Here’s a Christmas gift meant to say something special to that special someone.
The diamond is top grade D color (colorless) and VVS1, meaning Very Very Small Inclusions first category (not visible to the naked eye.) A certificate stating the specifications is included. Satisfaction is guaranteed in every respect.
The design is simple, yet elegant–an ode to the circle–very feminine, easy to wear, classy, suitable for dress-up or casual wear. Not over the top, but definitely noticeable. This is a gift that will be treasured for a lifetime and a solid investment.
Order now for Christmas. First come first served on this one of a kind pendant.
I have other diamonds with similar characteristics, available to be set in any color or carat metal, including platinum, with any chain style and length you may desire, but you need to call quickly: toll-free 888 635 4975
If you want to buy this one online, go to https://squareup.com/market/ricco-gallery/k-diamond-solitaire-pendant
About Gold Jewelry
What is it about gold that has made it a favorite of jewelers since antiquity? And why is it so sought after still today?
Both questions have a simple answer: because gold is beautiful. But there is more to the allure of gold than its appeal to the eye. Gold is a rare element making it a status symbol to own. In antiquity, only kings and rulers wore gold. By Roman times, gold ownership was more distributed in the population, but as now, cost factors narrowed ownership to the wealthy.
From the jeweler’s point of view, gold is a joy to work with–it can be fused, soldered, formed, forged and shaped with relatively great ease compared with other metals like silver, and especially copper. Gold has the downside of being relatively soft and easily deformed when in its pure state. By mixing gold with another metal, like copper or silver, softness can be controlled. The mixture is an alloy. For example, 14K gold is an alloy containing 14 parts of pure gold mixed with 10 parts of another metal (or combination of metals.) See my post about karats for more details.
Another way to compensate for the softness of gold lies in a special way of forming metal called “anticlastic raising” (see details here.) With this technique, metal is shaped so that the forces that cause metal to deform are in opposition, resulting in a form that is very strong and resistant to change even when there is not much thickness.
The ring shown here is made by this method. Achieving results like this requires patience and time because the edges of the cylinder (the ring) must be raised up contrary to its axis of rotation. Try this yourself: make a cylinder from a piece of paper by putting one edge against another. Now try to raise the edges of the cylinder up and over in the contrary direction. With paper this is not possible; metal will stretch to achieve the result although it requires great care and diligence, not to mention know-how.
What Does “Handmade” Mean?
The words “handmade,” “handcrafted,” and “artisan made”, which appear in many product descriptions on sites such as etsy.com, have different applications. These range from products assembled from manufactured elements to pieces crafted from scratch using basic materials such as wire, sheet metal, stones, etc.
One can argue that a person who makes things from wire and sheet metal is also using materials that are pre-formed since the artist did not make the wire or sheet metal from ore, so in a sense the word “handmade” applies equally to both kinds of products. But I would argue that there is in fact a world of difference between stringing beads–to take one example—and forging a metal bracelet from sheet, because the skill sets are vastly different.
A bead stringer may produce an original product, in the sense that the precise combination of beads in the design has never been seen before (not hard to accept due to the enormous variety of beads available.) But the method, the stringing itself, relies on a simple set of operations: putting a wire or cord through a hole in a bead and attaching a purchased finding (such as a clasp or pin) to finish the piece. In many cases, a piece of jewelry produced this way carries the label “handmade.”
By contrast, an artisan who forges a piece of flat metal into a sculptural shape must have a more complete knowledge base, such as how metal moves when stretched or compacted and how different metal alloys behave when heated or hammered—and must have mastered the techniques for controlling the shape of the form. The more knowledge the artisan has, the more advanced the resulting form can be, and the process of learning can be endless. This is why it seems ludicrous to me to apply the word “handmade” to both products equally.
In between these two extremes are intermediate cases where the process of creating a piece of jewelry is heavily dependent on machines. One example is lost-wax casting, a process that involves melting a wax model out of a plaster surround and filling the space with molten metal. What results is a metal copy of the wax model. It’s possible to make copies of the original wax using a rubber mold of the resulting metal piece. The wax copies are then assembled into “trees” of up to 50 or 100 waxes and cast into metal by the lost-wax method, as before. The artistry, the “handmade” part, lies in making the wax model. The question is, can each of the replicas be justifiably called “handmade?”
