Say No to Bad Craftsmanship
Updated: Feb 8, 2019
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.. For better or for worse, amateur shops are being too 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 beauty of overall design.
Details of the Mounting
Asymmetry and unproportion is 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. (Designing Your Mounting - Coming Soon)
The Details of the Setting
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. (Picking the Best Setting - Coming Soon) 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!
The 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. But props to you if you found a jewellery where you can even spot clarity differences by naked eye!
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 time.
Yay the ring looks perfect and shimmery ! Oh wait you say it looks dull and dirty? Are you sure this is brand new, or should you just find another jeweller?
Great it’s bright and clean.. But is 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 your comfort.
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 jeweller expects 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 (I Demand Superior Craftsmanship! - Coming Soon).
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..
Who am I
I am Janet Tam, part of the new movement of Jewellers that believe in human connection and collaboration. I love to meet people to create ideas and develop inspiration.
Registered and still practising as a Professional Architect in Hong Kong, 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