry, you are no different than me. If
I make a bracelet out of 10 mm circles of metal, and my circles are
all perfect and shiny bright and symmetrical, and somebody else
makes one of the same weight where the circles are all misshapen and
pounded and funky, is my bracelet a higher quality? They are happy
with theirs, I am happy with mine, who is right? Not being a snob,
my answer would be no, mine is not higher quality. I am perhaps a
more skilled craftsman, and my vision is different, but that’s not
quality. Quality is the integrity of the piece as it achieves it’s
goal. Theirs is “at least good enough”, as is mine, and they are
just different pieces of jewelry. Some people use the retail sense
of the word - “No, mine is quality jewelry because I use diamonds,
or never use glue, or I’m enamored of symmetry” or what have you.
Quality in the shop is much more complicated than that and something
else entirely…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#2
Only a fool holds an agate street fair ring to the same standards
as the crown jewels, and more importantly you won't make any money
at it, either 

John wrote a long post making a case that quality is something
nebulous and depending on the job, the standards are different. Let’s
put jewellery aside for a moment and consider medicine. Would it be
acceptable to have different standards of care depending on how much
money the hospital would make ? I do not think so.

Quality in jewellery is actually very simple concept. Every
operation must be done well. The difference in price is determined by
the number of operations required to complete the piece. A wedding
band must be round, the solder joint must hold, it must be comfortable
to wear. If all these requirements are met, than it is a quality
piece. If we add a setting to it, the requirement are changing. It
would take more operations to complete and the price is increasing,
and etc.

There should not be a difference in quality between “agate street
fair ring” and “the crown jewel”. The difference in price between the
two is complexity. But each and every process required to construct
either if them, should have been carried out with the same level of
competence, and the same standard of craftsmanship.

I can guarantee that customers who buying agate rings on street
fairs treasure them much more then someone who can afford crown
jewels. Why should they be treated any differently ? After all, it is
not the material and gems that define the value of the piece, but the
craftsmanship expended to create it. The agate ring can be more of a
jewel, than a chunk of platinum with the large diamond attached to it
by whatever means.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#3

Not that I’m argumentative, but jewelry isn’t surgery. Or isn’t
supposed to be too like it. Costume Jewelry, Bridge/Artisan Jewelry,
Fine Jewelry, There are a few other distinctions, but these three
suffice to show the difference. I do not need to know why one
purchases one or another, why one makes one or another…But the
differences do exist, and they involve materials as well as
craftsmanship. Would anyone purchase a cheap piece of costume
jewelry and expect the white shiny stone to be a diamond for their
$10? Nope.

The real question is (I suppose)…do you (or I) want to make pieces
to our best, to our customer’s expectation, to the market’s
expectation or to the least we can and get away with it? And do we
want to associate ourselves and our business with those who chose a
lesser quality/value than we did?

At least that’s my take on it this evening. Yes, I know, I have come
full circle…but that’s the point, yes?

Kim
Kim Paluch
http://of-the-earth.org


#4
Would it be acceptable to have different standards of care
depending on how much money the hospital would make ? I do not
think so. 

Morally I agree with you, However that is the reality of life that
money does enter into it. Take yourself off the pedestal and go spend
2 hours in a inner city hospital (I suggest you bring a bodyguard)
and then spend 2 hours in a private upscale hospital. Even in the
first example look at the difference in standard of care between an
insured patient and an uninsured patient…

Kay

PS and yeah while you may think it’s easy to throw rocks from up here
in Medicare land (Canada), we have the same problems, just less
evident, visit a hospital and look at the level of care a patient in
a private room gets as compared to someone on a ward (or communal
room (4 or 6 beds)).


#5
Would it be acceptable to have different standards of care
depending on how much money the hospital would make ? I do not think
so. 

I’m with John on this one. Medicine and jewellery making are
different animals, but in all honesty there are different standards
of care depending on how much money hospitals make - you may not like
it but it’s a simple truth. Hospitals have now become businesses and
are run as such by managers who often have no experience in medicine,
just budget manipulators (at least here in the UK).

