An old time setter from way back

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Hi I began learning the jewelery trade when I was ten years old back in 1957. My Family had been involved in the business since before the depression. It was my Uncle who asked me if I would like to work running errands for his business during the summers and at vacation times. Well as a kid I saw dollar signs in front of me knowing what ever I earned I could spend on stuff.
The errands were all on 47th street in N Y city, the diamond district. It was easy and fun and since I knew how to use the subways to get to work from Brooklyn it gave me independence.
I met many different trades men and of course exchange store owners and dealers. The early meetings with Ptak and Even Leo Ingwer were exciting to me too.
My Uncle was a setter and decided in my non running time, to show me how to set. He called the type of setting I was practicing on, Thread Work. It was simple stuff, just drilling holes in pennies , fitting synthetic rubies or saphires and raising beads with a #51 or 52 graver. It was fun but difficult for me as I had an astigmitism and was hard to see clearly. This was fixed later on with, urg, glasses.
My uncle also showed be how to do prong setting on 2 pts stones using small round burrs to cut the bearings and to relieve the lower part of the bearing.
Cutting a long story short , I started almost full time working , ar 15 because my high school clases finished early enough, to allow me to get into the city to work.
My Uncle was the major setter for "Fabulite" one of the earliest imitation diamonds marketed on a large scale. We became the most requested setters for the synthetics that started to come out. In fact I myself became the top setter that most people were referred to when they wanted a synthetic setter who could deliver an excellant product, be reliable and fast.
I also became one of the actual first setters in the U S A to work with the Cubic Zirconia that at the time the raw boule was coming from Russia. I will continue with more stuff if anyone wants to here about the road I have traveled all these years and also the well know trades men and the famous stars that requested me to do their custom work.

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  1. Elelion's Avatar
    Hope you keep telling it. I grew up learning gold smithing from my grandfather. My father never took to the trade and so it went to me.
    Hope to hear more about the good old days.