As producers, jewelry stores and manufacturers are responsible for quality. The creation of fine jewelry is the result of using gemstones of fine quality and employing designers, gemstone buyers, and craftsmen for the purpose of creating comfortable, carefully made jewelry. If standards for the materials or craftsmanship are lowered, the quality of the jewelry will suffer accordingly. The maker’s hallmark that s stamped on jewelry is a guarantee of quality that clearly acknowledges the jewelry store’s or manufacturer’s accountability. The reason for the popularity of so-called “signed pieces” of jewelry lies in the maker’s willingness to assume responsibility for the essential element of product quality. By stamping his signature, the producer shows his commitment to excellence and assures the customer that he stands behind the quality of the piece. The stamp assures, for example, that the producer will not hide the flaws of a diamond under a prong, as mentioned in Chapter1. There is a saying that goes, “In buying jewelry, who you buy from is more important than what you buy.” Because quality is difficult to understand at a glance, and since jewelry is something that is kept for many years after it is purchased, choosing the right seller is an essential step in avoiding mistakes.

The making of gemstone-oriented jewelry requires a familiarity with the possibilities of fabrication and stone setting, along with an ability to conceptualize the beauty of gemstones and the effects of using them in combination. Jewelry may use just a few large gemstones, or it may display the beauty of a coordinated arrangement of small-sized gemstones. Even if genuine precious metals and gemstones are used as components, pieces using metal of low fineness, or gemstones of inferior quality, are not worthy of being called “jewelry.” Jewelry stands on a foundation of three factors - a style that fits in with modern life, gemstones that are genuine and beautiful, and a make that is comfortable to wear.

The purpose of jewelry is for fine pieces to be enjoyed over many years, in contribution to a full and rich life. Jewelry born of a superior concept is precise and subtle, delicate yet exceptionally durable, easy to care for, and able to bring out the maximum beauty of the gemstones. Yet the gemstones must be more than simply beautiful. The conception must also carefully consider the balance of characteristics such as the hardness and durability of the various gemstone types, their appearance and size, and their transparency and brilliance. Wonderful jewelry is a direct result of considering the unique character of each individual gemstone as the piece is being created.

Sapphire and diamond earrings. The outer line is conceptualized to follow the lines of the ear.

When building a house, a superior design concept that addresses the fundamentals will result in a better-designed, more comfortable home. Consideration of basic elements such as the strength of foundation, the functionally of fixtures and appliances, energy efficiency, and climate must be made in order to decide upon details such as the style of roof and the placement of windows. As we have seen in Chapter1, comfortable jewelry is the result of a superior conception that takes into account the overall balance of factors such as the optimum weight of the piece, the number and strength of the prongs, the form of the bezel, the thickness and size of a brooch’s pin, and the arrangement of gemstones. When the conception of a piece of jewelry is superior, the value of the individual gemstones used in that jewelry will also be judged higher. Both gemstone jewelry and houses are meant to last decades or even centuries, making their fundamental planning extremely important. A house that beings to lean after 25 years is not worth its price, even if it costs just one-fourth the price of a house built to last for 100 years. Not only that, but it would also be less comfortable to live in, making the difference in value an even larger one.

Whether a piece of jewelry is made of platinum or gold, its shape is round or square, or the gemstones used are diamonds or citrines – these are all matters of preference. It is the same issue of personal taste as whether a house is made of wood or brick, whether its shape is square or oval, or whether the walls are white or yellow. Such variations are undeniably related to design, but these do not determine superiority or inferiority. White jewelry does not pursue rapidly changing trends, it is important that a piece can be worn by the working woman on the job, while having a make that reflects fashion and class. Whether or not modern lifestyles are considered is a key point in the quality of a conception.