Professional Jeweler Archive: Book It!

March 2000

Precious Metals & Bench/News

Book It!

Three new books help working jewelers increase their creativity, profitability and safety

Whether it’s studying the details of a piece of designer jewelry, working out systems to increase profits in the shop or strengthening safety procedures, jewelers with a significant bench will welcome three new books written just for them.

Creativity: The Art of Jewelry Making

Alan Revere’s new book, The Art of Jewelry Making, showcases the work of 25 jewelry designers. Some are well-known commercial jewelers; others are educators and craftspeople better known in metalsmithing circles. Revere carefully explains the steps each took to design a single piece from his or her collection, often a signature piece. Revere, a teacher who directs the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco, CA, spent many years as a designer himself, so his descriptions bear the mark of an artist as well as an educator.

Before examining each designer, Revere reviews the tools jewelers need to create works of art. This text and simple photos by Barry Blau create a visual dictionary for the bench jeweler or designer. Revere follows this with a section of concise definitions of various procedures working jewelers use.

Next, Revere introduces each jewelry artist in page-long biographical sketches showing the often circuitous paths they took to their craft. The sketches offer encouragement to beginning jewelers who worry their backgrounds may not have prepared them for their jobs – the author shows diverse experiences and interests are definite pluses for the jewelry artist.

Each biography is followed by a photo of a piece by that artist. Revere describes the piece then lists the materials and measurements. Illustrator George McLean sketches each component of the finished design. Step-by-step directions follow, along with advice to make the job easier.

Revere makes it clear each artist owns the copyright to his or her design and says jewelers may experiment with them but cannot reproduce them commercially. The idea is to get inside the creative minds of the jewelers profiled: Abrasha, Robert Grey Kaylor, Tami Dean, Sam Brown, David Clarkson, Jeff Georgantes, Ira Sherman, Richard Messina, Michael Sugarman, Dee Fontans, Etienne Perret, Marianne Hunter, Tim McCreight, Don Friedlich, Jaclyn Davidson, Thomas Herman, Charles Lewton-Brain, Loes van Riel, Neal Pollack, Paul Robilotti, Robert Pfuelb, Michael Good, Jan Maddox, Patrick Murphy and Ross Coppelman.

Profitability: Run Your Shop Without It Running You

Bradney W. Simon, a JA® Certified Master Bench Jeweler, wrote Run Your Shop Without It Running You to help shop managers institute procedures that reduce waste, increase productivity and make the working shop an asset to any jewelry store.

For too many years, Simon says, jewelry store owners have believed the fallacy the shop can’t be a profit center. He destroys that notion step-by-step with a practical book that shows owners and shop managers the keys to profitability.

Simon begins by explaining why owners can no longer afford to have an unprofitable shop, then shows how to determine profitability. He points out bookkeeping might be the first problem – many jewelers don’t take into account the actual cost of bench jobs they give away free with purchases. He also shows how the shrewd acquisition of better tools and equipment can increase productivity.

A chapter on fees shows how to better estimate the true cost of repairs and how to factor in profit. Market research is a key strategy so the jeweler knows what the traffic will bear. Worksheets help jewelers with calculations.

Simon also shows how better take-in procedures can increase profitability and enhance the store’s image as a professional jeweler. He includes a chapter on how time is spent in the shop, as well as a chapter on better organization of the work flow and work floor. Managing a shop’s waste is the subject of another chapter. Simon also offers practical tips on motivating workers.

Simon, who spent many years as a shop manager and bench jeweler before opening his own business, has won design awards for his jewelry. He also is a frequent speaker at jewelry industry events and presents seminars based on the concepts in his book.

  • How to Run Your Shop Without It Running You, B.W. Simon, Spartanburg, SC; (864) 598-5274, Cost, $39.95.

Safety: The Jewelry Workshop Safety Report

Charles Lewton-Brain is a popular educator and jewelry designer who runs the Web site, which has more than 500 pages of text and graphics on jewelry and metals techniques, gemology, public relations, sources and critical thought for working jewelers. He and his wife, jewelry designer Dee Fontans, also run the Lewton-Brain/Fontans Centre for Jewellery Studies in Calgary, Canada. He founded Brain Press, the publisher of his new book, The Jewelry Workshop Safety Report. The book grew out of a lecture Lewton-Brain gave at a Society of North American Goldsmiths conference in 1998.

This comprehensive book on safety was written from the viewpoint of the working jeweler, says the author, so it reads in a familiar, comfortable tone that acknowledges the realities of the working shop. Lewton-Brain is careful to note he is not a trained occupational health and safety expert, however, and advises jewelers to do research to supplement the information he provides in the book.

The book begins with an overview of the biggest issues in workshop safety, with specific sections covering all major risks that jewelers face and tips for prevention. He covers the obvious hazards and also talks about less-obvious ones, including ergonomic problems and repetition injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Lewton-Brain discusses various metals jewelers use, as well as materials used in working with metal. He includes sections on jewelry processes using heat, chemicals and other techniques, and then conducts a shop tour, discussing how to use tools safely. Finally, he describes the safe way to perform various procedures jewelers commonly practice in their work, from alloying to welding and everything in between. Appendices, model documents (such as an accident report) and checklists for problem-solving and safety maintenance round out the report.

  • The Jewelry Workshop Safety Report, Brain Press, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; (403) 263-3955, Cost, $34.95.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications