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Altering Semi Mounts


bonnebelle
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Hi there - newbie in the house :rolleyes: Yeah, you can see this same post in the Advertising section because I messed up. Hope Admin erases it from me soon so I don't look too foolish!

 

I found a ring style at Helzberg that I would like to fill with the diamonds I currently own from my engagement ring & band and other gifts given to me over the years (high school graduation diamond earring studs, etc.). I found a setting at Helzberg that I think will work perfectly as my original stone is not large, although quite pretty, so that I still want it featured prominently in the design. Here's the link to the ring: http://www.helzberg.com/product/5-8ct+tw+d...tby=newArrivals.

 

Not knowing the type of labor or difficulty required in making custom settings or modifying/reworking semi-mounts, how difficult is it to modify this type of mount: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...A:IT&ih=011 to make the design I want or can it even be done? If so, how labor intensive is it and what other factors could go into a jewelers estimate - a rough estimate on how much could I expect to pay to get something like this done would be great though I know it's different everywhere.

 

A couple other factors/options I have been researching as I search for the perfect setting are as follows: I would be willing to buy the semi-mount from the jeweler as well as the extra stones I would need (2 10pt rounds, SI1) and (2 baguettes around the same size) but I am also willing to buy the mount elsewhere and buy the extra diamonds from the jeweler who would do the re-work and the stone setting. If I buy a mount elsewhere is there a place I can buy empty mounts?

 

In the end I am trying to use what I have already, find the setting I want but be wise with my money as well as fair to the jeweler. I have a limited budget which is part of why I am willing to piece things together, but I don't want to shot myself in the foot by giving the jeweler a set of circumstance that don't allow them to do what they need to and be able to guarantee their work on the ring.

 

Hope that makes sense! I appreciate your advice and am willing to learn :)

 

 

I've attached pictures of the Helzberg ring (first pic with red background) and the type of setting I was hoping could be modified.

post-115332-1208106959_thumb.jpg

post-115332-1208106980_thumb.jpg

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I’m a bit confused.

 

If you’ve got a custom jeweler that your happy with and you’re looking for their prices, why not just ask them? Every jeweler I know will give you a cost estimate before beginning work. You’re correct that custom making this sort of thing to fit your stones is quite a bit of work but different people charge different rates for their time and skills so it makes no sense for us to second guess them without knowing a whole lot more about the situation and the plans. There’s a significant difference in craftsmanship as well as price between the best and the worst makers by the way. The two rings you’ve linked to are wildly different and trying to retrofit one into the other is almost certain to be a source of trouble. You started out right by finding a jeweler to do the work. The next step is to have a conversation with them about what you want, what is possible, what things costs and the like. If you’re just shopping them to see if they are competitive, give much more specific requirements including the diamond sizes and shapes, number of stones, what metals you want and how you want it built and you may be able to get a competitive bid. Several of the folks here do custom work and may be willing to do up an estimate for you if you ask nicely.

 

Neil

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HI bonnebelle,

I suppose if a jeweler who was going to take your job, they would have to find out exactly how many diamonds you have, and what the millimeters sizes are.

See, one of the problems from what I read of your question, if you want to find a custom jeweler to work with diamonds that you supply.

Both of the settings that you, will need very specific sizes of diamonds.

For example, the ring below has

16 x 1.4mm

22 x 1.0mm

2 x 1.3mm

54 x .7mm

 

26548c.JPG

 

If the sizes of the diamond are not totally straight, the ring just won't look right.

 

We make a lot of rings like this, and would never accept a job where the client want to supply the small diamonds... simply because we are perfectionists and we want the ring to look right.

 

But that doesn't mean you won't find someone who's a very good jeweler that won't accept the job. Have you measured your diamonds?

Edited by diamondsbylauren
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THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for taking the time to respond. It means so much knowing that there is a forum of complete (yet informed) strangers that are willing to share their knowledge with you.

