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Orchid Friday, January 18, 2013
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    New in our Digital Antique Books Library.....


    How to Make Jewelry by George S. Overton, 1914

    Practical Instructions From A Practical Manufacturing Jeweler. 

    This 1914 book is composed of articles drawn from the Magazine "The
    Manufacturing Jeweler". At 240 pages of eclectic, informative
    articles it is a treasury of jewelers secrets and skillful working
    techniques. Tons and tons of information. This book is a real
    addition to your library: most of it is still essential today. There
    is so much cool information that this review is much longer than
    normal. This book answers many problems that all jewelers have
    today: it is very current in those terms.To give you an idea of the
    vast range of subjects covered here is a listing of the chapters.
    Most were written by Mr. Overton. 

          Designing of Jewelry, Hints on Melting, The Alloying of Gold,
          Formulas for Alloys and Solders, Getting out Plating Stock,
          Wire Drawing and Working, Making of Solders, Solder and the
          Quality Stamp, The Soldering of Parts, Tips on Soldering and
          Stone Setting, Repairing Stone Set Work, Gilding with Electric
          Current, Red Gilding, Resists for Two-Color Work, Acid
          Coloring, Precautions in the Coloring Room, Silver and Its
          Alloys for Jewelry Work, Solutions for Silver Plating, Black
          and Gray Finishes on Silver, Gun Metal Finish, Silver as a
          Base for Black Enamel, Enameling of Jewelry, Enameling of
          Jewelry (Continued), The Melting of Platinum, Working in
          Platinum, Recovery of Gold and Silver from Scrap, Refining
          Polishing Sweeps, Filtration of Washings, Testing for Pure
          Gold, Keeping Track of Gold, Figuring Shop Costs, Reducing
          Labor Costs, Time and Labor Savers, Some Shop Problems, The
          Buying of Stones, Making Pearl Jewelry, Drilling Pearls for
          Stringing (illustrated), Ring Making'n Sizing and Soldering of
          Rings, Chain Making, Making Flower Work, Making a Line of
          Pins, Horseshoe Jewelry, The Maltese Cross in Emblems, Some
          Attractive Novelties, Making Eyeglass Frames, Hints on
          Soldering, Polishing and Burnishing, Practical Hints for
          Working Jewelers 


    A number of specific items from the book are noted here. The
    introduction talks about how the magazine the articles came from was
    threatened with lawsuits for giving away jewelers secrets, protests
    from companies about sharing information. 

    There is an introduction on designing, speaking of the need to
    understand jewelry making before designing. Design instructions and
    exercises are given, techniques for learning design and practicing,
    for jewelry rendering and design. All still good today. 

    A discussion of melting is definitely earthy. I think metallurgy has
    advanced a bit since then, but still very interesting and the fruits
    of generations of knowledge. The alloying and colored gold
    information is good. There are dozens of colored gold alloys
    described in detail. Gold and silver alloys for enameling on are
    extensively detailed. Enameling itself is dealt with in depth in a
    number of places in the book. Gold solder alloys and making are
    covered well, including for colored golds. The only thing we would
    avoid today is using cadmium. Another one is mercury, simply don't
    go there, and hydrofluoric acid, though all the information is
    insightful and historically important to those with a technical

    There is a chapter on making laminate metals with gold soldered onto
    base metals. I have not seen this described before like this. Wire
    making and drawing is fully dealt with. Several unique tricks for
    cutting and making jump rings are addressed. 

    Soldering is described in depth, making fluxes, solder flow
    retardents (one of them the juice of an onion!). Soft soldering is
    described as is repair work with the stones still set and plating in

    There is lots of worthy advice. For instance, in regard to the risk
    of damaging set stones during a repair: "A good axiom to remember is
    that it is always better to talk about a thing two or three times
    before than once afterwards." Electroplating is fully described,
    including how to make the chemicals that you use to make
    electroplating solutions (this, today would need a chemical lab).
    Silver, gold, platinum, iron and other metals are covered. There are
    a number of plating solutions described, 14k, green gold, red gold
    and more. Multi colored resist plated in described. A very good full
    description of gold coloring (depletion gilding) is given, with best
    alloys defined. There is a strong and important chapter on safety
    and ventilation, a plea for improvements for worker health and

    The information is all practical and ensuing from generations of
    working people's empirical experience. Really good stuff. And almost
    all of it true. Testing methods for silver are described and the
    chemical recipes given. Liver of sulfuring and other graying methods
    for silver are addressed. An interesting note is that at that time
    people would bring in their jewelry to have it blackened for
    mourning, which might last years, so blackening jewelry was an
    important skill for the goldsmith. 

    The vagaries of the market are continually addressed, for instance:
    "The point is that you can't nibble at everything; you may have an
    established trade with a few old concerns, but the young blood
    coming along is forced, as a matter of self preservation, to keep
    thoroughly posted on the newest and most up-to-date novelties, so
    the specialist is bound to get in because he will have better goods
    at lower prices." Much like today. 

    Platinum melting and working is described, one of the earliest
    examples I have seen. Platinum clad nickel was a way to stretch the
    material, platinum clad base metal. As well much work was done in
    very thin platinum backed in high carat gold. Platinum at this time
    was $43 an ounce, and it had risen to this in several years from $6
    an ounce. 

    The chapter on reclaiming metal and refining is solid, even covering
    reclamation from polishing sweeps and waste-water. Metals testing is
    covered. Metal control and anti-theft information remains good
    today. Product development, costing and marketing are described.
    Labor cost reduction is analyzed, all the principles are still good
    and wise. The rise of specialization, and mass production techniques
    is detailed. The introduction of vacuum cleaners is heralded. 

    There is a long section on responses to reader's letters and
    questions which covers all sorts of odd techniques. There is a lot
    of information about running a business, dealing with stones etc. 

    The section on pearl setting and drilling is interesting and points
    out how much we use our flexible shafts today: the emphasis is on
    pump drills, (which I learned on) and making the bits yourself.
    Pearl drilling pliers are described. 

    There is a section on making flower designs in metal. Good section
    on pearls. A really interesting section on eyeglasses and design
    issues for that, today a well paying niche market. I have not seen
    other books address this information. There is a section on bench
    tricks, and interesting ways of goldsmithing. The section on
    polishing is great, thorough and unique. 

    There is a thorough index. All jewelers should read and review it. 

    File Size: 12.6MB, 240 Pages

    Download the full eBook at the ridiculous price of $5.

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