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What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew?

ame

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I have had a lot of ring drama in the past 7 years...a lot was just poorly manufactured work or terrible bench work--sizing problems,etc. Others were where the manufacturer (local guy or national company) just didn't "get" my requests or disagreed, or worst of all, ignored. I know I am NOT alone in that kind of issue especially since I have noticed at least one thread recently where a ring was either remade elsewhere by another maker or sent back to the original maker for a round 2 attempt to make it right.

I am of the mind that if I pay you for something, be it $600 for a basic band/setting or $2500 for a setting or diamond band, or $8000 for a totally paved masterpiece, that it is loupe perfect when I receive it, especially if there was a wait longer than like 3 weeks. I shouldn't see chips or nicks or cracks in any of the melee, crookedness with my naked eye of any stone, prongs should be uniform. My eyes are really good on their own, not even considering a loupe's involvement. I also expect them to know that I WILL loupe it. And I will tell them up-front that I will. I expect that the stones are level, even, the "same" measurements, and all high quality. I expect there to not be serious signs of casting issues on the metal. And I expect you to fix it right away if it's not to those standards. Rush it to the front of the line. Do whatever you have to do so that it's fixed perfectly and back on its way to me or back in my hands in less than a week if not 24 hours later.

Maybe I am unrealistic, but someone paid you for that item and based on the reputation that you've built and the marketing you produce implying that you have amazing quality and workmanship, they expect what you're reputation and marketing told them you provide. You might be ok with lesser quality for your own items, but not everyone else is. Maybe go the extra step and work at a higher magnification than the trade would typically use. Set the new standard for excellence. $600 or $2500 or $8000 is a LOT of money to the vast majority of society. Having the "whatever" attitude, or declining to meet someone's standards--especially if they've shared those standards in advance--is not acceptable. You're in business to serve people who want your product. Give them your best. Or if your best is inferior, find someone better.

So is there anything you wish setting designers/manufacturers, brands, jewelers, whatever, knew? What message you want to share?
 

mogster

Shiny_Rock
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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

It bugs me when the prongs are asymmetrical -- how is that not painfully obvious?
 

kelpie

Ideal_Rock
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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

I wish they knew how to make prongs that aren't any bulkier than they need to be. On the other hand I wish they would make the undersides of shanks heftier.

Like you, I am super nitpicky and stuff really bothers me but I think loupe clean is an unreleastic expectation, unfortunately. I own a ton of pieces, and I have owned and sold many more. Only one was perfect workmanship and that was a Tiffany Novo (not my only Tiffany ring either). Even my favorite jeweler who I comission all my pieces from and sublimely happy with his work (particularly for creativity and value) I can find porosity (even if it is inside the shank) or minute asymmetries. I step back, calm down, and admire the overall beauty of the piece.
 

Laila619

Super_Ideal_Rock
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11,614
Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

If it's a brand new setting, it needs to be perfect, without scratches, and the pave diamonds should be set evenly and straight. It doesn't seem like rocket science but you'd be surprised!
 

ame

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

Oh, at this point NOTHING surprises me.
 

CaseyP

Rough_Rock
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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

One of the reasons I am so nervous looking at custom settings is that I have never once gotten a custom made item, especially over the internet through texts and pictures, that came back to my liking on the first try.

I put in a lot of time designing custom items, looking at pictures, looking at my use for the item, and refining the design.

I am pretty good at art and I do my homework as far as technical terms to make sure that I am very clear in what I am ordering.

I wait for a quote and it usually comes back higher than I expected, sometimes double what I was expecting. But rather than skimping on quality of the detail work or the materials, I would rather save up longer and get exactly what I ordered to those specifications.


Now if I asked them to lower the quote then I would expect a lower material quality, or less detailing, but not poor craftsmanship.


