So what exactly determines whether a product is handmade or not and how does that product differ from its mass-produced counterpart?
The Oxford Dictionary sums it up nicely:
“Handmade – Made by hand, not by machine, and typically therefore of superior quality”
But in an age when technology can do so much and achieve such precision, what are the qualities that handmade products possess that make them of superior quality?
As a designer I need to consider a lot of details before completing a new range: aesthetic, material cost, retail price, time to produce, amongst others. Designers for mass produced jewellery ranges need to consider all of this and more but in much finer detail. Whereas I won’t concern myself with 5 minutes additional production or half a gram of metal, in mass produced jewellery these details are crucial. Designs have to be drawn again and again until they are the lightest they can possibly be and the fastest they can possibly be produced, keeping costs at an absolute minimum. It is inevitable that this will ultimately compromise the quality.
Technology has come up with a way of removing the traditional stone setters’ skills – a huge amount of mass produced jewellery nowadays is cast with the stone in place. Provided the stone can take the heat of the molten metal, it is placed in the wax model and then the metal is cast around them. While this type of setting removes a huge amount of labour the result is nowhere near as accurate as traditional setting.
All of our stone setting is done by expert stone setters who specialise in a modern and progressive form of setting called Micro Pave. This setting, carried out under a microscope typically set to 25x magnification, allows the highest form of precision in stone setting.
Of course these are only a few of the reasons that you should choose handmade jewellery. Supporting local designers, supporting your local economy, owning something that is unique… the list goes on! With a wealth of talent in jewellery design and manufacture in Ireland nowadays there really is no need to look elsewhere.