 

Yes, I do have a jeweler that I am working with, but as a "savvy" shopper, there is a part of me that wants to be informed enough to know if what they are telling me is on the up and up.

 

They never offered to modify the setting though they did show me a catalogue and found one similar in style (they said they could probably cut the carriage off, with the illusion box in tact).

 

I have done some business with them, but only on watch repair so I'm not sure about diamonds and settings. And as denverappraiser said in a previous post (I think! I read so many today) so much about buying diamonds and jewelry is trust in vendors/sellers so I would like to think they are on the up-and-up based on my watch repair, but I've not worked with them for a long time and I don't have that personal repoire with them.

 

I do know the two settings are completely different, I guess I was just know if it was possible to modify the top carriage to accomodate the 5 diamonds versus just the one. Not that I am totally indifferent about the rest of the setting but the most important factor is using the 1 engagement ring diamond I have and the 2 baguettes that accompany it and the Helzberg seemed to have that combination on the condition that I found 2 more baguettes and rounds that match the 2 I have.

 

My problem is not specifying that I guess. I figured the symmetry would come from finding two diamonds and round that match the other two I have and checking with my jeweler. My additional "problem" is that it's hard to find that place when you know you can trust the jeweler and the jeweler knows they can trust you (me) to be honest about what they want w/o expecting you to shortchange them.

 

 

Does that all make sense? I feel that the jeweler and I (I spoke with the actual designer) are still in that stage of trying to figure out if either one of us is being taken for a ride.

 

I will ask them again, but any technical details on whether or not it can even be done (so I am not asking the jeweler something impossible because I'm not trained and don't know if I am asking the impossible) is truly appreciated.

 

You guys are great - thank you, thank you, thank you - Belle et bonne

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Sure, it’s possible. Almost everything is possible if you're willing to work hard enough at it. I think it’s likely to be both less expensive and produce better results to start from scratch and just make what you want though. As with the above, ask your jeweler. That's a major retrofit to do it well.

 

With this sort of thing, the bulk of the money is usually in the labor, not the materials. That's why I keep pointing you back at the jeweler. That's who is providing the labor. Presumably, the reason you want to supply some of the materials is to keep the price down but you may be undermining your own objectives by increasing the labor.

 

Neil

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Sure, it’s possible. Almost everything is possible if you're willing to work hard enough at it. I think it’s likely to be both less expensive and produce better results to start from scratch and just make what you want though. As with the above, ask your jeweler. That's a major retrofit.

 

With this sort of thing, the bulk of the money is usually in the labor, not the materials. That's why I keep pointing you back at the jeweler. That's who is providing the labor. Presumably, the reason you want to supply some of the materials is to keep the price down but you may be undermining your own objectives by increasing the labor.

 

Neil

 

 

I will talk to the jeweler when we meet again this week. I guess I'm just trying to research and have an idea of what goes into a request like this, what my options are given my lack of large budget. My assumption was that it would be more cost effective modifying a ready-made setting, though it seems it may not be.

 

I want to use my own stones because they are my stones from my wedding ring as well as gifts that I have that I don't use. One of the pair of earrings I have are set with 40 small rounds. Great earrings, but they are not my style and I'll never wear them, so it seems a waste to not use them and have them just sitting there where they will never be used.

 

Saying we start from scratch, do you have an idea of what a rough estimate might be? Anything would be helpful.

