View Full Version : Industry specialisms

18-03-2012, 12:44 PM

I know this is a little subjective, but what are the differences between the specialisms of mounting, setting and polishing, in terms of:

- character/skills: for example, does one require more patience/accuracy/creativity/strength than another?
- demand: for example, is one more in demand than another?

Just curious!

18-03-2012, 01:30 PM
Dunno. As an amateur who makes one offs I tend to avoid sending anything out. If I can't do it I try to find another way, or learn how. The specialists I most admire are setters, for their acute eye sight, economy of tools and sure hand with scorpers.

18-03-2012, 03:22 PM
Yes, I've heard that setters mostly work by eye- must be like musicians having a good ear...

18-03-2012, 05:15 PM
According to the guy who taught me, there's an awful lot use scopes now. And you'll always inspect with a loupe rather than the naked eye. One thing that surprised me with bright cutting is just how much of it ends up being by feel more than by eye.

As for your original question - I'm in the same camp as Dennis. I'm also sufficiently impractical (in time terms) as to want to learn to do everything myself. But... I have the luxury of time to be able to.

18-03-2012, 05:37 PM
Ahhh the luxury of time, there is a lot to be said for it :0)

says one who does all things as and when he feels like it.

18-03-2012, 06:20 PM
Looking at this question made me think back to my early trade days, the company that I worked in from being an apprentice and ending up department workshop manager, had so many different departments with a total workforce of about 90, each department with skilled workers who all had their specialism titles, I was apprenticed as a goldsmith/smallworker but I worked among, silversmiths, metal spinners, silver boxmakers, mounters, setters, pearl stringers, chasers, engine turners, casters, clockmakers, lapidaries, polishers, engravers, flutemakers, gilders, silver platers, and a burnisher, wooden and ivory handlemakers and specialist casemakers. It makes me sad when I see how many parts of the trade are now in decline.


18-03-2012, 08:14 PM
James- that's interesting how many specialist workers you mention. I wonder if there are lots of jewellers nowadays who might be perfect for a certain specialism, but never know it, as they've never had the chance to look into it or try it properly.

19-03-2012, 10:43 AM
It's interesting to see how times have changed. I suppose technology has played a large part. Nowadays, we all seem to have to be jack of all trades.

Dori Christensen
20-03-2012, 05:39 PM
It's interesting to see how times have changed. I suppose technology has played a large part. Nowadays, we all seem to have to be jack of all trades.

As my dad would say, "Jack of all trades, master of none." There is truly something to be said for mastering a single art, yet our society has so little patience for it...sigh.

20-03-2012, 06:47 PM
As Heinlein said, "specialization is for insects" :)

As an example - for someone who doesn't work in the middle of the jewellery quarter - if you send your piece to a mounter, then a setter, an engraver and a polisher before you send it to the assay office, you could easily incur costs of an additional 50-60 (worst case, single piece being sent back & forth RMSD each time) - which comes out of your profits over and above the costs of work. If you can nip round the corner and get the work done, all well and good - I'm not in a position to be able to. So, rightly or wrongly, I learn to do the things myself.

What I'd love to find is a goldsmithing course that is something akin to an apprenticeship in work ethic, but part-time and/or distance learning. The idea of going back to university doesn't thrill me, but being drilled in the correct skills & practice of goldsmithing appeals. When I've done courses, the object for me has always been to get the techniques right and not worry about having a finished item at the end of it.

20-03-2012, 09:30 PM
There is indeed something to be said for that Dori, and I am a master in one "trade" albeit not as a jeweller, as far as jewellery goes I am a bit like Peter, though no where near as adept, but in as much that where I live I do not have the luxury of popping round the corner to a bullion dealer, stone setter, gem merchant, school, class or even shop, so therefore have to be a jack of all trades in the thing that gives me a great deal of pleasure. Thankfully I do not have to rely on the "jacking" for my income.