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Meet Jyothi Forman – Battle of the Benches® Contestant

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Jyothi Forman HeadshotJyothi Forman is a jeweler at Georgies Fine Jewellery in Narooma, New South Wales, Australia. She specializes in hand fabricating custom jewelry. Jyothi, a blossoming 24 years old, grew up in a small regional town called Tanja and went to school in Bega, New South Wales. Outside of work, she loves exploring the outdoors. Mountain biking, playing soccer, painting, and hanging out with her sweet pup, Baxter, are a few of her favorite activities.

“I’ve always been a very practical person and love working in a hands-on manner. In school, I loved ceramics, woodwork, metalwork, and visual arts. When I stumbled upon the jewelry trade, I couldn’t believe my luck! It combines everything I enjoy: practicality, creativity, and an ongoing challenge,” Jyothi explains. “I knew I loved making jewelry since my first day on the bench.”

Throughout her apprenticeship, she’s had many amazing opportunities arise. Jyothi has competed in many competitions and represented Australia in the International WorldSkills Competition in Brazil. This honor gave her an unforgettable experience. “Placing second in the world and earning a silver medal was quite a remarkable feat!” she says. “I couldn’t have done it without my supportive, generous boss, Georgie Staley.”

Jyothi Forman silver medal worldskills international competition representing Australia

Jyothi Forman’s silver medal standing in the Worldskills International Competition

Custom design remains central to Jyothi. It enables her customers to have unique pieces of jewelry that express who they are. “Custom jewelry tells the owner’s story while also reflecting the designer’s gifts. The highly involved process is very rewarding. The customer is delighted with their jewelry because they have contributed to the design,” she says.

For Jyothi, the most challenging jobs are the large, intricate handmade pieces. However, these are also her favorite! “I love a challenge. I love the problem solving and attention to detail, then seeing everything come together at the end into a beautiful piece of jewelry. Every day as a jeweler is different. From resurrecting old family heirlooms to handcrafting brand new ones for future generations. Each day brings about a new challenge, all equally rewarding.”

Jyothi Forman custom engagement ring parti sapphire diamonds and platinum with green goldAt the beginning of March 2017, Jyothi married her partner, Mitchell. They’ve been together since high school. He is a watchmaker and both work at Georgies Fine Jewellery. “I’ll forever treasure when he proposed to me with all the materials necessary to make my very own engagement ring: Parti sapphire, diamonds, and raw metal,” she recounts. “From there, I handcrafted my ring from platinum and small accents of green gold. The center stone is a yellow-green Australian Parti Sapphire and side stones are diamonds.” Her beautiful ring is pictured here.

Jyothi and her husband Mitchell have never been to America and are tremendously excited to come over for the competition!

Here are just a few of her awards and recognitions, along with her most prized custom designs-

 

  • Nationwide Jewellers Apprentice of the Year – 2013 & 2014
  • Melbourne Polytechnic Best 2nd year Apprentice Jeweler – 2013
  • Melbourne Polytechnic Best 3rd year Apprentice Jeweler – 2014
  • Melbourne Polytechnics Outstanding Apprentice/Trainee of the Year – 2015
  • Melbourne Polytechnic Outstanding Student of the Year – 2015
  • Worldskills Australia regional competition, Melbourne – 2013 • Gold
  • Worldskills Australia national competition – 2014 • Gold
  • Worldskills Oceania competition – 2015 • Gold
  • Worldskills International Competition – 2015 • Silver
  • Announced in Triple J’s 25 under 25 2015

Jyothi Forman custom design ring with sapphires, diamonds, and gold

This ring was custom designed at Georgies Fine Jewellery and handmade by Jyothi. It features sapphires and diamonds in a beautiful, unique gold ring.

Jyothi Forman custom ring design white yellow gold

“This one was very fun to create, as I had to make the white gold appear woven through the yellow gold band,” Jyothi explains.