It is endlessly irritating when you save up for another 6 months/ year to get something much more expensive than you had first envisioned, and it comes back shoddy, especially when production work at 1/3rd of the price comes out looking more finished.
 

ame

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

CaseyP|1316804512|3024034 said:
It is endlessly irritating when you save up for another 6 months/ year to get something much more expensive than you had first envisioned, and it comes back shoddy, especially when production work at 1/3rd of the price comes out looking more finished.
THIS. EXACTLY.
 

decodelighted

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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

It's a numbers game. Big manufacturers default to the MINIMAL STANDARD that most people will accept. Just like newspapers write to the 3rd grade reading level. If they have to deal with a small fraction of people being dissatisfied, it's way more cost effective than making the huge percentage of pieces to a loupe-clean-level.
 

ame

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

Perhaps. But why not go the extra mile so that you're proud of it and don't have the OCD people like me sending it back several times?
 

Circe

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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

decodelighted|1316808333|3024105 said:
It's a numbers game. Big manufacturers default to the MINIMAL STANDARD that most people will accept. Just like newspapers write to the 3rd grade reading level. If they have to deal with a small fraction of people being dissatisfied, it's way more cost effective than making the huge percentage of pieces to a loupe-clean-level.
This. And also, let's not forget the issue of capability.

I mean, the thing is ... it's not like jewelers are idiots. They KNOW all this stuff. And, when it's cost-effective, or when they're OCD, too, they cater to it. But at the end of the day, the fact of the matter is that, a) 99% of the population isn't quite as obsessed with their bling as we all are, and, b) somewhat depressingly ... not all jewelers are created equal. It's not like every single benchman can make a perfect setting, even with all the good intentions in the world: some of it's skill and craft, too.

Which is why it's so important to find the good ones and nurture the hell out of them (one of the reasons I'm always tickled to see a fine craftsperson picked up by PS, with their popularity increasing so their prices can, too). Success!
 

decodelighted

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

ame|1316809001|3024111 said:
Perhaps. But why not go the extra mile so that you're proud of it and don't have the OCD people like me sending it back several times?
I think I said why. Money. Proud doesn't pay the bills. And it's not like they're getting a round of applause or something. Stuff that's good goes into the void, stuff that's bad goes into the void and stuff that's eh goes into the void. And there are so few OCD people around that it doesn't make sense financially to make their standards THE standard.
 

ame

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

decodelighted|1316810148|3024127 said:
ame|1316809001|3024111 said:
Perhaps. But why not go the extra mile so that you're proud of it and don't have the OCD people like me sending it back several times?
I think I said why. Money. Proud doesn't pay the bills. And it's not like they're getting a round of applause or something. Stuff that's good goes into the void, stuff that's bad goes into the void and stuff that's eh goes into the void. And there are so few OCD people around that it doesn't make sense financially to make their standards THE standard.
It doesn't cost more to do it right. Except that eventually word about crappier craftsmanship will get around. Why not spend the money to do it right, especially if your profit margin is like 400% or something insane? And if you please the OCD people, they'll buy more from you.
 

Circe

Ideal_Rock
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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

ame|1316810537|3024135 said:
decodelighted|1316810148|3024127 said:
ame|1316809001|3024111 said:
Perhaps. But why not go the extra mile so that you're proud of it and don't have the OCD people like me sending it back several times?
I think I said why. Money. Proud doesn't pay the bills. And it's not like they're getting a round of applause or something. Stuff that's good goes into the void, stuff that's bad goes into the void and stuff that's eh goes into the void. And there are so few OCD people around that it doesn't make sense financially to make their standards THE standard.
It doesn't cost more to do it right. Except that eventually word about crappier craftsmanship will get around. Why not spend the money to do it right, especially if your profit margin is like 400% or something insane? And if you please the OCD people, they'll buy more from you.
It isn't. There's triple keystone markup on materials ... but there's also the need to pay your benchman and your accountant and your landlord.
 

rocks

Brilliant_Rock
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764
Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

Circe is correct....and, In Truth, it takes a lot more time, and as a result costs significantly more to produce a product that would meet ame's standards. Some people care more about perfection, and others are more focused on cost. What is important is value. Did you pay a fair price for the product you received.
 

MissStepcut

Brilliant_Rock
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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

So what do I wish they knew? That I will look at it through a loop. That I will photograph it with a high resolution camera. That I will then post it on on the Internet. With their name, how long it took to make, if I had to send it back, and if I did, if they charged me for the re-work. Oh, and I will re-post those high resolution pictures over and over, for years, in all the threads that are relevant to people interested in my stone shape, setting type, or the jeweler I worked with. Possibly even after I get the stone re-set or go in a completely different direction.

