Total Pageviews

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lessons Learned, Fun Clasp, and Opal Earrings

Beautiful triangular opal earrings boston/cambridge
18k yellow gold, Ethiopian opals and diamonds
A long time ago I learned that it is always better to not try to do everything yourself.  Despite the fact that I am an extremely well rounded jeweler in terms of my skills, there are certain things that, while I know how to do them, I realize it is far better to let someone with the proper skills (and patience) take care of.  I have belonged to a couple of jewelery news groups on the web and I was always amazed at what some of the "jewelers" (I use that term loosely since many of them weren't professionals) would make inquiries about.  They would want to know what people used to do their tax returns, how to build steam cleaners, how to build their own tools, etc.  I could never figure this out.  I mean, if you're a jeweler then you should be spending your time making jewelry, not filling out tax forms (there are accountants to do that), making your own tools (that are, unless you need something very specialized, available for a pittance in terms of your time wasted), or, as in the one case of one very misinformed gent, trying to make your own steam cleaner (which is the only thing that absolutely every person on the forum told him not to attempt to make on his own as it requires building a secure, high pressure boiler that, yes, if improperly made, can explode).

Consequently, I don't do my own casting (the people I know who tried to do the limited amount of casting I would be doing overwhelmingly had poor results).  I don't do my own engraving.  I don't do my own stone cutting. There is one particular type of stone setting that I don't do myself.  And I don't do my own stringing.  I know how to do every one of these things and have actually done them all.  But it quickly became quite apparent that to become a really good, and quick, stringer I would have to spend years perfecting the practice. Same with engraving.  These types of things are specialty projects and are best done by people who do it all day long every day.  Sure I could restring your pearls, but I'd have to charge you ten times as much and it just wouldn't be as good as what my stringer does.  Quite honestly, I also find some of these repetitive jobs incredibly boring (not that some of my work doesn't get a little repetitive but at least it's usually when I have a torch in my hand and I always like to play with fire) and they don't really go anywhere towards the things I love to do best which is actually making up new pieces.

So why am I talking about this (besides the obvious at this point that I like to talk)?  Of the things I don't do, engraving is like an add on to a piece, stone cutting is nice but I want to make the jewelry with the stones, and I only cast designs that I make a model up for, and the casting process really isn't about "making jewelry--plus I still do all the finish work on the pieces.  However, when it comes to selling strung product (pearls and beads), stringing is kind of the whole thing---well, usually.  But I'm not usual, so I refuse to use any commercial clasps on my strung product that I sell out of the case. I have for about 30 years always made my own clasps to go on the pieces.  While a lot of the clasps are just a simple "S" style clasp, some of them are much more interesting.  I have shown some clasps on the blog at times but I thought I would show you some pictures of a variation on an "S" clasp that is a two sided clasp.  This particular one has work, and stones, on both the front and back. In the event it rolls over there will always be something interesting to look at. This is a custom piece I made for a customer using her diamond and my chrome tourmaline.

The best thing about my strung product is that once I have it strung for an "S" style clasp or some of my fancier ones (see this blog picture here), you can always add more clasps to your collection as all of them will work on the same strand of pearls or beads.  In other words, your partner never needs to think much about a new gift, they just have to get a new clasp!

The picture at the top of the page is of the new earrings I made up with the Ethiopian opals I got in recently that I mentioned in a prior posting. We got some good representation of the color but it's even better than the picture shows as there are some red flashes that didn't come through.

No comments:

Post a Comment