Lining up the Emeralds
Thursday, November 17, 2011 8:41:33 PM
Emeralds are so delicate that pressure from your finger-nail can break one, especially the smaller ones. There is no such thing as a flawless emerald. That's just how they are.
The ring was brought to me made up and with the square holes already fretted out by the jeweller who made the band. Only problem was, the jeweller had cut all the holes skew. The squares were not square but sort-of-square and not lined up, all at different angles. I thought Oh well, an inexperienced young jeweller or one who just doesn't care. No wonder they can't find anyone else to do this job. I put the ring and emeralds neatly on the bench and left them there for a while to let the job sink into my mind, mulling over it subcociously for a few hours while doing other things. Then I was ready.
I sat down and started carving out the holes to the correct dimensions, dragging them this way and that, all handwork. One works to fractions of a millimeter, then fitting each emerald into its own specific seating, one can begin to mould the gold over the edges of the hole, making it 'travel' till tiny tiny bits of it touch the emeralds top facets. Very gently and one hundred percent equal pressure on all four sides of the stone, but not touching the corners. The corners of the stone have to float inside the gold because they can't take any pressure at all.
Three working days later, I was finished. There were between fifteen and twenty emeralds in the ring, all the way around. The green stones in contrast to the yellow gold is beautiful. Having done the job, I decided to take it back to the client myself. I walked there, just around the block. Then, sitting down at his desk in his office, I took it out of my pocket and gave it to him. He looked at it very closely and from every angle and said "I see you've lined up all the emeralds," I said Yes ! And as I was taking in a breath to start talking about what an extremely difficult job it was to do that, he said "We wanted them all at different angles"
Then after a period of silence between us, he said "but you've done a stunning setting job here, it's really good what you've done," then there was another period of silence and he said "I'm going to show this to my client"
So much for me and my 'superior skills', what I had done in fact was change his design and mess up his job completely. . . I was devastated.
Two days later, he came to visit me at my workshop. Smiling. He told me that his client absolutely loved her new ring. He gave me more work after that and we always spoke with each other personally, instead of sending messengers to and fro.
I still wonder what he said to his client. I never asked. Too embarrased.