Log In

We have relocated to a new location at Bethesda Row in Bethesda, MD


Register| Forgot Password?

Sign Up for Our Email Newsletter


Handcrafted vs. Handmade Jewelry

Handcrafted Jewelry

Jewelry can be considered handcrafted if at any time in its production process hand labor was employed. In fact almost anything can be called handcrafted. There is no legal definition. Handcrafted jewelry is generally made up of cast or machine made components and hand assembled. In most cases this requires considerable less skill, effort and time.

Handmade Jewelry

To be called handmade the jewelry must be entirely  hand shaped and formed from the raw materials used.  Quite simply in order to be described as handmade the metals must be manipulated by handwork only

Federal Trade Commission definition:

23.3Misuse of the terms “hand-made,” “hand-polished,” etc.

(a) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by implication, that any industry product is hand-made or hand-wrought unless the entire shaping and forming of such product from raw materials and its finishing and decoration were accomplished by hand labor and manually-controlled methods which permit the maker to control and vary the construction, shape, design, and finish of each part of each individual product.

Fake Check Fraud Alert

It has come to our attention that there is a fraudulent situation involving craigslist.

A distant person offers a craigslist seller a genuine-looking (but fake) Pampillonia check ending in XXXXXX5243  to buy an item, or rent an apartment, sight unseen.

The value of the check often far exceeds the item – scammer offers to “trust” you, and asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service

Banks will often cash these fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR, including criminal prosecution in some cases!
scam often involves a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money, etc)

Please contact law enforcement if you are a victim of this scam

Learn More: Over payment scam

Pampillonia Jewelers has had the privilege to be a part of the Baltimore Antique show for over 10 years.  Throughout the years we have displayed our finest antique jewelry among some of the most excellent antique artwork, furniture and just about anything else you can think of.  From Monet and Picasso paintings to timeless timepieces and vintage Channel handbags, the Baltimore Antique has yet to disappoint.


This year was no exception.  Our favorite treasure at the show was a 1930s ivory Chinese carving. The masterpiece was so incredibly detailed five feet wide and almost 30 inches tall.

If you enjoy discovering the most unique and exciting memorabilia from the past, we suggest you mark your calendar for next August, when the Baltimore Antique Show takes place.  Whether you’re intrigued by suits of armor, retro posters or jewelry from every era and price range there will be something there for you.

We always enjoy talking with our regular clients who visit us at the show and meeting new customers… and we also don’t mind looking around at all the incredible pieces at the show that come from far and wide.


estate diamond engagement rings

Purchasing an estate diamond engagement ring can be a great option providing the wearer is comfortable with a ring that has been previously owned.
Estate jewelry offers the style and design of a previous time and may also represent a good value.

Determining the value is based the diamond size and quality as well as the condition and design of the ring. Most diamonds cut more than 10- 20 years were cut to less stringent cut standards then today. These diamonds typically sell for 20-40% less then a diamond cut today standards. Once these factors are fully explained an older cut diamond can be a good alternative.

The ring setting is a very important consideration. If the ring has a lot of wear or damage it will eventually need to be replaced with a new one. There maybe more risk a diamond becoming dislodged or lost. It is important that the setting be thoroughly inspected. Settings in good condition typically sell for 50-60% less then a new one.

A period item such as an Art Deco or Edwardian setting in very good condition is quite rare and sells at a premium.

Before purchasing any estate diamond engagement ring ask questions. What is the cost of the diamond verse the setting? What is the condition and age of the setting? What is the grade and quality of the cut of the diamond?

An estate diamond engagement should only be purchased from a reputable jeweler who specializes in antique and estate jewelry and has the knowledge and expertise to fully explain all your concerns

Handmade Verse CAD/CAM Jewelry

No heat sapphireThere are two basic approaches to creating jewelry; fabrication by hand and machine assisted manufacturing. Machine assistance involves either casting jewelry from a wax model or die striking it from a metal mold. Most machine-made jewelry employs CAD/CAM.

Modeling software CAD (Computer Assisted Design) is used in the design phase and CAM (Computer Assisted Manufacturing) is used in the fabrication

Handmade jewelry must be entirely shaped and formed by hand from the raw materials used. The finishing must also be done by hand labor.