 


We’re gearing up for our annual Battle of the Benches® competition, which begins March 24. Meet David Adamson, the defending champ here. 




Meet David Adamson – The Defending Champ

Our first Battle of the Benches® competition played host to over 200 jewelers from around the country and three days of excitement, education and an exhilarating jewelry-making challenge. David Adamson came into the competition calm and collected. He was anxious, but not nervous. He was eager to participate and awaited the opportunity to compete and exhibit his hard work.

 

Round 1: Create a CAD Design

David Adamson Battle of the Bench Wax Model Round 1In the first challenge, contestants were given a customer profile to inspire their ring designs. David observed his prospect and was steered toward what he imagined she would like. “The general shape of the ring followed the shape of her handbag and shoes, and the scrollwork followed the clef in her violin and the waves of the sea,” David explained. He decided to keep the overall design simple.

When it comes to customization, David prefers to use RhinoGold. He enjoys the software’s simplicity, intuitiveness and ease of use. David’s career as a jeweler began at the bench rather than as a CAD jeweler, which led to his gravitation toward RhinoGold software.

David Adamson Battle of the Bench Circus Pendant Round 2

 

Round 2: The Parts & Pieces Challenge

In the second challenge, participants were given a box of “stuff.” Upon opening his box, David immediately noticed the red and blue gemstones and imagined a lively circus! From this idea, he created a fun and exciting pendant with a balloon shape and wavy form. Of the three challenges, this was David’s favorite. “Honestly, this is what I like to do. I like fabrication and handwork. It’s what I grew up doing. This is the part I enjoy even more than CAD!”

 

Round 3: Bringing it all Together 

IDavid Adamson Battle of the Bench Final Ring Round 3n the final challenge, the CAD designs from round one were casted and participants prepped, polished, assembled and set their rings. David took second prize in this contest.

After all the votes were counted, David Adamson won three of the four possible prizes, including the Grand Prize, at our inaugural Battle of the Benches. When asked about what helped him succeed in the contest, he pointed to the lessons of an early mentor, jeweler Jay Harold, whose favorite phrase was, “make do”: “This helped me to be able to adapt to whatever tools were handy and ‘make do.’”

David first developed a love for the trade working alongside his father in the family store at the age of 16. Starting from the bottom taught David all the important skills that every bench jeweler needs to succeed. Today, he is the proud owner of David Adamson Designer Jewelry. Being in the jewelry industry for 39 years taught David how to adapt to change. He knows it’s a new, ever-growing retail landscape and he’s constantly attending CAD training seminars and technology fairs to stay abreast of current changes.

When not at the bench, David loves to help people study the Bible. He also likes to sail, snow ski, travel, and hang out with his beautiful wife, kids, and gorgeous granddaughter.

 

The dazzling piece below is a six inch long solid gold object d’art of a nude. It is suspended by flowing waves of silver and supports a cherry Mexican fire opal star in her outstretched hands. The star is removable and can be worn as a pendant.

David Adamson Design Mexican Fire Topaz

David Adamson Engagement Set Emerald Cut

This gorgeous 14k white gold diamond wedding set features an emerald cut center stone surrounded by sixty-four round brilliant cut diamonds.

David Adamson and Wife at Battle of the Bench Competition

David and his beautiful wife


Which of the pieces above is your favorite? Searching for more about David Adamson? Click here.  




Feature Friday – Brandon Boudreaux

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Boudreaux Tulane Baseball CollegeI started in my family’s jewelry business working Christmas and summers during college to learn the ropes. I always knew I wanted to become the 4th generation to lead Boudreaux’s Jewelers. In 2013, I came on full-time after playing NCAA baseball and graduating from Tulane University in New Orleans. After learning the basics of our business, I traveled to attend GIA for my G.G. in early 2014.

