Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Making Jewelry

I thought it might be good to start by examining what I do and how I do it.  A large part of what I do is work with clients to create custom jewelry. Engagement rings and wedding bands make a big portion of my business and the process is really fun. 

Step One: A nervous guy gets in touch because a friend of a friend recommends SL jewelry.
Step Two: We work together to try to determine the special lady's likes and dislikes. 
Step Three: We look for a stone.  This can be a challenge.  Most people who are unrelated to the jewelry industry are completely baffled when it comes to diamonds.  An engagement ring may be the first time they have ever purchased a stone.  MY JOB- A Crash Course in the Four C's.  Ultimately, by balancing the four we are able to find a beautiful stone that fits within the budget.  
Step Four:  I create a number of rough sketches based on our conversation and then create a photo rendering of the design using computer aided design or CAD.  
I included a rendered design from a recent project below.

Step Five: A prototyping machine will carve a wax from the computer file we designed.  When we get the wax back it looks like this.  I can check the ring size and the fit of the diamond to be sure it is correct.
Step Six:  The ring is cast through a process call lost wax casting.  A plaster mold is made of the ring. The mold is place in an 'oven' where the wax melts out leaving a cavity that is the exact shape and detail of the design.
Step Seven: The gold, silver, platinum or metal of choice is heated and poured into the mold.
Step Eight: When we remove the plaster we have a rough casting.  This casting still needs to be cleaned, polished and set.  The diamonds are set using a series of techniques and a final polish is put on the piece.
Step Nine: We have a final product, which is photographed and delivered to a happy client!

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