I’ve spent (wasted) many hours ironing out irregularities on pieces
that were either inexpensive or were gifts for people and therefore
free. Irregularities which nobody else seems to ever notice or mind
and that are in fact no worse than such irregularities I’ve seen on
jewellery that I’ve bought from jewellers or that have been bought
for me. I can find flaws in every piece of “bought” jewellery I’ve
ever had - because they were made by human hands and we’re not
perfect.

However, my point is that there is a limit as to how much someone
will spend on something, and as such, if you’re ever going to make a
business work, you must limit the hours you put into a piece
according to its budget - as John says. That doesn’t mean that the
workmanship on the agate street fair ring will be poor, just that one
will put less hours into making it than you would put into, for
example, an expensive engagement ring. That’s the nature of business,
the hours of labour MUST be proportionate to the budget and in the
case of a good jeweller, his/her standards will still be high across
the board, no matter how many hours spent or what budget was
employed.

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk


#6

This may turn out to be one of the longest threads. Or one of the
shortest.

Its like obscenity, can’t define it but you know it when you see it.

Yes, quality is relative. Right, you wouldn’t critique an agate
thingy with the same criteria you would use for a world class jewel.

But if you’re in the agate thingy business wouldn’t it be prudent to
make a better agate thingy than the guy down the street? (better does
not necessarily mean more expensive) And if you’re in the world class
biz your clients KNOW what quality is.

Sometimes I beat myself up over some little thing only to find
nobody sees it but me. I angst over it sometimes, I don’t cut my left
ear off but… It kills me that its there but everyone goes, “Hey,
looks great, Neil,” even experienced eyes. So I think there are two
faces to quality, that which is perceived by the public and that
which is perceived by the maker.

Maybe, as long as you are more critical of your work than the
public, you will continue to grow. When I think back, I have produced
some substandard work in the past. I got paid accordingly. Now after
30 years I finally got my game and when I tell the customer that ring
mounting will be three thousand dollars plus stones both she and I
know in advance that the quality will be commensurate with the price.
I may still have a problem with some tiny detail though, but “next
time I make one of these I’ll do it this other way.”

Yes, its about business. By always raising the bar you can develop a
reputation that lands you well paying jobs.

You might think of workmanship quality as diamond clarity grading.
How long does it take to find deviance from perfection?

OK, I finished my coffee but never really addressed the question.
Next time maybe.


#7
A wedding band must be round, the solder joint must hold, it must
be comfortable to wear. If all these requirements are met, than it
is a quality piece. 

Well by this definition of quality, a machine stamped out ring made
of 28 ga sheet would be a quality piece because it would be round,
either seamless or with a machine soldered joint, and comfortable to
wear. But we all know that in about 2 months the thing would bend out
of shape and within a few years simply wear away. How is that a
quality piece?

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
www.spirerjewelers.com


#8

Quality can be defined as an absence of nasty surprises. Quality
also depends on what the salesperson says to the customer and the
inherent beliefs and principles of the salesperson and the customer.

“Good enough is the enemy of excellence”, but as John says, not
everybody wants or are willing to afford excellence yet excellence
can be provided at a nominated price.

Quality is an amorphous term and I take it to mean a degree of
excellence. I think that excellence (and therefore quality) is a
culmination of many facets and is determined by the long term
happiness of the customer with the finished product as well as the
means to obtaining the product.

Alastair


#9

I think the real question here is one of preciousness as
distinguished from quality.

Quality involves materials and techniques used, excellence of
execution, durability, precision, all that. Preciousness is something
much deeper, spiritual even. A wedding ring is precious not because
of the $$ value but because of the union it represents - the
marriage… or it should be.

Who defines precious? What deems something precious. And perhaps the
preciousness of the agate thingy versus the crown jewel thingy can
only be defined by the owner - what does said thingy represent? What
is the relational association of the thingy?