 

Boudreaux custom design engagement ring

My wife Rebecca’s ring

On a day to day basis, my father and I run our three retail locations from our original location in Metairie, just outside New Orleans. We have 21 employees including sales associates, accountants, inventory controllers, secretaries, and bench jewelers. I’m involved daily in client services and sales, employee training, marketing, finances, in-house design, CAD, diamond and gemstone sourcing, appraisals, and quality control for our in-house workshops. I’ve become the head designer for our Boudreaux’s Signature Collection and custom design work for our clients. I have really enjoyed the CAD and custom design work. It gives me a break from sales and numbers and lets me exercise parts of my creativity. The piece I’ve enjoyed working on the most was a custom ring that I just happened to create for my fiancé when I proposed last year.

 

Our store is different from any store in Louisiana because our clients can walk into any of our three locations and deal directly with a Boudreaux family member no matter what they need. It could be a battery replacement or a 10-carat diamond. They have the pleasure of knowing a Boudreaux is serving them. I don’t know of another store in Louisiana with multiple locations that have a full family presence in each.

 

Boudreaux CAD Matrix custom design

In the past few years, technology has vastly impacted our business. We have CAD, 3D Printers, advanced inventory systems, and POS software. When I joined the business, my first goal was to introduce cutting edge inventory and POS system. Such technology helps to sure up our inventory and better serve our clients. In the shop, we’re utilizing Matrix and the use of a state of the art 3D printer to help us make each and every design as exact as it needs to be.

Because we’re not far from Stuller, we’ve used them for findings since they first opened. As Stuller has grown to become what it is today, we rely on them for so much more like workshops and education as well.

 

We participate in Mardi Gras by making medallions for a few local Krewes to present to the Kings and Queens of their organizations each year. It has become a tradition to work with the groups each year. We even keep all their molds on file so we’re able to create the same piece year to year.

Boudreaux Yellow Diamond Accent Ring Boudreaux Yellow Diamond Accent Ring Boudreaux Yellow Diamond Accent Ring

For more about Fat Tuesday and why Louisianans celebrate, read Why We Mardi Gras here.




Using Custom Design to Attract Media Attention

Media News Header Custom Design

Social media devices custom designIn an earlier post, Selling the Story of Custom Design, we talked about how your website can create a story. This time we’re focusing on telling your story using local media. In addition to creating visibility in your community, it generates free content that you can feature on your website, in videos, and through social media. Here are a few approaches that can connect you, and your custom design capability, with the right audience.

Be an EXCITING news story!

Jewelry stores and traditional media, especially network TV affiliates and their local news programs, have a lot in common. They don’t want to tell the same old news story, and you don’t want to sell the same old jewelry. That’s why you offer custom design — to stand out. Local news always looks for fresh, original stories that showcase new opportunities for the community, and represent the latest in trends. Talk to your entire staff and list all the TV channels, publications, website and blog outlets that would favor covering each of these themes:

Business

Dive into innovative ways that your local businesses can serve the community. Here are a few related articles from some of our favorite small business blogs.

Style

Keep up with the latest in bridal trends and jewelry fashion.

Technology

Learn how to incorporate 3D software and 3D printing technology into your business. Follow Gemvision’s Facebook and Twitter for customization and technology tips.

 

Once you have your list, reach out to each outlet and let them know your store has exciting new developments. Tailor your approach to the trend that will interest them. Just provide information at this stage, don’t ask for anything, and don’t expect anything. If you are interesting, and a good fit for them, they will see the “story” in it. Once you’ve pitched your idea, move to the next media outlet on the list.

If you have CounterSketch that lets customers participate in the on-screen design process, invite blog writers to your store to experience it for themselves. If you have CounterSketch, Matrix, or RhinoGold software, offer an invitation to a TV news broadcast team to visit and capture your innovative custom design process. Do your homework and offer it as an exclusive to the right outlet. Consider the on-air talent, who you want in your store, and consider looking for people that represent your market’s engagement ring demographics.

The right media coverage can establish trust and confidence with your community. They tell your story for free, but you must make the most of it. Feature all coverage on social media, promote the feature on your website, and ask the station if you can link to the video online.