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If you want to shop the jeweler to see if their prices and advice are good, you need to move from the theoretical to the actual with both them and their competitors. What you describe can be a job ranging from a few hundred to a many thousands of dollars depending on details you haven’t provided. Here’s how to do it:

 

First, visit and chat with your jeweler with all of your pieces in hand. Get a specific offer of what they can do and what they will charge you to do it. If it’s too high, ask them for advice on how they can do it differently to make it less expensive. Listen to what they tell you, ask questions and take notes. The objective is to get to where you fully understand the issues at hand. Don’t stop at the price, make sure you understand what job they will be doing, how they plan to do it and why one thing is more expensive than another even though they may look similar to you. A lot of this process is about educating yourself. Then you do it again somewhere else, again listening carefully to what they tell you. If you find something that they say that disagrees importantly, take not of this and make sure you understand what each one is saying. If the difference is profound and incompatible, go back to the first store and discuss it with them. Someone is lying and you need to decide who it is so you can throw your business some other way. What you’re doing is shopping for a jeweler, not shopping for a ring. When you choose your jeweler, you’re 90% done. Tell them what you want, tell them your budget and let them do their job. If they can’t make what you want within your budget, ask them for advice on how to modify the design requirements so they’ll work out and then take it. They may be able to use commercial components that’ll save you money and they surely have better access to them than you do or they may be able to use other techniques that are less time consuming for the jeweler. You may end up with something completely different. Buying components on ebay and taking them in to be reworked is, in my experience, almost never the correct solution.

 

Neil

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If you want to shop the jeweler to see if their prices and advice are good, you need to move from the theoretical to the actual with both them and their competitors...Tell them what you want, tell them your budget and let them do their job. If they can’t make what you want within your budget, ask them for advice on how to modify the design requirements so they’ll work out and then take it.

 

Neil - thank you for taking the time to write all that out. I appreciate it. I will go in and talk to the jeweler and a couple of their competitors and go from there. :rolleyes:

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I disagree with Neil's advice, although I know it is given with the best of intentions.

 

If you want a fine piece of workmanship, and you're going to ask the artisan such detailed questions, you will eliminate the best ones.

That is to say, the finest jewelers are not going to allow allow you to micromanage their business.

 

For example, from my experience, the best jewelers will give a price for a job. The best jewelers are not going to be inexpensive, just the opposite. If after getting their price, you start to question it, the results are not likely be pretty.

 

Sure, there are jewelers that will have this conversation with you-, and maybe even some really good ones. But I think many of the finest ones will not even go past quoting the price. This won't help you if you want the cheapest ring.

If you want the best ring, you may preclude yourself from getting it by asking these questions.

Again, I can't speak for everyone... but we work with some extremely fine artisans. Questioning their price might be viewed, in many cases, as the same as questioning their integrity, and the quality of their work.

Edited by diamondsbylauren
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David,

 

Attacking their price is not what I suggested and I agree that you need to be careful about not insulting people but telling a jeweler that the plan is beyond your budget and asking for advice on how to bring it down is hardly the same as beating them up on price. Perhaps they will suggest using fewer stones in the pave. Perhaps they'll suggest casting it from a CAD design instead of fabricating the piece. Perhaps they can make it out of 14k instead of platinum. There are quite a few options that will significantly affect the price and I don't think it's micromanaging to discuss these things.

 

I agree wholeheartedly that the best craftsmen are generally not the least expensive but then not everyone is looking for the best craftsman and most people don't understand the tradeoffs. This decision can only come from the customer clearly communicating what they want and the jeweler clearly communicating what they have to offer. Maybe there’s a fit and maybe there’s not, but the jeweler shouldn’t take this sort of questioning as an attack or as a criticism of either their pricing or their work.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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If you want a fine piece of workmanship, and you're going to ask the artisan such detailed questions, you will eliminate the best ones.

That is to say, the finest jewelers are not going to allow allow you to micromanage their business....we work with some extremely fine artisans. Questioning their price might be viewed, in many cases, as the same as questioning their integrity, and the quality of their work.

 

I think I understand what you are saying. We live in a world where we all want quick, fast and cheap BUT make it look expensive, and so I can see how many artisans would be discouraged and at times frustrated/offended by well-meaning customer requests such as this. Since I am someone who likes to know how things work (both because it's interesting and so I know for myself and am less likely to be taken advantage of) and what may seem innocent questions to me, could be perceived as questioning an expert.

