‘In the day’, as they say, jewelers were craftspeople who took precious metal and formed it with molds, saws, files and torches into the piece of jewelry they were asked to create. They would work for months on one piece of jewelry, carefully placing each stone in settings to hold them securely. They would work with thin metal wires to create intricate designs and settings. They needed a very steady hand and good artistic eye.
It is very different today. Due to time and cost constraints, most modern jewelers operate with CAD “computer-aided design” systems to produce a model of the customer’s vision and artist’s sketch and laser welders to help them transform the model into a beautiful piece of fine jewelry.
The procedure of custom design in today’s world would look like this:
1. Customer has an idea for a piece of jewelry she wants;
2. She works with a jewelry designer who puts her ‘vision’ on paper as a simple sketch with dimensions and specifications such as: Ring Size 6 , Center stone preference: round, marquis; Metal type, platinum, gold, silver.
3. The designer transfers the idea to a CAD Program, drawing the design according to the specifications and preferences provided.
4. When the 3D CAD picture is ready, a picture showing how the piece will look, from all sides and top and bottom, will be shown for client approval.
5. Upon approval, the CAD data will be transferred to a Perfactory machine which will produce a 3D plastic prototype from the drawing.
6. This plastic resin prototype will be used to cast the piece in the metal of her choice with “Lost Wax” technology
7. The casting will be hand finished by a jeweler and, if stones are required, they will be set.