Here’s a fine example of how local news coverage can highlight new developments in your store.

 

Be an EXPERT in the community!

Many media outlets want relevant, practical content and advice that can really benefit their audience. That’s what keeps them listening and watching! With your custom design experience and in-depth jewelry knowledge, you can be an expert for TV segments, radio shows, print publications, and events. Think about the ways you could offer valuable expertise:

  • Trend reporting for bridal publications.
  • Judging at competition events that showcase artistry and creativity.
  • Protecting and caring for treasured jewelry.
  • Providing or styling jewelry at fashion shows.
  • Bridal and wedding event panels and groups.
  • Tips on how to match jewelry to an individual’s lifestyle (especially engagement rings and wedding bands).
  • Seasonal trend and style reporting.
  • Diamond buying facts and myths.
  • Custom design facts and myths (no, it’s not expensive).

Contact outlets and events that you think would appreciate your expert help and offer assistance. If media and prominent events in the community look to you for expert advice, new customers will too. Remember to share anything that you do on social media.

Media coverage news custom design Media coverage news outlet custom design

Be an EXPERIENCE like no other in town!

If you have an area in your store dedicated to custom design and offer a unique in-store experience, use it to your advantage. Think of all the ways to get people in your store and the most eyes on your showroom design center. When most people see it, they will want to know more about it. But the first step is visibility, and there are many ways to approach this:

  • Host jewelry events at your store and invite the media. Of course, try the standard jewelry-related events like Gemstone events and ladies night. Also, consider hosting a men’s guide to jewelry event.

 

  • Try non-jewelry events too, like hosting local charity events, and invite the media. They may react positively, especially if it’s community-minded. Get creative. In fact, the more untraditional it is, the more local news may want to be part of the action in your store.

 

  • Offer your store as a setting for local wedding photographers and videographers. Invite them to come and see how you make jewelry personalized to couples and how your work is a significant part of the engagement and wedding journey. Remember, people are visual and appreciate a romantic story. Local coverage may love to shoot in your store, and you might even get some great video footage that you can use on social media and your website.

 

Your opportunities don’t stop there. Keep the local media informed about important happenings at your store. Let them know how you are continuing your education and innovation, like attending Stuller events and training for CounterSketch, Matrix, or RhinoGold. Explain your strides in helping the community celebrate life’s special moments through custom designed jewelry.

 


Share with us in the comments below what captures media attention in your market. Tell us about your success. We love to know what works for your store!




The Journey of a Ring: Jewelry Design and Development

Journey of a Ring Jewelry Design and Development Blog Header

Follow the step-by-step journey of a ring:

Part 1: The Journey of a Ring: Stuller Customer Care Center

Part 2: The Journey of a Ring: Jewelry Design and Development

Part 3: The Journey of a Ring: Jewelry CAD and Modeling

Part 4: The Journey of a Ring: Explore Stuller’s Fulfillment Area

Part 5: The Journey of a Ring: Just-In-Time Jewelry Distribution

From Paper to Proposal

Each year, everyday consumers purchase millions of engagement and fashion rings. For centuries, this piece of jewelry has consistently proved itself the most popular. Stuller receives thousands of orders each year, whether over the phone, online, or both. But how do those incredible styles come to life? Did you know it starts simply as an idea that sometimes isn’t even on paper yet? In this segment of our Journey of a Ring series, let’s take a behind-the-scenes look into the Jewelry Design and Development Department.

A Simple Idea

The process begins when a member of our merchandising team approaches our Jewelry Design and Development team with a detailed idea/request. The idea goes to one of our conceptual designers who puts pencil to the paper and creates a sketch. “I’ve experimented with quite a few tools of the trade to see what helps me best convey an idea when providing concepts,” says Former Product Designer Carlos Lopez. “Rough sketches on paper work best for me. From there, I transfer it to the computer to draw digitally before printing the design. As the last step, I hand-paint the details.” This process can take anywhere from a couple days to a few weeks.