There are some amazing artists out there doing amazing things to
challenge the definition of precious. Keith Lo Bue is one - working
with found materials that have almost no monetary value, building
pieces that come together in an amazingly cohesive way. He can take a
doorplate, an old book, a crystal chandelier drop, a piece of bone
and some Sydney dirt and create something that makes the viewer
rethink their approach to a situation or relationship. I have great
respect for that.

This is why I love doing custom work. I always treasure knowing
someone’s story - why they want to commission a piece. Is it to honor
a loved one? To commemorate a rite of passage? Knowing this is as
important to my work as technical bench knowledge.

I am a metalsmith.

I am a studio jeweler.

But, I am also a storyteller. I speak metal.

ginger meek allen
METALSMITH


#10
Well by this definition of quality, a machine stamped out ring
made of 28 ga sheet would be a quality piece because it would be
round, either seamless or with a machine soldered joint, and
comfortable to wear. But we all know that in about 2 months the
thing would bend out of shape and within a few years simply wear
away. How is that a quality piece? 

The problem with the subject like this is that it is so difficult to
do it in a few sentences. To address Mr. Spirer point of omission of
durability from the list of requirement; Mr. Spirer is absolutely
correct and durability is the most important factor of jewellery.
Without it, nothing else matters. I did not think I had to spell it
out.

Others, concentrated on my analogy with medicine been too idealistic
and devoid of reality. Well deviations from ideal are the facts of
life, but without ideal, deviations would become a rule. So we must
keep ideal in mind and deal with deviation as them come.

Another thing is association of value of material with quality of a
jewel. I believe that is a mistake. I have seen total lack of
craftsmanship in jewellery containing very expensive stones. There is
a term “hanger” which used in describing jewellery made only for the
purpose to contain a large stone without any regard to the design,
durability, whether of not it can it be repaired, and all other
factors.

The point was made that it is waste of time to refine details, which
nobody but jeweler can see. My answer would be that these details, if
they contribute to the quality factors, they are important. However,
many times these “unseen” details are the result of previous
operations had been carried out carelessly. And what happens is that
when piece is almost ready, all these problems start showing up and
it could take really long time to make the piece presentable. The
solution is to carry every operation required to construct the piece
well and do not assume that it can be cleaned up later, or that nobody
would see it.

About business side and the quality. I can guaranty that the most
profitable way to make jewellery is to exercise strict quality
controls. There would not be any waste of time or material or both.
There would not be any returns, and the most important, the order
delivery would not be a prolong session of trying to convince customer
that either what he sees is not there, or that it is a design feature
which is in vogue nowadays.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#11

Like John we have a tough quality control process that all of our
work goes through. In our case we have 4 people checking each job,
the goldsmith checks it, our fabulous polisher checks it when he
gets it and after he’s done, then two QC’ers each check it before it
goes out. In addition to that we check each others work regularly.
What that creates is a very collaborative environment where we all
understand that we all can make mistakes and that there is always
more than one way to do any job. Even with all of that we still have
things that get out of the shop that shouldn’t, a loose stone or
some overlooked detail sneaks out. Besides the basic requirement of a
high level of craftsmanship, to me quality is about always working to
exceed your toughest customers expectations. In this shop the
toughest customers are often my coworkers, all of them great
goldsmiths with many years of varied experiences. I think it’s a
mistake for anyone to think that their work has been done perfectly,
I think it’s better to feel like it’s never quite as good as it
could be. To use a baseball analogy, doing quality work does not mean
you always hit a home run. Rather that you are always getting on
base, usually doubles or triples with an occasional home run.

Mark


#12

To John Donivan and all:

I’ve been working in silver and copper for about 4 years
now;?although I consider myself still a “newbie” when I look at all
there is to learn.I’ve never contributed anything to Orchid, even
though I have asked a few questions.When I first joined the Forum I
was so excited to have found you and read every post.

