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How Millennials Are Re-defining The Jewelry Industry
Millennials are spending their money on more than just avocado toast. They are stepping out of the box by using different gemstones and metals for engagement rings and other fine jewelry. This is to be expected, since everything they experience in life can be customized to their specific needs and desires. It's no surprise that the fine jewelry industry is incorporating more alternative gemstones and exotic metals into their designs to fulfill the needs of the Millennials.
It’s a common misconception that fine jewelry has ALWAYS been made using only precious metals and natural gemstones. The fact is fine jewelry has been made using common or alternative metals and gems since the 1800’s. Many Art Deco jewelry pieces were crafted using synthetic gemstones and gold overlay.
Today there is renewed interest in working with alternative metals and gems and the reasons aren’t just cost. Because synthetic gems are created in a laboratory controlled environment they are guaranteed to be sustainable and socially responsible. Ferrous metals and alternative materials such as wood and ceramic are much gentler on mother earth and can be fabricated or manipulated just as any precious metal, but the question is, is this really fine jewelry?
I believe the answer is a firm yes. In my view, fine jewelry should be defined as a wearable art design created, assembled and finished by hand with long term durability. By my definition machine made chain is not fine jewelry. It’s simply a more or less valuable chain without the artistic value. Also, in my view, a stainless steel die struck wedding band is fashion jewelry but if we set it with a diamond or synthetic gem it becomes “fine”. The well known Texas jeweler James Avery uses colored gems that are lab grown. Is his work fashion or fine? It’s clear that for the foreseeable future alternative metals and gems will play an important role. We not only accept this but endorse it as yet another way our customers can customize their jewelry.
The modern tradition of diamond engagement rings only began in the late 1940's when De Beers launched their "A Diamond is Forever" marketing campaign. Diamond engagement rings were in high demand. Movie stars and other celebrities draped themselves in diamonds. A diamond's purity and sparkle have now become symbols of the depth of a man's commitment to the woman he loves in practically all corners of the world. However, why stick with the cookie cutter tradition of only using a diamond set in gold or platinum for an engagement ring. Diamonds still signify the celebration of a union and cherished memory, though more cuts make more styles an easy option for diamond lovers. So, we celebrate these changes and the way it will really bring art back into the making of jewelry.
Spotlight on Rodney Rapp
Rodney was born and raised in San Antonio. And, like most jeweler’s, he learned his craft from his father, who owns Rainbow Jewelers Supply. His dad started training Rodney to make jewelry when he was just 10-years old.
Rodney said “If there was something that I wanted, my dad would make me work for it. Let’s say I wanted a new fishing pole, I had to go in, learn and work and that would earn me the fishing pole. I started out by making molds, shooting wax and learning to cast. And now, I’m passing it down to my 9-year old daughter Katylin. She has done her first casting and is now making waxes. When she used the torch, it seemed like it was almost as big as her.”
Rodney says that what he enjoys most about being a jeweler is that every day is different. Some days you could be casting and making molds. Other days you are repairing jewelry, making jewelry or laser engraving.
And now there’s a whole new direction for Rodney. He will be producing custom pieces and a new line for the store. While Medlars has created custom pieces for years, producing original designs for our showcases is a fresh and different approach.
Recently, Chapman brought the idea of creating Mokume-gane jewelry to his jewelers. As luck would have it, Rodney’s dad had been interested in it as well and has books and videos on this ancient Japanese process. Rodney has been studying the technique and perfecting his skill.
Is a Japanese metalworking procedure that produces a mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns. Mokume-gane translates closely to "wood grain metal" or "wood eye metal", describing the way the metal takes on the appearance of natural wood grain.
There’s a lot of banging going on in the back because of Rodney now. As he said, “you get metal together and you fuse them and twist them and shape them and forge them together into patterns. The pattern scheme is endless and each piece is unique. You can get one pattern out of a billet, but once that is used, you must make a new one and it will never really be identical. We heat and hammer the metals, changing their molecular structure. What we end up with is metal that looks like it has a grain. This is truly custom. It’s hand forged and can’t be replicated.
Another Unique Skill Set
Another skill that Rodney has that is hard to find in San Antonio is laser engraving. Most people only think about putting a name and date on a charm or locket, but so many more things can be done. Gun engraving, knife engraving, you can even use it to cut patterns into existing wedding bands. Rodney has a picture of his daughter and himself engraved into his knife. Come see what Rodney is working on today at Medlars.
Click HERE to view up daily metals price indications for the most popular gold and silver coins.
Medlars Guarantees Our Work
At Medlars, we ensure enduring quality and satisfaction.
We guarantee ALL of our work and materials to be free of defect for a period of two years from the date of purchase. We will replace or repair as necessary any defect at our cost. This includes all parts and labor. Our guarantee does not cover damage caused by abuse or accidents.
We guarantee the silver, gold, or platinum purity of our jewelry, our custom design, and our restoration work. We further guarantee our stated weight and quality of the stones we supply.
Added Value Guarantee
Every finished ring (not just a simple solitaire but EVERY ring) purchased at Medlars includes Free Sizing, Free Appraisal for insurance purposes, plus Free lifetime cleaning, maintenance inspections, and polishing. At Medlars your purchase is the beginning of a lifetime of our personal attention and care.
Return and Exchange Policy
- If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your jewelry purchase, you may return it within 30 days of the purchase date for a full refund or exchange (not just a store credit) .
- Custom designed jewelry is not returnable.
- You may trade in your undamaged diamond, purchased from Medlars, for any diamond at least twice the trade-in value of your diamond. The trade-in value is your full original purchase price excluding sales tax and any labor. Colored gems are not eligible for trade in.
Price Protection Guarantee
If within 90 days of your purchase, you find a diamond with the same specifications, graded by the same gemological laboratory, at a lower price in the United States, Medlars will match it and give you 10% of the difference.
Here's how it works:
- Bring in the actual diamond with certification and sales receipt.
- A competitor’s diamond certification must be from the same laboratory . The competing diamond must have the following matching characteristics:
- Shape, weight, color, clarity, diameter, cut grade and fluorescence (if any).
- Sales taxes are not included in the cost comparison.
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