over 95% of jewellery sold is mass produced
the majority of this is assembled from castings or stampings, needing minimal assembly by hand.
only a tiny percentage of these require skilled craftsmanship at all.
when Gerald Ratner made his famouse quote, about his jewellery lasting about as long as a prawn sandwich in Harrods, he forgot to mention that the prawn sandwich not only cost as much, but also took as long to make!
from preparing a casting, to a finnished item polished and ready to box, normally takes but a few minutes, when proccessing a batch of 50 or more identical items
just like a car production line, one person doing waxes all day, another preparing moulds and pouring in molten metal, another cutting off the castings, another filing the rough bits off, and another polishing and cleaning the finnished article.
most rings etc. today are even cast with the stones in place, no skilled setter required at all.
this modern mass production proccess is exceptionally good as long as you don`t mind being seen at the next wedding wearing the same earrings as aunty flossy
better mass produced items have more time and effort put into the interim parts of the job, skilled craftsmen cleaning every fine detail, removing every blemish, filling every pit hole, scrapping every casting which is full of porosity (tiny pinholes almost invisible to the naked eye.)
so what defines HANDMADE
simple: an individually made item which in the case of jewellery, has been lovingly produced from flat sheet milled metal, OR round, square, oblong , hexagonal, d shape, etc. etc. wire
each individual part of an item being shaped, fashioned, with hand tools like pliers, files, gravers,piercing saws, hammers, doming blocks, punches etc. etc. etc.and then carefully solderd together by eye, using a fine blow torch, and hard medium and easy solders of similar metal and quality .
all stones hand set in place using traditional skills seperately drilled holes, or individually cut claws, and set with scorpers and gravers etc.
many such items are partially polished in stages throughout the proccesses and finaly hand polished at the end, normally to a mirror finish.
how to tell the difference!
when using the internet to look at such items it is almost impossible to distinguish between the three
if it is described as new and looks to cheap, it is probably poor quality mass produced (enlarge the photo as big as possible and look for thin flashings left behind, unwanted rough metal between pierced designs, also look for a surface area that looks like a section through an aero bar,)
if the item is new and the price looks about right, doese it look similar to dozens of other items listed. chances are it is a better quality mass production item (enlarge the picture for good measure)
if it is totally different to anything else listed by any other supplier!(same supplier may have made a few)
chances are it is handmade, if it has been specified as such!
an individually hand made item, if a very simple design might take an hour to make neerly twice as long for a pair.
many complex designs will take many hours each and very complex items can take DAYS.
the labour cost often outways the material cost!
the look on auntie flossies face will be priceless!!!!
if this has been helpfull please tick the helpfull box below, if you have fallen asleep with boredom accept my apology!