Handmade? Hand Made? Just what does that mean?

Handmade? Hand Made? Just what does that mean?

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I have been receiving a fair amount of email lately as to what I mean when I say that I make handmade jewellery.

Simply put: I make jewellery by hand or directly with my hand controlled tools. The tools that I use are all manual with the exception of my pendant drills and polishing lathe (buffer).

Pendant Drill
Pendant Drill

 

Polishing Lathe - Buffer
Polishing Lathe – Buffer

Everything else is done with the power from my hands exercised through traditional hand tools.The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States has a concise definition of Hand Made, Hand Wrought, Hand Polished, etc. It reads:

 § 23.3 Misuse of the terms “hand-made,” “hand-polished,” etc.

(a) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by implication, that any industry product is hand-made or hand-wrought unless the entire shaping and forming of such product from raw materials and its finishing and decoration were accomplished by hand labor and manually-controlled methods which permit the maker to control and vary the construction, shape, design, and finish of each part of each individual product.

Note to paragraph (a): As used herein, “raw materials” include bulk sheet, strip, wire, and similar items that have not been cut, shaped, or formed into jewelry parts, semi-finished parts, or blanks.

(b) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by implication, that any industry product is hand-forged, hand-engraved, hand-finished, or hand-polished, or has been otherwise hand-processed, unless the operation described was accomplished by hand labor and manually-controlled methods which permit the maker to control and vary the type, amount, and effect of such operation on each part of each individual product.

This means that jewellery may be made using drills, lathes, or other machinery, but it must be guided by the human mind and hand. This precludes the use of punch presses, CNC machinery, and casting, to name but a few of the processes the use of which would make the jewellery not qualify as “handmade”. It is important to note that handmade jewellery can be made out of any material and with a wide variety of techniques. While I predominantly use precious metals, others materials can been used to great effect, witness the work of the late Art Smith.

So there you have it. If it isn’t made by a person’s hands – it isn’t handmade. The level of deception that is found in the jewellery industry is shocking to me but when I tell you that my jewellery is handmade – it is made by hand.

Life is too short to wear department store jewellery!
Life is too short to wear department store jewellery!

One Response

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