What prompted me to write this post was John Donivan’s post about
what quality is and subsequent replies to that post. My passion is
to make silver jewelry to the very best of my ability. I’ve taken
quite a number of classes both at JC Campbell Folk School and
Arrowmont and will continue to take as many a year in as many places
as my budget will allow.I don’t have a website because I can’t
afford one. The local museum carries my work and I’ve sold quite a
number of pieces at local art fairs. Do I consider what I sell or
give away to be of “quality”? Yes. Can I learn and use more
techniques to make it better, of course. Would I compare my pieces
to what you make, John? I’d just as soon not, if that’s okay with
you. :>)

See, the thing that bothers me is that we have people of all skill
levels reading the Forum, and while there are a lot of you who have
been doing this jewelry thing “forever”, there are also a lot of us
who are just starting out, or who have just started back. John, I
respect what you have to say along with a number of other posters,
but there are some on here who it seems must have the last word on
any subject.None of you woke up one day and were magically a
jeweler?of whatever persuasion. You had to go through the learning
process just like the rest of us. Sure some of you learned from a
family member, some learned it in high school, some learned it in
college. A lot of us learned it by doing.

We aren’t practicing medicine, manufacturing new drugs, or sending
anyone to the moon! We’re making jewelry, some more complex than
others, but jewelry just the same.

This is my opinion; it may amuse some of you, irritate some of you,
but maybe, just maybe, someone will read this who will actually try
to understand what I’m saying. And if you don’t, thanks for reading
it anyway.

Your thought for the day: Never be afraid to try something new.
Remember the Ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic was built by
professionals. Now, there’s a lesson in quality!!!

Carolyn Vinson
Frog Pond Studio


#13
But if you're in the agate thingy business wouldn't it be prudent
to make a better agate thingy than the guy down the street?
(better does not necessarily mean more expensive) 

Yes, Neil, it would. That’s actually another aspect of the question
from where I started, though. Valid and interesting too.

It is a proven fact that every single driver on Earth rates
themselves as “excellent”. Somebody actually went and asked a large
slice of people once, and that was the conclusion.

So, let’s take an Orchid poll - hobbyists get to vote with their
intentions, even if the work is a bit rough. How many of you are
doing “High Quality Work”? How many of you are intentionally doing
"Low Quality Work"? Anybody? Hands?

So, I haven’t asked James Miller, but I doubt he’ll mind if I hold
him up as a shining example of quality work. So, how can this be? If
JM is the standard, and nobody else here works at that level (don’t
kid yourself), then is everybody lying or misguided?

Even more so, if I were to say that only a tiny percentage of people
could pass muster in the rigorous quality control of my marketplace,
does anybody care? Of course not, and don’t yell so loud about it.
That’s just snobbery, which I thankfully do not posess.

No, the Maori tribesman wrapping wire rings around sticks and
hammering them with rocks is doing quality work - the student making
$20 rings at the kitchen table is doing quality work, and thank God
nobody cares about rookie idealism. Everybody does as best as they
can, and makes the best product at the best price to be able to make
it all work, and thus we get that infinite diversity which is
jewelry. If it were bean soup we could gauge quality by how many
beans are in it, but it’s a mix of materials, design and execution
that’s greater than it’s parts. I’m also not so naive as to think
that they ALL are really doing quality work - some people shouldn’t
quit their day job. It’s the intent and the striving for excellence
in all things that counts… And making a living in the process.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#14

Nothing touched by the hand of man is perfect (rules for woman may
vary). So as John asks, how do you define quality? I think quality is
sometimes confused with qualities.

A quality diamond to you and me might be described as IF, D Ideal
cut, but does that mean it has the qualities a customer may want or
need? We have quite a few low and very low income customers. A
diamond of this quality will almost certainly not have the qualities
they are looking for. The repair of an old family heirloom cameo ring
for such a person probably will have different qualities than the
repair of a similar ring for someone of substantial means. The
qualities required by the customer are that the cameo stays in and
the shank won’t break the first time she picks up a heavy suitcase.
Gluing it in will probably be better than a replacement of the bezel,
considering her budget and maybe a strip of metal soft soldered
inside the shank might be more to her liking than a complete
restoration.