Honestly, I bet they wish they knew that beforehand, too.
 

decodelighted

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

ame|1316810537|3024135 said:
It doesn't cost more to do it right. Except that eventually word about crappier craftsmanship will get around. Why not spend the money to do it right, especially if your profit margin is like 400% or something insane? And if you please the OCD people, they'll buy more from you.
Which is it?

I'm not trying to pick on you, Ame. I agree w/a lot of your posts usually. IMHO *of course* it costs more to "do it right". Better labor costs more than poor labor. Skilled craftsmen cost more than craftsmen with less skill. And -- why would any *mass* business want to attract MORE of the pickiest customers? :tongue: :naughty:

This "word of crappier craftsmanship" doesn't seem to be hurting Tiffany any! :wink2:
 

decodelighted

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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

Ame, if you were a jewelry craftsperson --true artist/designer/phenom -- would you prefer to cater to an OCD clientele of folks who also tend to put their jewelry in a drawer where it remains unworn except for periodic examination w/ a *loupe* --- OR --- less OCD-prone clients who will wear your pieces more often, in public, where they can be admired & perhaps lead to other work, other inquiries, even media coverage?
 

ame

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

If I was skilled and trained to do that, I'd build it and design it for the former, and be excited for both outcomes. People who couldn't care less wouldn't know they had the very best and would wear it and do whatever with it. But the people who wanted the very best would also be happy even if all they did was loupe it. Its worth hiring the best, most skilled craftsmen and paying them well, having someone there choosing the best stones, and doing it all right. Pay more up front to get the best, make the best, sell the best. It will come back to you. And with people cutting way back on discretionary spending, which this stuff is--no one NEEDS a diamond, it's a bigger deal to make those who ARE buying it happy.

As I have repeatedly mentioned, I do wedding invites etc., and I do not let something that is not PERFECT and even leave my hands. EVER. The two people that I pay to help me assemble jobs know how ridiculous I am--no food, drink, no touching your face, no nails, no polish on nails, no jewelry of any kind, etc. If you touch your face you wash your hands. You wash your hands every 20 minutes regardless. I make printers completely redo an entire job if anything is off color, cut imperfectly, whatever. If I have to lose money sometimes and fire a printer or supplier because they cannot have pride in their work to make it right, so be it. My reputation and quality of work means more to me than probably anything else. And the people who hire me know that, which is why they hire me. Damn near any graphic designer can do invitations, but not everyone is that concerned with the whole process and not just the details. I bend over backwards. I don't just crank it out and think it's all done. And I feel that everyone should do that with their work, especially with such big ticket items.

As for the post above it: You're spending the money to do the work. Spend it right and do it right the first time and it won't cost more to repair, redo, whatever later.
 

decodelighted

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

Your wedding invitation business doesn't seem scaleable to me. It's all about priorities. If the priority was making the most $$ possible -- choices might be different. Every jewelry manufacturer is choosing their own priorities. Unfortunately very few are in line with your own I guess.
 

ame

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

Hence my starting this thread!

My example is a much smaller scale example but you are right that my way of doing business is not how the majority does business.
 

denverappraiser

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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

ame|1316810537|3024135 said:
It doesn't cost more to do it right. Except that eventually word about crappier craftsmanship will get around. Why not spend the money to do it right, especially if your profit margin is like 400% or something insane? And if you please the OCD people, they'll buy more from you.
I’m a big fan of precision workmanship but it DOES cost more to do it ‘right’. Often it’s a LOT more.

Better craftsmen draw better wages. This is as it should be.

Some of the skills required are extremely exotic. You can’t just put out an ad and land a master craftsman. The vast majority of jewelers don’t have the skills and those who do already have jobs or are already your competitors.

Special purpose tools can get expensive and one of the ways to do the job right is to have just the right tools. Jewelers tend to be tool junkies and they've got 10s to 100s of thousands of dollars tied up in this. The better ones have more invested, and that equals higher charges. As with the above, this is as it should be.

