The early 2000's brought more than internet shopping into our hands, it also was the beginning of a wider adoption of computer aided design (CAD). Over the past 10 years, the jewelry industry has made a major shift from creating pieces with wax to modeling them out on a laptop. CAD is an exceptionally difficult program to learn, it literally takes a decade to master which is why most designers use specially trained CAD experts to take their sketches and turn them into CAD files. So how does this work and more importantly, how does a computer file transition into a piece of jewelry? It involves casting and 3D printing.
Let's start with the sketch. This is a design that I introduced a few years ago, my bubblegum ring.
Originally this ring was created with a wax carving, but when I changed the stone size my caster and I decided we needed to use a new mold. So we took this sketch and created this:
The actual CAD has multiple measurements on all sides, but because this design is still in production, it's proprietary information and I've removed it to share. Once the CAD is created, the file is loaded into a 3D printer. The 3D printer prints out the design and that design is cast into metal. Once its cast into metal, we make a mold out of it.
Once this mold is made, we can shoot wax into it as many times as we need to create exact copies of the ring. With the wax, we repeat the casting process and the end result is a metal ring.
While this is a simplified version of what this process looks like, hopefully it gives you an idea of just how much work goes into once piece. For this ring alone, including the CAD, it was about 60 hours. This doesn't include the stone sourcing, cutting, shipping, setting or finishing the piece.
Its all worth it to give my customers a beautiful piece of jewelry. The bubblegum rings are still available and start at $125 for sterling silver, $145 for gold vermeil.
Do you have other questions about jewelry design or the creation process? Feel free to reach out and ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org.