No jewellery is perfect, if you look closely enough, even the most luxurious of brands have some flaws in their work - that’s the beauty and curse of human handicraft. Jewellery-making is a complicated process that requires several skilled labour and a few major stages. Craftsmanship should never be taken lightly, and is the greater part of a luxury jewellery. Bad jewellery, even with a beautiful stone, is not worth your money, so be prepared!
It’s rather unfortunate. Bad craftsmanship is promoted and worshipped by media nowadays - independent crafters like those on Etsy, Pinterest, etc.. Bent rings and unrefined ring settings are loved for their rustic look. For better or for worse, amateur shops are being so well supported that not many people can differentiate a professional work from a “DIY” anymore. If your eye isn’t trained to spot out the acceptable flaws from terribly terribly unprofessional work, then you may be overpricing your bling!
No flaw should ever distract you from the overall beauty.
Asymmetrical and unproportioned rings are a definite no-no. Mounting is the parts of the jewellery where the stones are set into and it’s best sides are displayed - typically the metal parts. A centerstone should never look like it is tilted off to the side, why would a professional jeweller accept this in the first place?
The metal bits should always look like a singular smooth piece as well. Bad crafting is when you can see clearly the solder joints, particularly when the prongs and the band meet. The most amateur (and please turn your back immediately if you do see this) is when you realize different metal parts are in different gold colours or porous! Run! Unless intentional, the jewellery piece should never have variations in colour.
Not sure why it would ever happen, but there are jewellery where the prong heads surrounding the same diamond is of different sizes and shapes. The prong head should always be a unique part of the design, and affects the overall style of the jewellery. If you see your jeweller taking this lightly, you should be fearful of what else he is taking lightly.
The setting should always securely fix the diamond, but it should never be so large that the diamond is covered, reducing it’s brilliance. it should also never be so flimsy that the rock is just loose and unsafe. Oh, and never have stones too closely or stacked on top of each other - it’ll dent/crack them! Did you know it requires a lot of skill and more labour cost to set tiny melee diamonds?
CHOICE OF DIAMONDS
Not all diamonds are centerstones. Most of the smaller stones around your jewellery depend on the professionalism and expertise of your jeweller. While it would be impossible for the stones to all have equal colour, you should never be able to spot out the colour differences easily. If you see obvious colour differences, please do return it. The same goes for clarity. The general rule of thumb is to have the side stones match in colour and cut as the centerstone, so there is no competition and relative comparison, making the centerstone whiter.
The diamonds should always fit snuggly into the settings. If you find your stones too big or small for the settings, you need to question whether what you bought is worth your money. You would hate to wear your ring a couple of times then lose a few stones..
Yay the ring looks perfect and shimmery ! Oh wait you say it looks dull and dirty? Are you sure this is brand new? The inside of the ring rough, sharp or unpolished? A good jeweller should never cut corners like that, the inside is just as important as the appearance and outside, he should not undermine the importance of what the customer can't see. In fact, you can really see it, polished insides help diamonds reflect beautifully, while unpolished surfaces can accumulate dirt and make your diamonds look dark in the long run!
Jewellery craftsmanship is a pricey game. The list above are just the truly unacceptable notes of a bad jeweller, a jeweller that doesn’t deserve your money - it should not be a basis of setting a standard. A GOOD CRAFTSMAN & JEWELLER WILL DO SO MUCH MORE! As much as I wish to say that all jewellers should be professional and experienced, it is truly not the case. Superior craftsmanship comes with a price.
If you are budgeting and choosing your jeweller based on price alone, or based on the price of the centerstone, you might be losing out a lot more than you bargain for..
Janet, the Creative Founder of Fresh Recollection. I'm an avant-garde Jeweller & a GIA Diamontaire who believe in human connection and design collaboration. I love to meet people to create beautiful ideas and develop relationships with my clients.
A Professional Architect by day, I was brought up in a Jeweller’s family - counting diamonds, artistry and design has always been in my blood.
Images Above Courtesy of Piaget, Cartier, and Niwaka