Jewellery design - Great Expectations


25 years ago when I started designing jewellery, ideas and design ideas were hand drawn. Mostly this was 'back of a fag packet' type stuff. However good the artist, there was normally a difference between the drawing and the completed piece.

Presenting the finished jewellery was a nerve-wracking affair. The jewellery frequently looked nothing like the image. Often to the discontent of the client.

The main problem was translating 1-dimensional images into 3-dimensional physical jewellery. Too much was left to chance.

Early versions of CAD imagery meant a massive step forward. It gave the salesperson confidence; the client was impressed with the images and they could understand the design easily. Most importantly, very little was left to chance for the jeweller actually making the piece.

Fast forward to now and current CAD/CAM technology is superb. There are still some jewellers who offer an artists drawing of a design, as if this quaint way of working is still relevant. It isn't. CAD is the best way to design and create outstanding jewellery.

Everything about CAD, where bespoke jewellery, is concerned has been positive.

Well, almost everything.

Perhaps the only 'challenge' I can think of is just how good CAD imagery is. It is flawless. Unlike perhaps a diamond, or an actual piece of jewellery.

The images at the top of this page are of a ring design I recently created for a client. It is an extraordinarily unique ring by any measure. Bold in it's colouring and gemstones. When the client said 'Yes, I love the design' I couldn't wait to get started.

I took a video of the completed ring before I presented it to my client.

As a design project, it presented many challenges. It was a complicated design with enormous detail and technical manufacturing issues. This is where experience and knowledge were crucial in translating the tricky CAD design into a beautiful piece of wearable jewellery.

CAD has meant there are no get-outs for jewellers. Client expectation is higher than ever because every aspect of the design can be clearly seen in the CAD image. This means the attention to detail in the manufacture has to be perfect. There is no room for sloppy or lazy.

The client expects the jewellery to look perfect, just like the CAD image.

In my opinion this is a good thing. Challenging yes, but it means standards have to raise.

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