Where does Carlos get the inspiration for a new design? “I have a constant desire to create something completely original. I’ve heard several times that nothing is original, but that doesn’t stop me. I strive to make every design unique in hopes that I can achieve something that hasn’t yet been created,” says Carlos.

Journey of a ring Jewelry Design and Development Sketch

On to Virtual Design

From there, the ring moves on to our virtual design team in our Jewelry Development and Design Department. The conceptual work this team receives can range from a multi-view technical drawing to a rough napkin sketch. But it’s the relationship the design will have with our jewelers that determines how Virtual Design will work on the concept. “For example, a piece destined for 3C or the CounterSketch® Studio Library will be modeled using our in-house proprietary software,” says Virtual Designer Michael Bartlett. “Once a design’s path is planned out (traditional vs. 3C vs. CounterSketch Library), we then build it in the appropriate CAD software.”

Our virtual team prides itself on taking these images from simple ideas on a page to reality. “The conceptual designers are always excited to see the designs take shape and mature into a finished piece on screen,” says Michael.

The model then moves through multiple check processes to ensure the highest level of aesthetics and production standards are met. Once it is approved technically and aesthetically, it moves into the prototyping phase. So the next stop in our Journey of a Ring series is our Jewelry CAD and Casting departments.


A few friendly faces from our Jewelry Design and Development Department

Journey of a ring Jewelry Design and Development
Journey of a ring Jewelry Design and Development
Journey of a ring Jewelry Design and Development

How do designs begin in your store? Tell us about your jewelry design and development processes in the comments below!




My Workshop Experience – Oscar Noel Garcia

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My father Oscar, casting

I am Oscar “Noel” Garcia, co-owner with my father, Oscar Garcia, of Old Mine Jewelers in San Antonio, Texas. Beginning in Mexico, my family has been in the jewelry industry for three generations. Combined, we have 60 years of experience. Our business has grown from a successful neighborhood store, to one with city and statewide recognition.

I began working alongside my father about five years ago. Before that, I was in the technology field, electronics and networking. I came into the family business to do CAD design to help keep the business going. I’ve been enjoying it ever since!

With our many years of experience, we offer traditional techniques and state of the art technology to fuel our designs. Because we perform all of our work in-house, we can provide the best support and ensure the most advanced and competitively priced jewelry service available in the area.  We have also manufactured highly acclaimed masterpieces. Over the years, local customers and other Jewelers turn to us for custom work.

 

A few custom pieces we’ve designed • See more of our work here
old-mine-pendent1 old-mine-ring2 old-mine-ring1 old-mine-ring3

 

old-mine-championship-rings

Championship rings for a local billiards league

Old Mine Jewelry is a full-service store; we do it all. I like to tell visitors, “We do everything under the sun when it comes to Jewelry.” In addition to producing custom designs for our customers and other stores here in San Antonio, we perform repairs on all jewelry, watches and clocks. Our specialization ranges from simple, traditional pieces all the way to the most modern and exquisite designs you can imagine. To fulfill our customers’ jewelry vision, we strive to exceed their wants and needs. Because we are family owned and operated, we have and always will offer our services at competitive prices.old-mine-emblem

We keep a homey retail storefront, so customers feel comfortable visiting our store. After 25 years, we recently moved our location which has been a challenge for us. However, we know things will work themselves out. We constantly aim to offer the best value and service for our merchandise and to treat our customers with dignity and respect. The smiles and sense of joy from all of our clients tell the real story behind our work. It makes this line of business so fulfilling and enjoyable. The sophisticated creations of Old Mine Jewelry, together with personalized service and support, have made it a business recognized for its excellence in innovative efforts, outstanding success, and exceptionally fast growth.

