I should point out from the outset of this blog that I am biased, I would say handmade jewellery is superior to mass produced jewellery, and here’s why.
Apart from the fact it has generally been made to fit you from gemstones and metals chosen by you, quality handmade jewellery will last longer too.
I’ll give you a glance into the process that is undertaken to create your piece… Take an engagement ring for instance. After you have settled on a unique design we start by melting the metal and pouring it into a bar. We then make the setting for the diamond. It is formed by use of rolling mills, compacting and hardening the metal, bent to shape, soldered to join, then further formed by punching the setting into a steel taper plate. Each claw is then meticulously hand pierced from the setting with a Jeweller’s saw, filed and sanded with at least three grades of sandpaper ready for polish.
Next we form the ring, again with the use of the rolling mills, bent to shape, soldered to join and hammered on a mandril to your exact finger size. It is now hallmarked with carat stamp and maker’s mark, and the profile of the band worked to your specifications, half round, flat or knife edge. Again sanded and polished. We now have the two main components of the ring, now it’s really taking shape.
Now we need to join the ring and the setting. The ring is cut through the original join and worked to house the setting, then the two are soldered together. The diamond is then seated and set, followed by the final polish and plating if required. All this has taken at least a whole day by a trained professional utilising age old tools and techniques passed down through generations, very little of this process has actually changed in the last hundred years. This is how all jewellery was made only a generation ago, and as the metal has been hardened throughout the process it makes for stronger, longer lasting jewellery.
Did you know today many of the engagement rings in the windows of the commercial chain store jewellers have hardly touched a human hand throughout the manufacturing process? Rings are printed in wax, hollowed out to save on gold weight, stones then set into the wax, the ring cast with stones in place and then put through a series of finishing machines to achieve a high polish. The product is porous, lightweight and weak, yet is often priced the same or more as a handmade piece. I know which I’d prefer. If you are in the market for a piece of jewellery do yourself a favour and at least get a quote on both to compare, you might be surprised!