The end product is always different. Computer Aided Design is only as good as the person operating the computer, and that person is rarely a designer or master craftsman. There are limitations as to what a computer can design. It is seldom more than design by cut and paste. It will never replace the eye and the hand of a fine artist/craftsman. Computer-manufacturing will always follow the computers design. This inflexibility often produces a rigid wooden like appearance.

The handmade process allows for the jeweler to adjust the design without restrictions throughout the entire fabrication process. This allows for a more fluid composition. Slight nuances in curvature and shaping give way to a more sumptuous and artistic outcome. A hand polish can be applied at every stage of production making for a more refined finished product.

Cast metals may contain small air bubbles called porosity. This porosity can affect the finish and the durability of jewelry.  Hand-forged metal is denser and stronger than cast jewelry. The dense composition of hand-forged metals eliminates porosity making the finished product smooth and faultless.  A handmade ring will often NOT feature heavy engraving for this very reason.  CAD/CAM jewelry regularly employs heavy engraving to cover up the imperfections associated with porosity.

The CAD/CAM process and can be less expensive. It can be mass- produced over and over again. Handmade jewelry is more labor intensive. Jewelry made by hand by a master jeweler is an individual work of art.

About Auctions

A seller will receive more money for their jewelry from a reputable jeweler with an established clientele than at auction.   This is because auction houses charge a 25-35% premium of the final  selling price paid, plus expenses.

We recently were interested in buying a bracelet for $30,000. The bracelet sold for $27,000 at auction. The final cost to the purchaser, including the buyer’s premium of 19.5% fee, was $32,265.  The seller received  $22,950 after the 15% seller’s premium was subtracted out. Had the seller sold directly to Pampillonia they would of received over $7,000 more or an additional 30%.

Always consider obtaining an immediate offer for your jewelry from a retail jeweler. An auction house will set a minimum value or a reserve for your item. That amount might be far less then the item is worth. Auction houses do this to attract potential buyers. There is however, substantial risk. Your item could sell at a final price close to the reserve and you would receive a significantly lower amount than you were expecting.

In most cases selling directly to an established jeweler is your best course of action.  You will always receive substantially more for your jewelry then an action house can guarantee.

Is it ok to use an engagement ring from a previous relationship ?

Last week a young man came in the store and showed me a very nice diamond ring he purchased from another jeweler for his previous engagement. The ring had been a sizable investment and he didn’t really want to spend much more. I informed him we could either purchase the diamond outright or give him an allowance towards another diamond.

His question: ” Can’t I just reuse this ring?”

It’s a question I’m asked from time to time. The best advice I can give is to discuss it with your future fiancée. It may make economic sense to reuse it, but this can be an emotional issues. A good option might be to use the previously purchased diamond but select an entirely new setting, which was made just for her.

Pampillonia Jewelers can always custom design a ring for your diamond.

Pampillonia Yellow Diamonds

At Pampillonia we have treasured fancy colored yellow diamonds for generations. The true beauty of a yellow diamond is determined by it color. A distinctive scintillating yellow, that is fully saturated, and uncommonly beautiful. Only a small percentage of yellow diamonds meet our exacting standards of excellence. Hand crafted into unique designs a natural yellow diamond from Pampillonia will be treasured a lifetime.

First Post

For more than five generations, the Pampillonia family has been synonymous with fine jewelry and master craftsmanship. As jeweler to King Victor Emmanuel of Italy, Pampillonia gained a reputation for providing the highest level of personal service while using only the finest materials to create jewelry of unparalleled beauty, taste and style.

sealCreators of fine jewelry in the heart of Bethesda—serving the Washington D.C. area.  Specializing in custom-designed, handmade jewelry,  diamond engagement rings, vintage and contemporary estate designer jewelry.

Call 202-363-6305 or visit us at Bethesda Row, 7114 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda, MD
Validated Parking | Elm Street Garage

We Purchase Jewelry

Sell your jewelry to knowledgeable professional  buyers who specialize in fine estate and vintage jewelry, diamonds and contemporary designs. No appointment is ever needed, and there is never any pressure to sell.  Learn More…