When evaluating a piece of jewelry (or other “handmade” item), consider the skills and knowledge that go into its making. Sometimes it’s not easy to see, but if you look carefully you can usually detect differences. Understand that a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry has more intrinsic value than a piece that is one of many copies, in the same way that an original work of art is more valuable than a print.
From time to time I check out what’s being offered on QVC and other shopping channels and I’m amazed at how low the prices are. Because they sell tens of thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of pieces of the same thing in an hour or so, profit margins are wafer-thin. This suggests that everybody goes home a winner, including the consumer.
The machine wins, because once you set up a machine to produce the first item, the next hundred thousand are produced at minimal extra cost per item. There’s no way that a human being can compete with the machine, so why bother making something by hand that a machine does cheaper?
But wait a minute: The machine can only produce identical versions of the same thing while a human being produces pieces that differ at least slightly, precisely because a human being is not a machine. In short, the hand-made piece reflects humanity, or soul, while the machine-made piece is, by definition, soulless.
The question becomes: Is the difference between a hand-made item and a machine-made item enough to justify the difference in price? Of course that’s a personal decision. What I can tell you, from the perspective of someone who has made jewelry for over 40 years, is that the choice is an important one. The jewelry that one wears reveals a lot person’s taste and sophistication. Hand-made jewelry projects the energy of its maker. Machine-made jewelry projects the energy of the machine. Many people won’t see the difference, but many will and thank god for them.
My advice is to select your jewelry carefully and to buy only pieces that have soul and lasting beauty. Those are pieces that you will love and cherish your whole life, and even if they cost more to buy they have greater value—both to you and to a person to whom you may pass them on. Quality hand-made jewelry is a pleasure to wear from the start and ends up being less expensive than mass-produced items that often end up being put away.
Think about the meaning of the jewelry that you wear and you’ll see that the machine loses.
See my hand-made rings, like the one in the picture above, at www.etsy.com/shop/riccogallery
Pure gold, or 24 karat gold, is famously called “the yellow metal,” so how do you make white gold from it? It’s done by adding a white metal to the pure gold.
While nickel is commonly used to produce commercial white gold, palladium is a preferred white metal because some people (about one in eight) have allergic reactions to nickel.
Commercial white gold jewelry is often plated with rhodium to hide traces of yellow that remain after adding nickel to pure gold. The plating is subject to wearing through, revealing the underlying color in patches and requiring replating to make the original white color of the rhodium.
Palladium white gold compositions are not as white as rhodium plated metals, but they are white enough without plating to satisfy most people. And they have no nickel.
Ricco uses 18K palladium white gold alloys exclusively for his jewelry, as shown in the image above, especially when setting colored stones. The color of the stone is more accurately seen against white metal than it would be against yellow gold.
Mixed Metals Ring
This ring combines 14K gold, copper, and silver by fusing them together on top of the silver base. This requires skill because each metal melts at a different temperature. The process is like painting with flame, and you must take care that you don’t end up with a blob of molten metal at the end.
Serendipity plays a role in the process because you only have a certain degree of control in how the metals fuse and melt together–the rest is up to the gods. The design is thus a mix of my artistry and the artistry of nature, and it has endless interest because you can continually see new things in the abstract forms. The copper reacts with chemicals in the air and changes color, another feature that makes the ring more dynamic and interesting.
Rings are a favorite form in my repertoire. I like making them because they are a constrained canvas yet they allow a range of expression.
Jewelry is one of mankind’ soldest obsessions. It is found in the oldest archeological digs and we assume, therefore, that the desire to adorn ourselves is part of being human. This can be seen in the action of the newborn baby instinctively reaching out to grab the earring dangling from Mom’s earlobe. (By the way, many a lobe has been torn by this action, so new moms should take care.)
But modern jewelry manufacturing has a seedy underbelly, from the environmental damage that accompanies mining gold and other precious metals, to the well– known issues connected with the mining of diamonds and other gemstones. The plating of metals with gold and silver also produces some nasty waste products, and there are horror stories of sweatshops using child labor.
But all’s not lost. You can recycle your existing jewelry and help the planet at the same time. Ricco can help you do this. Get in touch and let’s talk about it.