FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
(NEWSFLASH! - SEE # 10 BELOW)
1. Can you do the job while I wait?
Sometimes, yes. It depends on the job. If a repair will require the use of the torch (sizing a ring, or soldering a broken chain), the item needs to be thoroughly cleaned first. This may require a long time in the ultrasonic before the work can be done. If, say, you need a charm installed (no solder) it is usually easier to do that while you wait than to have you leave it with me. Tightening a loose gem can sometimes be done while you wait. It depends on why it was loose. If the prong has shifted, but is still sound, I can often attend to that while you wait. Sometimes the gem is loose because the metal has developed a crack which will need to be repaired first.
2. Is white gold the same as platinum?
No. Gold is a soft, heavy yellow metal. When used to make jewelry, it is usually alloyed with other metals to get different colors and working properties. When the right amount of nickle is added, the result is a white looking metal - white gold.
3. What is the difference between 18 karat and 14 karat gold?
Karat is a term used to denote the purity of the gold. Pure gold is called 24 karat, or 999.9 fine. If you alloy 18 parts of gold with 6 parts alloy, you get 18 karat gold. Do the math (18 divided by 24) and you see that it is 75% gold. This is why in Europe 18karat gold is stamped 750. 14 karat is 58% gold, and 10 karat is 41%.
4. How do I know I will get my same diamond back?
There are very few flawless gems out there. Before leaving it with me, we can look at your gem together under the microscope. Usually there will be some distinguishing characteristics that can be noted for you to see again when you come back to pick it up.
5. Can you make the new ring using my gold?
Sometimes, yes. If the desired new piece is to be of the same karat and color as the gold you have to work with, I can cast a flask that includes your metal.
6. What is "Lost Wax" casting?
A three dimensional model of the new piece is carved in wax. This is embedded in plaster, which is then placed in a kiln and heated until the wax melts out, leaving a hollow space in the plaster the same size and shape as the wax model was. This plaster is now the mold into which molten gold is thrown with a centrifuge. In the slide show below, you can see the wax model, the rough casting and the finished jewelry.
7. Do I just stop in, or do I need an appointment?
It is best to phone ahead to be sure that I will be available to work with you when you arrive.
8. You are "The Goldsmith". Do you work on silver?
Yes. I can repair your silver jewelry, or make a new piece in sterling if that is your preference.
9. How long does it take to design and fashion a custom made ring?
It usually takes two weeks from when we agree on the design. That sometimes happens when we first discuss the project. If, for instance, you see a design that you like in the display case and say, "Make me one like that, but with my gold, and a sapphire instead of that ruby", I could have it ready in two weeks.
10. "I heard you are closing. Is that true?
Yes. After nearly 40 years, I will no longer be doing business as
The Goldsmith of Walnut Creek. When my lease runs out at the end of the year, I will be retiring. The last day will be December 31, 2018.