Our store mascots, Roman & Toby 
old-mine-pets oscarpet

In April 2016, I visited Bench Jeweler Workshop at Stuller’s headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana. I first heard about the workshop from a Stuller email and immediately I knew I had to attend. I have been learning all I can about jewelry design and production, for one day this store will be solely mine, and I won’t always have my father’s guidance at hand. Going to the workshop, I didn’t know what to expect. The only thing I could relate to was attending the Gemvision Symposiums with classes held throughout the day.

Bench Jeweler Workshop had a similar structure and feel as past learning seminars. I would describe the event as very informative and laid back. If you have questions about something you can likely find the answer here, from the classes or a vendor. I learned quite a few things from Workshop, mainly about pricing and sales. The classes were a big help along with our old-mine-storefrontvisit to 302, Stuller’s in-house model retail store. It helped us visualize how to stage our jewelry in our store. I must say that I didn’t expect to have lunch provided every day and it is not just a sandwich box lunch. Also, the dinner party was quite a surprise. That helped with expenses and also with making friends, networking and learning from other jewelers.

I have been well since the event as I continue to learn and implement the strategies and pricing knowledge I learned from Workshop. This new store of ours is an uncharted venture, and topics I learned about at Workshop have helped us move forward and grow as a business.




Feature Friday – Chad Elliott

Welcome to Oceanside Jewelers!

My business card says Owner and Master Jeweler, only because adding janitor, bookkeeper, and maintenance worker didn’t seem appropriate. A typical day is a combination of bench work and setting, counter sales, office work, and then maybe some flasks get invested and put into the oven. In between those tasks, I work with my awesome staff to make sure that they have the support they need. One of my staff members is a GIA® Graduate Gemologist. The other is a young college graduate who majored in art. They both bring two different ways of looking at things in the business which keeps it very progressive and creative.

We are jeweler owned and operated, providing a unique experience where we work very closely with the customer in designing a piece. We start with raw ideas and then build those concepts into sketches and notes that the customer can understand. From there, we usually build a CAD model, presenting the customer with a way to visualize the piece and adjust it prior to outputting, if needed. The customer can again participate in the design process by perhaps seeing the physical model or roughcast piece before setting and finishing. Our customers are always amazed at how much it takes to make their item. We also have a very, very large inventory of loose colored gemstones and diamonds on display; people love to look at the multitude of colors we offer.

Most of our sales are custom bridal and engagement. We have a good internet presence in our area, allowing our customers to see what we do and the quality of work that we provide. Through the web, they can get a feel of who we are in comparison to other jewelry stores. They can read reviews and can bring into our store their ideas and the confidence that they will receive a quality product.

Also, jewelry repairs are very important to our business. Repairs provide a small, yet steady stream of cash flow. This can really help in times when other areas are not performing and then becomes a bonus when business is booming.

Chad Elliott, Master Jeweler

I was born in New York City. However, I grew up in Miami, Florida, spending a lot of time in the ocean — fishing, scuba diving, and surfing. I started in the jewelry store and workshop at a very young age. Two very close family friends owned a couple of discount jewelry stores in Miami, where my mother worked part-time. As a young boy, I would spend a few days a week there after school playing with the tools. My first income came from tips for wrapping gifts during the holidays, but I really was more interested in being in the workshop. One day the manager asked, “Hey Chad, can you size this ring?” So began my career as a jeweler. By about age 12, I was working as a paid apprentice in the jeweler’s room.

headshotI briefly left the industry and moved to Puerto Rico where I worked in El Yunque, which is the rain forest of Puerto Rico. Upon returning, I went back to work for the same family jewelry store. A few years later, I opened a jewelry and art gallery on South Beach in Miami. After about 5 years, I vowed to never own my own store again and moved to Los Angeles. It was in Los Angeles that I began to work on larger, flashier, more ornate pieces. This experience really helped to broaden my abilities and my confidence as a jeweler as I produced and sold larger items. Approximately five years later, I had the opportunity to move to the area that I live and work in now, a small coastal town in North County, San Diego. I now have a wonderful wife and two young boys. I spend a few mornings a week volunteering at their school teaching art.