It takes far longer to do a 10x perfect job than a commercial job. A job that can be slapped together in a few hours may take dozens of hours of tedious work for a master to get to where you want to be. Instead of hiring a $20/hr worker for 3 hrs to do the job, you hire an $80/hr job worker for 12 hours. That alone just increased your price by more than 10 times.

Certain techniques, like CAD/cast designs are much less labor intensive than others, like pure fabrication or hand engraving, even though the fabrication produces better results (if done properly). Time is money.

The people doing this kind of work do NOT make a 400% profit, or anything like it. Silver tourist charms at the most expensive outlet barely can do that and these are things with basically zero labor costs. It depends on what you mean by ‘profit’ of course but owning a jewelry manufacturer isn’t a particularly good gig at the moment and they’re going out of business in droves. Retailing is better but not by all that much. When the scrap gold business finally dries up I think we’re going to see some serious problems in that sector.
 

TheDoctor

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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

[/quote]
It doesn't cost more to do it right. Except that eventually word about crappier craftsmanship will get around. Why not spend the money to do it right, especially if your profit margin is like 400% or something insane? And if you please the OCD people, they'll buy more from you.[/quote]
It absolutely does cost more to do it right. Employing skilled people to do critical work is lost on the ownership of a fairly high percentage of jewellery manufacturers. Cheap rules. You get exactly what you pay for.
The main objective is to profit from moving diamonds, and it costs more to be OCD to please the small numbers of OCD customers. The accountants run the world now, and cutting costs to please the price-obsessed means overseas jobs replacing American jobs and pride in workmanship has been replaced by get me the hell out of this McJob. The number of committed craftspeople making jewellery in North America has declined significantly in the past 10 years but the number of people flailing away in their basements trying to make a living servicing the industry has risen by 100 times. For the larger factories that remain, the skilled are skilled at a couple of procedures on an assembly line, and take no ownership of problems caused by anyone else. They simply don't care. The workers who clean the buildings make the same salaries that they do.
There is no 400 percent profit anywhere in jewellery, except for the producers of diamonds, and they seem to be running the show in numbers that make 400 seem very conservative.
 

Circe

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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

Bingo, Doc. And there's also the irritating fact that those high-end craftsmen tend to get more complaints from their high-end customers, because these days, everybody is used to the mass-produced perfection of the factory line pieces, so (as we frequently hear on the boards), anything less than machined perfection is sent back to be redone and redone and redone. Can't win situation.
 

denverappraiser

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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

There is no 400 percent profit anywhere in jewellery, except for the producers of diamonds, and they seem to be running the show in numbers that make 400 seem very conservative.[/quote]
Nah, not even there unless you count very selective and lucky deals. Cutters work on razor thin margins and the skilled workers are moving out of America for exactly the same reasons you describe above. Most of the work is factory processes and although there are some higly talented folks working in and running these factories, they aren't minting money at it. Mining is a pretty good activity if you've got the right piece of ground under the jurisdiction of the right government but that's a HUGE 'if'. Most miners are barely eeking by, if that. BHP, Rio Tinto, DeBeers et.al. ARE making some profits, and in some years they even have done pretty,well but even that's not free money dispite the popular press. New mines in Canada and Russia are barely above water. If, by the way, you want to be in that business, many of these companies are publicly traded and are eager for more partners. You too can be a mining company if you want as long as you've got the money and are willing to take the risks.

As far as I can tell, the best gig in jewelry right now is GIA and the other labs although Rapaport and Polygon look like a pretty good operations too. None of these would be called 'producers' in the normal definitions but I suppose that depends on what you mean.
 

ame

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Re: What is something you wish setting companies/makers knew

I am someone who expects perfection, uniformity, etc., as I stated above. And I did a lot of research every time I had to deal with a new person before I would select them. I have not "cheaped out" on price every time, I did on a basic plain setting, and that was fine til the jeweler who sized it did a crap job. The retail on this Flyer band is quite insanely high IMO, and for that price I expect perfection and uniformity and I would think ANYONE would. It was not at all cheap. The vatche was also not at all cheap, esp since it's just "plain platinum".
 
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