How long do you plan on being married? Ever wonder why we see so many beautiful handmade antique jewelry master pieces of the late 19th and early 20th century but seldom the work of the great goldsmiths of the 1950’s, 60’s & 70’s? The answer can be summed up in one word…..HANDMADE! Yep, that’s right. The popular technique of today’s jewelers is casting. Not just the mass produced designs you’d find in malls across America, but even the one of a kind “custom” creations of most working goldsmiths are in fact carved in wax or evolve as a CAD model and then CAST to either gold or platinum. The untold truth of any cast jewelry product is its relatively short service life. A cast ring for example can only be expected to maintain an active wear cycle of 15 to 20 years, with many of the higher production models showing signs of failure in half that time! A skill as rare as his media… The reasons these remarkable estate pieces continue to appear at auction houses and galleries have as much to do with their creators as with the precious materials they are created from. In the days prior to the Second World War and the advent of mass market jewelry, a trip to the jeweler meant a trip to the Goldsmith. There was a time when all jewelry was fabricated from handmade components, not cast, or carved from wax and assembled. This was a time of Master Craftsman who worked intimately with their patrons to design and construct a personal expression of taste and style. These remarkable “Works of Art” endure today in part due to a family’s connection to their treasured heirloom, as to the craft of the fabrication process of true handmade or forged platinum, in the hands of a Master Goldsmith. Unlike a cast item, a genuine handmade platinum and diamond ring will often see a useful life that transcends generations, some 3 to 4 times greater than its cast cousin. Sadly, there remain precious few craftsmen in America today with the skill to design, fabricate and perhaps most importantly, interpret our jewelry dreams into an everlasting reality. Fortunately this story has a happy ending. Living and working among us for nearly 30 years is one of this country’s last practicing Master Goldsmiths. Russ Hollander Master Goldsmith Gallery and Studio Workshop is just such a place where jewelry dreams come true. In our visit to Mr. Hollander’s studio we witnessed his unique ability to draw out that one special sentiment, that veritable “snap-shot” of the “moment between promise and forever” then articulate it in the most precious and durable of materials. “I never build the same ring twice”, “since no two couples are ever alike why should their rings be?” Russ Hollander Master Goldsmith asks. “I suppose for some more casual occasions a generic greeting card will surface, but when it comes to expressing our most intimate feelings of love, passion and commitment only a sonnet will do…” Well, although this humble writer considers herself a good scribe, I’m the first to admit I’m no Shakespeare. Where does a girl go to find a poet these days; let alone one who “writes” in platinum and gold? The answer thank goodness is right in our own backyard. Russ Hollander Master Goldsmith, Gallery & Studio Workshop is located in the heart of Stamford’s historic downtown at 154 Bedford Street. You can reach Mr. Hollander and his staff of dedicated master craftsmen Tuesday thru Saturday at (203) 363-2200. They’ll be delighted to begin work on the family heirloom you can call your own… Russ Hollander Master Goldsmith Inc. Original and always Handmade!