Personally, I do not like to sell. I like to facilitate the transactions. When a customer has an idea, my job is to share my knowledge and help to figure out how to best accomplish their vision. This could include helping them to scale their dream idea into something more practical or affordable by showing them what quality of materials fit their budget. I really enjoy the satisfaction of seeing the end result of hours of bench work and doing my own bookkeeping helps me sleep at night.

Why I Love My Job 

It is really wonderful that every time I deliver a piece of jewelry, it’s a happy moment for my customers as well as myself. More often than not, the item is more beautiful than they expected. The look of elation, smiles, and in many instances, the hugs, is what I love best. People never forget who made their most cherished pieces. I’ve had the opportunity to work on many different kinds of projects for many different customers. I was fortunate to win an AGTA® Spectrum Award and a PGI Platinum Honor in 1990s before moving to California to work with a number of designers. While working with these designers, I manufactured many items for their celebrity clientele.

There is one really unique item and experience that I will never forget. A customer brought in a disc of glass with a prism of the Star of David in it. It was created by Yaacov Agam, an Israeli sculptor and experimental artist best known for his contributions to optical and kinetic art, who had given similar prisms to Elizabeth Taylor and Nancy Reagan. The client wanted me to design a simple frame to hold the prism, so I offered up a simple, modern lorgnette or monocle in gold and silver. The client said, “Wow, great. Let me show Agam and make sure he approves.” A few days later, she returned with artist himself.

What really made this experience memorable was when I showed him a piece of art I made in high school that I kept in the back of the store. It was a corrugated assembly of two images that showed one or the other depending on what side it was viewed from. The technique bears his name and was a popular design for billboard advertising. He loved to see that his concept was taught in U.S. public schools and also really liked the frame I designed.

A few special pieces I’ve created • Visit our website to see more
five-row-pave-band large-pave-solitaire cushion-cut-pave-wdouble-prongs emerald-platinum-cocktail-ring
medditterranean-style-ruby-band medditterranean-style-sapphire-band trillion-cut-infinity-band

Operating Old-School

Being in the business for thirty-three years, you could say I am an old-school jeweler. When the GRS® Benchmate® became popular, well, that was technology back then. GRS® Gavermax® was pretty high tech when I was young as well, so when I got my first laser welder around 1999, it was like total magic. Now with CAD and 3D printing, if you don’t change and progress, you just can’t compete. Sure there is a value to the old school tools and techniques, but today’s young jewelers may never know it or ever really need it.

Once, there was an eternity band with trillion cut diamonds that I fabricated completely by hand. This was almost 20 years ago when CAD/CAM was not an option. Even laser welders were new at the time, and I did not have access to one. The inner and outer rails were both cut from strips of platinum with triangular azures cut in the inner ring to line up with the individual triangular galleries of the outer ring with each individual gallery at a slight angle from the next. I made a third ring that would be placed between the inner and outer ring during assembly to maintain a perfectly even gap while I soldered each prong on individually. Once one side was complete, I removed the spacing ring and soldered prongs on the opposite side. Setting this ring was a bit challenging, with each individual prong store-inside2holding the points of three separate trillion diamonds. The final diamond wound up to be a sort of keystone that needed to be trimmed to fit into the ring. It really was a totally awesome project. It was challenging, fun, and probably something that most modern jewelers will never have the opportunity to do by hand. Especially since they can just build and print one with CAD.

When it comes to Stuller, I grew up working with the company. They were always around the shops that I worked with. There were always items being ordered, whether they were findings and clasps for manufacturing, heads and mountings for counter sales, or simple bands. There was always something that they had that was easy and quick to get.

 

Words of Wisdom

At the end of the day, a jeweler’s job is truly never done. There is always more to do: customer jobs, new models and ideas, inventory, and stock work. It seems that there is always a reason that you can stay in the shop and work late. Learn not to. Enjoy your life. There will be work again tomorrow.