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Fine Jewelry: understanding the details.

The first thing that you immediately notice looking at jewellery are the gemstones but you should also consider the level of craftsmanship involved with the whole construction. This is very important because of the more workmanship, the finer is the jewel.
There are several techniques that you can easily look for and will indicate if a jewel is a high quality.
You should start by turning the ring around so that you are looking at the underneath parts. This is where you can truly see the time and attention that the artisan dedicated to crafting the piece. If the jewel is set with diamond pave, you should check that the hole underneath each small diamond is not round but has been worked by the jeweller into shapes different then round, usually square, hexagonal or half moon. This is called “ajour” in the trade.
 In this picture, you can see two different “ajour” techniques, square and hexagonal, the very high polish of the flat surfaces and the sharpness of the engraving.


This is a clear indication that the jewel was crafted to the highest standards of true fine jewelry. If you see that the holes are round, then you can assume that the level of craftsmanship involved a much less number of hours, which might not make the cut for fine quality.
Another interesting thing to consider is the “softness” of the metal. Making the metal “soft” to the touch is one of the most time consuming thing in the creation of a fine jewel. Countless hours are spent to smoothen, file, polish and buff the metal so that it gets pleasant and comfortable to the wearer. Metal should be polished on all surfaces, even in the most minute inside area which might not necessarily be seen when it is worn.
Run your finger along the edges of every surface including the holes to see if you perceive these impressions of comfort or not and you do not need to be a professional to have a very good idea if you are handling a fine piece of jewelry or not.

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