Monday, April 12, 2010

GS: Sometimes CAD is the only way to go...

Every once in a while I have a client that has a VERY tall order for their ring design and not quite the budget to back it up. Normally it's a detail orientated individual that has gone ring shopping, has photos from multiple rings in which they like part of one and something else from another, and even has their own sketches or computer renderings of what they are expecting their final piece to look like. And when I have a client that fits the bill, it is best to just go ahead and make a CAD (computer aided design.)

I work along with a fabulous designer when it comes to building a piece of jewelry with CAD. This is because I am a traditional jeweler and I haven't been trained in CAD (or not since I studied Industrial Design at Mass Art back in 1999.) I do know I will probably have to learn at some point, to keep up with the industry, but for now I will just keep getting dirty doing what I do best and leave the CADs up to the professionals.

The client for this antique style engagement ring had a very specific list of requirements for this piece (which made this process quite simple.) We needed the following:

-1.5mm melee diamonds surround the center 1.5mm cushion cut diamond
-2 rows of 1.5mm melee diamonds half way down the ring shank
-bezel for the center diamond
-a Celtic pattern to match her husbands previously purchased wedding band
-small milgrain around the bezel and the bead set stones
-matching eternity wedding band
-the center diamond set as low as possible
-14K white gold

The client purchased her own center 1.5 ct cushion cut diamond. One of the main things when making a CAD for a cushion cut diamond you need to be able to trace the shape of the stone into the program to get the exact shape for the bezel. So, I scanned in the diamond and sent it off to my CAD colleague.

Then I sent her the photos, along with all of my sketches and specs, and she went ahead to design it on the computer. And after going back and forth, we email computer renderings to the client for their approval.

And after everything has been approved the CAD file gets sent of to the caster where they mill the wax and cast it in the designated metal.

From there the casting gets cleaned and the stones get set. Then, to finish, we always do a little work to attempt to take the diminish the appearance of the piece being a CAD. The Celtic pattern was cleaned up with hand engraving, very fine milgrain (the fine little beads you see in the bezel and along all of the diamonds) was added, etc.

And this is the final product...

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