Monday, February 24, 2014

Ring Sizing, Micro Diamonds are the Devil.

   It has been a while since I have posted here, I got tired of fighting the spam and FB seemed easier. (Morrow Metalwork would like to be your friend) I am very glad I didn't close it down though, I was asked an excellent question today that requires a longish answer.  I thought other people might find informative too.
  " I have a question! I have skinny fingers (4.75) with bigger knuckles. My fiance had my engagement sized without the jeweler sizing my fingers (or even knowing what kind of fingers I have). The result is an oval ring?! It's super tight to get on (doesn't even go past a size 4 on the round circle sizer) and when its on looks really wide. I spoke with the goldsmith who tried to convince me that fingers are actually oval and not round. Is this normal? Or is this something he made up? The ring also has diamonds on the side of the band. I went to Birks and they said they could make it a round ring but know I'm wondering if this is going to be better for me?! I would love you opinion! thanks!"
   Melissa's Fiance bought her a nice new modern ring from a store, it has micro pave (wee diamonds claw set) down the shoulders, and would have come in a stock size 6.5 - 7. From what I size almost daily, I am guessing that her ring looks kinda like the photo I stole from the Internet. It doesn't matter what is happening on top, the problem is the little sparklers that run down the sides of the shank. She needs that pretty thing to fit a 4.75 finger with bigger knuckles.
   The first problem is getting the sizing done. A finger size equals 2.5mm of the circumference of the band, the goldsmith needs to remove between 3 to 5mm from this ring. Usually we can cut out the piece and then taking our non marking pliers, we start bending the shank parts into a tighter circle until the ends meet again. We solder it closed and tap it with a rubber mallet on a mandrel to make sure it is a nice round shape again. But in this case we can not move the entire shank. If I grab the diamond sections, I can chip or break stones, and crush claws, I am limited to bending only the none diamond parts, the ring is very oval at this point. This is not unusual, I can not grab a fancy engraved shank either. The real problem is when I put the oval ring on my mandrel to make it round. As I carefully tap on the diamond shoulders of the ring, the circumference of the circle becomes smaller and the claws spread to match the circle and usually the diamonds closes to the bottom fall out. Aack!
   When a ring with micro diamonds needs to be sized down, the best thing the jewellery store can do is order the ring in the correct size. Of course, that is possibly a 6 week wait, and the customer wants the ring now, and the Jeweller would prefer to sell the one in their showcase. I would probably have done this sizing, I do this a lot, it is less than 2 sizes, I have a healthy ego, and I know how to reset diamonds. ;)    If you bought the ring where I work, we would have done the job for the next day. If she had shown up at my place of employment with her oval ring, the clerks would have brought it into the back to show me, and I would have come out and discussed the problem with her....and discussed her finger with her! Because her ring shouldn't be round!
  That leads me to the second problem big knuckles on a wee finger. No, your fingers are not oval, especially not when the fingers are together - then they are kinda soft cornered squares. (the jeweller was just unwilling to chance popping stones, it takes time and skill to reset them).  If Melissa's ring looks like the picture I supplied, it has a narrow shank and she is going to have a hard time keeping the ring facing upright. I would definitely start by encouraging her to have the bottom of the shank flattened. Then when she came to pick up the now stirrup shaped ring, I would check that the ring was barely sliding over her knuckle so she doesn't have to worry about losing it. Depending on the fit, I might recommend a temporary half ball inside her ring to help keep it upright until she gets her wedding band....but she can do that later.   If she is a typical 'Just Engaged' woman, she doesn't want to leave her ring at the shop for another moment! There are people to show it off to!

P.S. These rings can be safely sized up 2 sizes, the farther the diamonds go down the shoulder, the harder it is to size.    And you can tell the picture I included isn't a real ring but a computer rendering because the far shoulder/shank is twisted.  But that discussion would be a different blog post.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Diamonds are forever...not!

Diamonds are very hard, an easy comparison would be ice. If you hit either of them with a hammer they will shatter. So over time many diamonds collect small chips where they receive hits, its life, there is nothing you can do about it...well not wearing your jewellery when doing crazy things will help!
Diamonds can be damaged by each other, try not to let them bang against each other. I have seen a pair of rings that someone's grandmother hard worn next to each other for 50 years. the diamonds had rubbed back and forth and worn each other flat, her round stones had been made oval. I have also seen grooves worn into the side of Sapphires from a diamond. If you plan to wear your diamond rings together all the time, solder the bands together!
But the best way to mess up your diamond is not to get it checked every year. Losing a $10,000 stone because you didn't know you needed $60 of claw work done is too sad for words. This is especially important with Estate pieces, grandma's ring should be checked before you wear it. So make a plan, get your treasured pieces cleaned and checked on your birthday or anniversary, its a treat as well as peace of mind thing!
Carol's ring, 18k yellow gold and Platinum.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cleaning your jewellery.

