Proper Studio Light

Do not get caught in the dark – make certain your shop is well lit. In the jewelry shop, two types of lighting are used.It is best to have a combination of the two in your shop.

  1. Ambient or General Lighting
  2. Task Lighting

Ambient Light

Recessed florescent fixtures are an excellence source of ambient light. Whenever possible these lights should NOT be placed behind where the jeweler sits or stands at a workstation (workbench, sink, polishing machine, etc.). This causes a shadow at the very place you need the light. It is best to place ceiling lights to the sides of workstations. Having two ambient light sources, one on each side of a workstation, causes a cross light pattern eliminating any shadows.

Task Light

Task lighting is any type of light that focuses on a very specific area or task. These range from recessed spotlights and track lights to flexible arm bench lights. Spotlights, either recessed in the ceiling or on tracks, are an excellence source of additional light at the sink, polishing machine, and forming bench.

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A light with a flexible arm is necessary at your workbench. One that attaches to the edge of the bench has an advantage over one with a large weighted base, as it does not take up valuable space on the bench. The flexible arm allows you to lower the light to concentrate on a specific area or move it higher at other times to illuminate a broader area. A flexible arm also gives you the opportunity to control glare. By lowering or tilting the head of the task light, you can avoid having light shine directly into, or reflect back into your eyes.

Halogen light sources have some interesting advantages. They generate a lot of light from a relatively small point source. This allows the fixture to be much smaller and it does not get in the way or block your view. The color balance of halogen is also excellent and it more closely resembles the spectrum of natural sunlight. The disadvantage of Halogen light, however, is the heat generated by them.

Fluorescent light sources remain comparatively cool. The small energy saving mini-fluorescent lamp has the advantage of a small fixture. However, they do not produce as much light. The standard two tube fluorescent task light produces adequate light and remains cool. However, the larger fixture head can be awkward and cumbersome at times.

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Light is a valuable resource enabling us to adequately view the jewelry we are working on. Don’t be caught in the dark! Make certain you have plenty of ambient and task lighting sources in your workshop.

By Bradney W. Simon
© Bench Magazine - 2011
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BENCH Magazine is devoted to the Bench Jeweler in retail jewelry stores and small trade shops.
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