In a previous issue of Jewellery Business, I introduced readers to a few of my favourite tools and briefly described some of their uses. Perhaps it’s a good time to provide a bit more detail and delve into specific techniques and how the information they provide can help us do our jobs more efficiently.
Every professional has tools and techniques they consider indispensable to their trade. The world of gemmology and jewellery appraisal is somewhat unique in that many of us are left to figure these out for ourselves.
In the last few years, several high-profile incidents of parcels salted with synthetic diamonds have put the industry on high alert. They have also spurred gemmologists and others to develop new tools for identifying lab-grown stones.
The bench jewellers I know, myself included, have a tendency to use their tools for purposes other than for what they are intended. I, for instance, tend to grab a pair of diagonal cutters when I want to snip through a piece of binding wire or lift a worn prong off a diamond. Actions like these dull cutters and make them useless when trying to achieve a fine flat cut through a chain’s link.
Most of the time a laser beam passes through a clean, clear diamond and nothing happens. However, there are times when the laser beam hits an impurity and a burst occurs, like in the diamond shown here. For this reason, I no longer use a laser to re-tip over expensive diamonds or coloured gemstones, although for melee, it is a viable option. The savings in time and materials outweigh the inevitable loss of a stone or two. Stone damage occurs approximately one per cent of the time.
Like most bench jewellers, I am always looking for creative ways to save money. Manufactured sanding discs can cost anywhere from 10 cents to 50 cents each. That may not seem like a lot of money, but I tend to go through quite a few of them. They also never seem to be offered in my favourite grits of sandpaper. Well, I have found a great way to make my own sanding discs for next to nothing.