Hand fabricated is a specific term we use to describe pieces that are made with parts of metal produced by forging, cutting, shaping, and soldering pieces through a number of carefully planned steps. Because the piece is assembled from the ground up all interior surfaces are pre finished to a high standard creating a superior look and quality. The metal has all been work hardened as is denser providing a brilliant polish.
Commercial jewellery is mass produced using lost wax casting. With this process metal pieces are produced in wax primarily printed with wax printers and burnt out of a plaster type mould. All the metal is poured in at once with heat and pressure creating hundreds of pieces at once. This technology is quite advanced and in limited cases we would prefer this method. Generally speaking the quality is not the same standard as hand fabricated.
We have a serious problem however with the use of the term "Handmade" to sell mass produced jewellery. True, a mass producer could produce several components and "hand assemble" them. The sanding and polishing could be done with hands. Most stone setting is done with hands. But I Find the term Disingenuous as it serves only to perhaps enhance the sale of a piece. It offers no advantage as to quality. There is no distinction between any pieces produced in this method save design only.
Consider a Calligrapher that hand writes a Book that takes months to produce a single copy with every considered detail and individual nuance. Imagine a printer creates a copy of this book and hand binds the printed pages. If the printer markets the book as a hand made Calligraphy book a great disservice has been done.
Jewellers themselves will argue the merits of both methods of production. This is not necessary however, the consumer must be safely able to discern the nature of the product they are buying because there is an increasingly large gap in the value propostion. Consider basic economic theory of supply and demand that governs the rare natural gemstone market. If a product is able to be mass produced the individual cost of production goes down. Technology creates this phenomenon making complex items increasingly cheaply. More competition creates more production eventually putting downward pressure on quality.
You can therefore see there is a huge price gap between hand fabricated and mass produced with a difference in quality and there is the risk you pay too much for a piece that presents as hand fabricated but is mass produced. The jewellery market is saturated with sellers who resell all manner of pieces marketed in many ways. As tradesperson jewellers we know exactly what we are looking at and provide the best quality outcome for you.
Some of our jewellery lines are produced with casting to enhance production numbers and present you with a competitive price. We don't sacrifice weight or quality for price. The major difference is our experience. I am approaching 60000 hours on a jewellery bench and initmately know many pieces of jewellery having repaired hundreds of thousands. We know what we will and will not sell.