 

In this case I want good quality not necessarily artistry where I am paying for the artist's creativity in designing a one-of-a-kind piece. Given that I would assume some jewelers who view themselves more as artisans aren't going to want to make a copy of a Helzberg, much like a Picasso wouldn't want to make an exact replica of a Monet.

 

It's not just about money. Helzberg is affordable. The ring in question is just $1200, but then it wouldn't have my stones, the ones given to me by loved ones through the years and ones that are surely better in quality than what I would get at Helzberg. I love the look of cushion cut diamonds in vintage/antique settings but can't afford to buy a larger stone even as my husband and I wanted to keep our original stones out of sentimentality. I just love the "cushion" affect the cluster of diamonds in the center gives and it seemed to be the perfect fit combing the look I wanted with the stones I had. I guess I could have an artisan create a whole new look with my stones, but I like this look.

 

I guess bottom line I'm looking for a craftsman that can make a ring that uses the center stone arrangement/pattern from Helzberg with my stones. I was hoping we might be able to modify a semi-mount as the band settings weren't as important to me; kind of "oh, and I have 40 same size round cut diamonds and 10 other similar sized rounds that we can use to achieve this type of look - do you think you can use those as well?"

 

My initial response from the jeweler was that he could probably fit my main enagagment stone (which is about .35 carats) with the original illusion box right into the space of several semi-mounts he had in a catalog. He measured some of the smaller rounds I brought in and said he could order the mount empty and use them as well. Since he didn't even mention the pattern of the Helzberg center and I was a little unsure of surroundings and "right to ask" such a thing, I didn't. In hindsight I probably should have and I will next time I go in.

 

Wow - you guys have really been a lot of help. I feel like Neil has given me the confidence to not be afraid to ask lots of questions to look for the right fit in a jeweler. From Lauren I've learned that some jewelers are more artistic in their work and may take offense at asking so many detailed questions, which in my case and for what I am trying to achieve, means they would probably not be the person I need to work with for the ring.

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Wow - you guys have really been a lot of help. I feel like Neil has given me the confidence to not be afraid to ask lots of questions to look for the right fit in a jeweler. From Lauren I've learned that some jewelers are more artistic in their work and may take offense at asking so many detailed questions, which in my case and for what I am trying to achieve, means they would probably not be the person I need to work with for the ring.

 

Yeah, well DAVID at "DiamondsbyLauren". Sorry about that! :rolleyes:

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No problem bonnebelle!

A lot of folks call me Lauren at first.

 

In terms of someone copying the design, I don't think that a good jeweler would be insulted if you ask them to do that.

Providing a picture of what you're looking for, really is going to make it easier to get a custom-made ring that looks like what you have in your mind.

 

The center stone arrangement is kind of unusual on the Helzberg ring. I would imagine straight baguettes would work better than tapered baguettes in this application.

 

Have you seen this jeweler's work, something similar?

There's a lot involved in making a ring like this, even if whoever you commission to do this can find a commercial casting that would work.

You need to have a good casting, the diamonds need to be set properly, the polishing has to be done correctly... among other things, these are the main aspects you need to look at

I agree that the Helzberg ring is extremely affordable. If you've seen one and like it it, and have a budget in mind, that might be a reasonable idea.

 

 

 

Neil, you know, I have a lot of respect for you.

I never meant to imply that your advice was to insult anyone.

My intent was not to discourage consumers from asking questions. They need to ask as many questions as they have, to feel that comfortable making this purchase. And the people providing the services should answer the questions in a forthright manner. You are 100% correct about that.

I suppose as someone who works with setters, polishers, casters, and bench people every day, my opinions are heavily biased because of that.

 

By all means, if you're buying this ring from somebody ask any questions you need to feel comfortable about having the ring made.

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As David said, ask any questions that you want.. Let us know what you want the final piece to look like.. But I draw the line at having people tell us how to get there :)

 

Nothing more discouraging than a customer saying, all you need to do is "this".. It never ends well.. :rolleyes:

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