It is true what they say, boys definitely do love their toys. Except at George Press our favorite team of jewelers aren’t exactly talking about motorcycles and classic cars. Instead, they boast about their favorite tools that help them create and care for your most beloved pieces of jewelry.
George Press, owner of George Press Jewelers and Master Jeweler, lovingly adores his precious metals analyzer. “We have had the XRF for about five or six years now, and it has made a huge difference for us time and efficiency wise, which our customers really appreciate.”
The X-ray fluorescence (XRF) machine applies heat to pieces of jewelry in order to identify what precious metals are in it, such as gold, cobalt and platinum. This information helps George and his team ensure that they are using the proper materials when doing various jewelry repairs.
“This program can be used for a variety of things. In fact, some companies use it to identify lead paint. For us, we need to know the elements of what we are working with. If a pair of earrings is part zinc, or cobalt, or gold, we need to know. If not, we would not get as good of a weld, which is really important,” George explains.
In the past George would have to use a piece of slate with special solutions to identify what karats a piece of gold might be – if any. And a magnet to see if it contained any cobalt.
“My fingertips would be yellow from my ‘investigative work.’ I definitely enjoy no longer having that happen! The XRF allows me to tap into my love of the periodic table since that is how each metal is classified versus the metal’s name. If anyone ever says they won’t use what they learned in chemistry class, they will if they decide to become a jeweler!”
Brian Swingle, Jeweler and Watch Specialist, can also appreciate a good weld with his favorite “toy,” the IWELD. This laser welder has revolutionized the way Brian does his work. The traditional method would be to use fire and solder.
“With this machine I can do repairs in seconds that used to take me sometimes up to an hour. It is amazing how much faster it is. It took me about two years to really get good,” Brian said smiling.
The IWELD allows Brian to utilize different settings depending on what type of piece he is working on to ensure the laser is just right. With over 11,000 hours of running time and 1,400,000 laser strikes he has had the ability to create his own custom settings for the smallest and most intricate repairs.
“I really enjoy the fact that I can see the results instantly. It is incredible. I also love using the laser to reach those intricate areas on castings. Bringing a well-worn, or sometimes forgotten piece and bringing it back to its original beauty is really satisfying.”
Richard Bolen, Graduate Gemologist, GIA has taken his design work to the next level thanks to a computer aided design (CAD) program, and a fancy 3D printer. By using the CAD program Richard can bring pieces to life based on conversations with clients, such as engagement rings, wedding bands, bracelets and pendants. The longest he ever worked on a design was 40 hours for an intricate bracelet.
“I have never had to design the same piece twice. Every job really is different,” Richard explained. “Sometimes time can get away from me when I start working on the unique details.”
For some clients, seeing a 3D rendering on the computer is enough. But for others, it is better for them to see a sample. When that happens the design is sent to the printer. Engagement rings typically take about 10 hours to print.
“By printing the pieces out, clients can get a sense for how strong a design element may or may not be. It allows me to rework a design if need be to ensure we are making the most beautiful piece of jewelry possible.”
In the past not all stores had the capability to house at 3D printer at their shop, making George Press very lucky. With having direct access to one it cuts down on production time, and when a client is waiting on a very important engagement ring to ask a very important question, days can feel like months!
Christian Richart, Graduate Gemologist, GIA, has always had an eye for detail. At George Press he is considered the team’s “gem detective,” so of course his favorite toy would be the microscope. Almost 80% of his gem identification work is done using the microscope alone, however in trickier cases he has also used a polarscope, which measures optic proportions and a refractometer which measures the speed of light through a gem.
“Every gem is different,” Christian says. “By using these tools I can get a close look at all of the inclusions – or the fingerprints of a stone. Some of them are really beautiful such as silks, star- rubies and trigons. It is fun to see.”
A lot of the work that Christian does is appraising various stones that were inherited by customers. When this happens he gets to take a close look at pieces that have been passed down across generations, from all different parts of the world. Most of the time Christian has great and exciting news to share with the owners. But sometimes, not so much. Over the course of his career Christian has been stumped by only a handful of stones that have crossed his desk. And some of the stones he has helped classify have been both very rare…and very large. The biggest gem he worked with was an emerald that ended up being worth 1.5 million dollars!
“At the end of the day, I do not necessarily need an overly fancy microscope. I have one in the back I purchased on Amazon. My skills and knowledge have been the most amazing tool of all.”
George, Brian, Richard and Christian definitely do love their toys. But fortunately for us, it is their love of these toys that ensures George Press Jewelers is always able to create and/or maintain the most beautiful and treasured pieces of jewelry for our clients. It is no wonder so many people visit George Press for jewelry repair!
Do you happen to have a favorite toy at work that helps you hone your craft each day? Well, we just might! In honor of our 39th anniversary – and to celebrate our favorite group of boys and their toys – we have an exclusive celebratory pen.
It is the most multi-functional writing utensil you will ever own. This little guy is a pen, a screwdriver, a Phillips head screwdriver, a stylus, level AND ruler all in one! The next time you come and visit us, please help yourself to one.