90% of the quality comes from the last 10% of the work.

A brilliant polish is the last and one of the most important steps in finishing a piece of fine jewelry. A high polish dazzles the eye and creates desire. It says, “Look at me, I’m special!”

You would think this is automatic, yet many frequently neglect this step. Obtaining a high polish actually requires a fair amount of work. Truthfully, compromises are often in order. However, the compromises tell you a lot about your jeweler (or say a lot about your jewelry to your customers).

What to Look for in Polished Jewelry Pieces

If you’re creating a piece of jewelry for competition, take the time to finish every detail. The same holds true if your jewel holds very expensive gems. A custom-made jewelry piece costing several thousand dollars deserves attention to every detail.

For less expensive pieces, finishing every little detail can be too time consuming to justify the labor. For example, polishing between every wire may not be worthwhile for a pair of amethysts in basket earring settings. The insides of these wires hardly show, so it makes no difference to the jewelry’s appearance.

Unfortunately, some jewelers…