Is this the level of quality I strive for when making a platinum
ring for $4500 plus stones? Not even. Are the qualities that I
consider important when trying to solve my customers’ problems the
same as theirs? To the best of my ability they are. Whatever
qualities the customer needs are what I try to provide. As I have
said before, communication is key. Finding out what qualities are
important is as simple as explaining all of the alternatives and
asking them what they would like to do.

In jewelry, just like medical care, or legal representation, or
housing, or transportation there have always been and always will be
the haves and the have nots. Not everyone can afford (or even wants)
the highest standard of quality that my shop is capable of. What
everyone can afford and more importantly what everyone deserves is to
be given all of the alternatives, the pros and cons of each option
and the opportunity to decide on their own what qualities are
important.

Also, just like many in the medical and legal professions, I let the
people that can afford the very best I can give, subsidize those that
can’t. At least a little bit. That cameo ring, the one no one else
would work on, with the glued in cameo, two or three lasered breaks
and a soft soldered stiffener cost her $20. We put it in an $8 box
and a $2 bag, let her take it and she paid us in $5 a week payments.
It brought tears of joy to a lady that had just lost her mother and
had then been insulted by other jewelers that wouldn’t lower their
standards to the level of quality she could afford. It also allowed
me to make a lifelong friend and customer. You can decide if doing
that quality of work is the right thing for you to do or not, but for
me, it’s that matching of my standards to the needs of my customer
that makes my quality of life the best it can be.

Dave


#15
None of you woke up one day and were magically a jeweler of
whatever persuasion. You had to go through the learning process
just like the rest of us. Sure some of you learned from a family
member, some learned it in high school, some learned it in college.
A lot of us learned it by doing. 

This discussion of quality should not be taken as an indictment of
jewellery created by less experienced goldsmiths. A goldsmith can
make quality jewellery from the day one. The most simple piece made
from the most inexpensive materials can be a quality piece. If what
is supposed to round is round, and what is supposed by straight is
straight, and if it is durable and comfortable to wear, and it is
attractive, it is a quality jewellery.

The confusion is created when complex piece which took many hours to
make, just by the virtue of been expensive is assigned quality. This
not always the case. There was a recent discussion about engraving.
The best example of quality is to study how quality of engraving is
judged. There is nothing more simple than a letter. But when it is
less than a millimeter and variation in thickness of the cut is
appraised, and the angle of the tilt is considered, suddenly the
whole universe of different qualities is revealed. The same
principals are applied to jewellery. The quality of the piece is
revealed from study of how well the simple things are done. Materials,
complexity, use of fancy techniques are irrelevant.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#16

Carolyn:

We aren’t practicing medicine, manufacturing new drugs, or sending
anyone to the moon! We’re making jewelry, some more complex than
others, but jewelry just the same.

Well put. Thank heavens my efforts are not involved with sending
anyone to the moon. I just don’t have the background or understanding
to deal with that.

You make a very valid point - however, I’ve never felt that anyone
contributing anything on Orchid could speak for me - maybe speak TO
me, but not FOR me. And I have learned an amazing amount.

However, in the end, I still have to make my jewelry with as much
ability as I have (always striving to do still better). Sometimes I
amaze even myself with what I can do. Do I sell? Yes. Again I am
always amazed that anyone actually pays money for what I do. But one
thing I guarantee - and that is that it’s made to the highest quality
standards that I can produce. If they want still better, then they
have to seek it out.

As a child, my father told me that in this life all of us were like
pieces of a puzzle. Some of us were the border pieces that kept the
puzzle together. Some were the center pieces that gave focus to the
puzzle. Some were the bright colored pieces etc. But the bottom line
was that the puzzle could not be complete without every single piece
in it, even the tiniest pieces were important. Leave one of them out
and the puzzle wasn’t complete.