I think keeping your jewellery packed away in a box is a waste! Wear it!!...and then clean it.
The easiest way to keep you gold and gemstone jewellery nice looking is to soak them over night in dish soap and water, then give them a light scrub with an old toothbrush and rinse. Make sure you put them in a nice wineglass and put it on the window sill so nobody will accidentally toss your lovely things down the garborator like my mother did...but I digress.
Silver jewellery can be soaked too, but a toothbrush will scuff the finish, so just rinse it in the morning.
Pearls need special treatment. Your skin oils slowly eat the surface so always clean them after wearing, once again with dish soap and water, just a quick rinse then let them dry on a soft cloth - dont tug the string or you may stretch it. Also beware of perfume on your pearls, the alcohol is very hard on them. Apply your scent then wait a few minutes for the alcohol to dissolve before putting on your lovely strand.
Wow - two postings in one day, I must be avoiding something...

Fair Trade Gold and Gems.

I dont know much about the subject.
I do know that gold is too regulated to be fair trade. The price is the price that is listed on the stock exchange.
The supply of Diamonds is heavily regulated, you will not find Fair Trade diamonds.
But I do know that right now I can sell a 4mm Amethyst from India for $20, which means I bought it from the middle man for less, and he bought it from the gem cutting house for less and they bought it from a middleman in the country it was mined for less and he bought it from the digger/diver/hunter for next to nothing. Its beginning to look like the little guy on the other end had to pay for the honour of risking his health and possibly life for that little purple rock. Fair trade coffee is good, Fair trade coloured stones are good, too bad I have never seen any being offered on the market, but if the customer asks for one, I will search for one.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sizing Engineering Iron/Steel Rings

Steel Jewellery is rather unusual. Finding a person who hasn't changed ring size since they graduated from University is unusual too! With my laser welder I am able to size up or down the ring without leaving a seam.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fun stuff with old diamonds.

Charles and Diane had lots of used diamonds which they had been collecting from auctions. The diamonds were an assortment of sizes and fit nicely into the earring design shown above. If you look closely you will notice that the center stones are different sizes, but who will notice with a head put between them!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Diamond Dealers....dammit!

You get what you pay for.
I should just stop there and go get some sleep but I wont! So you are making cinnamon buns for a living, and so are two other people on your street. Now how do you get and keep your part of the market share and thus stay in business??? Well I know 2 (legal) ways, 1. sell a cheaper bun, if you add fewer expensive raisins then you can drop your price. And 2. sell a better bun, if you stuff the bun with juicy fruit and smear cream cheese icing all over the top you can probably sell them at a higher price.
Now imagine that the Bakery Mafia have regulated the requirements for cinnamon buns, and to be called a 'Cinnibun' the dough must weigh a certain amount, a minimum of raisins must be added and a maximum sweet gooey cheese quota has been tabulated....and now we have the diamond industry.
I can buy a 60pt, GH colour, SI2 clarity, round diamond for a variety of prices, because some dealers carry stones that barely make the grade and other take pride in selling stones that are almost too good. Dealers cant fudge the weight, the scale says what the scale says...but maybe the cut isn't as well proportioned so you spend money on a fat girdle which means the stone is a little smaller in appearance, maybe it looks like a 57pt instead. Luckily the guy selling fat stones charges less so the price between the well cut 57pt and the mediocre cut 60pt are probably the same.
Colour is judged with the diamond laying table down and the stone is compared against tinted cubic zirconias...then how come the diamond can be graded differently by two different appraisers? Because the companies that create the cubic zirconias don't use the same grading scale. A sad joke in the business is " Buy an 'I' and sell an 'H'". But the most interesting difference is in clarity, and that's because I can see a colour difference to the naked eye, I can see a badly cut stone, but I cant count all the specks - I can see the amount of dough, I can see the cream cheese but I cant count the raisins. The minimum is 8 raisins per bun, the maximum is 25, and this is where my cinnibun analogy fails because I think more raisins is better but fewer specks (inclusions) in your diamond is better...I guess you have to pretend you hate raisins.... Anyway, some diamond dealers sell the minimum and others the max, and this is reflected in the price. So like i said, you get what you pay for....which leads to my next post, 'If a deal seems to good to be true, it is'.