|Q. Should I be wearing beautiful rings on my “old” or “ugly” hands?
A. I was at first unnerved by this question, but after 30 years (I too have gnarly hands) I realize that we are lucky to have hands at all…and that the enjoyment of a beautiful piece of jewelry does not depend on our own beauty or youth…to the contrary, jewelry is a symbolic reminder of the endurance of spirit, beauty, and love in our life. And, like they say, “youth is wasted on the young.”
Q. Do you provide appraisals for your pieces and custom orders?
A. Yes… I provide a close-up picture of the piece and a detailed description, which can be used for insurance or estate purposes.
Q. Why do I set stones in bezels rather than prongs?
A. Prongs are a rather recent invention which allows jewelry to be mass-produced and allows even an inexperienced jeweler to set stones. It is not the best way…prongs are insecure, allowing for the potential loss of the stone, and prongs also expose the edge of the stone to possible damage in ordinary wear. Bezels are safer, more comfortable, and smooth. They are also more elegant in form, echoing the shape of the stone as they protect it from loss and damage.
Q. Do you make pieces based on the customer’s design ideas?
A. Yes, I do. Usually, I take the customer’s concept or drawing and make detailed sketches showing how I would interpret the design. Of course, I want to make pieces that will satisfy both the client’s and my own sense of the best solution.
Q. Do you use the customer’s diamonds or other stones in making new pieces?
A. I have in the past, but I no longer do. Now, I only use stones from my own inventory or stones ordered for custom pieces in consultation with the customer.
Q. What if the customer doesn’t like the piece?
A. Occasionally, the customer is not fully satisfied with the outcome of custom order. Of course, I do not want the customer to be under any obligation to take a piece with which he or she is not totally pleased. Satisfaction is always guaranteed.
Q. What is the safest way to ship jewelry?
A. Ordinarily, I use U.S. Registered Mail service, which is very safe and has an insurance limit of $25,000 per package.
Q. How did I become a jeweler?
A. In 1969, I had left my job as an art teacher at Lycoming College, and was trying to eke out a living making sculpture and drawing (see “history” section for more details). I forged some jewelry out of bronze welding rod for my wife and friends as Christmas presents and it was well received. My dentist and friend, Perry Adelson, suggested I could make a living making jewelry… and since it was 1969, I figured “why not?” I did research in a technical book about the craft…and entered a new and very fulfilling career as a jewelry designer-craftsman.
Q. What is the “art of jewelry”?
A. Jewelry, like other art, expresses the feeling and ideas of the craftsman-artist. These are the things that cause the viewer to be attracted (or not) to particular pieces, styles, and artists. In my own case, I want to express ideas about balance, symmetry, and the order of nature…and a sense that there is a dialogue between my expression and the perception of the jewelry wearer.
Q. What is unique about the art of jewelry?
A. In other arts, the materials used are of little value or significance. Jewelers use materials of unique properties…the “noble” metals, gold, platinum, and silver, which do not rust, corrode or change: and a fantastic variety of natural stones from the earth’s crust. These stones have particular properties that have fascinated people for centuries: hardness, transparency, and brilliant colors, which hardly seem possible in nature. The materials themselves suggest and embody the quality of enduring beauty, especially in contrast to our own rather tenuous and impermanent life on earth.
Q. What are “Old Mine” and “European Cut” diamonds?
A. These are diamonds cut in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, which characteristically have small top facets, high crowns and sometimes an apparent “hole” in the bottom of the stone caused by a large culet (bottom facet). They are often quite distinctive in character when compared to modern cut diamonds. They exhibit more “fire”, or spectral array, and I enjoy using them because they are genuine antiques that are a living record of the style preference of the day. The diamonds come from older pieces in which the setting has worn out, and often can be bought at a significant discount compared to modern cut stones.