So, I think there is room in this world for all of us - for the
specialists as well as the generalists. For some of us (and I’m one
of them, 77 and still counting) the clock seems to be ticking faster
than I want it to and the feeling is that there is not time enough to
learn all the things I want to. But this is a wonderful world, anyway
you view it.

I personally love Orchid and am daily amused, impressed, wishful,
sometimes sad (that I didn’t start in this area much sooner), always
glad (that I found it when I did) and definitely reminded how much
there is yet to learn. I am so grateful for all the contributions
made by the learned in the group - I rarely get upset - and in
general I think that most of the contributors here are sincere - each
in their own way.

As many have said “Orchid Rocks!”

I have a quote that hangs above my workbench - sorry I don’t know
who gets the credit for it, but it says “Remember that others are
supposed to gain pleasure from your works as much as you do, and who
are you to stop them enjoying such things?”

Have a great day.
K


#17
I've spent (wasted) many hours ironing out irregularities on
pieces 

If you improved the piece and learned something from it, its not
wasted time. I think if someone is very much in the learning curve
they have to cut themselves a little slack. Unless you’re the next
jewelry wunderkind, early works are by nature learning experiments.
You learn by success, you learn by failure, you learn by turning
failure into success.


#18
The point was made that it is waste of time to refine details,
which nobody but jeweler can see. 

Made me laugh Leonid… Any time I go into a jewellery store and
handle a piece the first thing I instinctively do is look at the
back. Really Bad habit. If the sales person is even 1/2 a jeweller
the look on their face means they instantly know I’m not a
’civilian’.

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#19
Quality is an amorphous term and I take it to mean a degree of
excellence. 

I too agree with this statement. To me, quality is simply doing the
very best that you can do on each and every piece you make. This can
be the bread $ butter pieces that may take 30 minutes to complete,
all the way to the show piece that you may invest 200+ hours into. As
long as its the very best you can do with what you have, it will
always be a quality piece to the maker, given their skill set and
tool set.

Now those with more experience in a given field may look at a piece
from a beginner and comment about the lack of quality, its more a
reflection on the skill comparison, after all, they made that piece
to the best of their ability…and everybody always has room to
grow.

P@
www.patpruitt.com


#20
None of you woke up one day and were magically a jeweler?of
whatever persuasion. You had to go through the learning process
just like the rest of us. Sure some of you learned from a family
member, some learned it in high school, some learned it in college.
A lot of us learned it by doing. 

Still are - learning - Caroline. And though I’ve enjoyed many of the
posts - David, Alistair and others, I’d say you nailed it as well as
any. Don’t mix your metaphors. Caroline’s copper and silver jewelry
would likely not pass our inspection process. Does that mean
anything at all? Nope. Should she care? Nope. It’s a genre, and
don’t mix metaphors. Her jewelry is fine in her genre, and mine is
fine in my genre, we both strive to do better, and sometimes we
might overlap. I have pretty much zero ego about my abilities and
skills - it’s just what I do, and if I do it better than some I
think of that more as job security than anything else. I may be a
better craftsman than some, but does that make me a better JEWELER?
Or jewelry maker… Maybe yes, maybe no, but not necessarily. Many
times I’ve seen some piece that wasn’t much to look at in some ways,
but you could see the maker’s soul down inside it- I used to have a
bamboo flute like that, till somebody pinched it…

Is it quality because it’s made to a tenth, or is it quality because
it makes you smile? Or because you got a good product at a price you
can live with. I am on the “jewelry is not art, it’s craft” side of
the argument, which we won’t get into, but there’s no doubt that
it’s “an art”. There’s more at work than just whether the stones are
tight. And although some would like to pretend we should all drive
Lamborghinis (state of the art), darn it, some people actually like
Volkswagons - oh, well.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com