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If you’re a first-time jewellery designer trying to navigate the jewellery world, it’s important to understand the jewellery manufacturing process.
After the initial idea and/or sketch is developed, it’s time to start work on the digital model. Using CAD software, the 3D designer will make a digital render of your jewellery. Depending on the complexity of the project and how busy the studio or artist is, this can take anywhere from a day to a week.
That 3D model from the last step wasn’t only for you to see a sample ahead of time; it also serves as the basis for the next step, the wax model. In most modern jewellery production, the manufacturer uses a 3D printing machine (B9 Creations) to print a wax model made out of resin, which usually doesn’t take more than a few hours.
In the next step, the jewellery goes through the casting process. At this stage, your piece starts looking more like the jewellery you might see in a store. The wax is melted away and is replaced with your metal of choice in molten form, usually gold, silver, or platinum. The metal then dries into the shape on your jewellery. This technique is called “lost wax” casting.
After your jewellery passes through the design and casting stage, the final fabrication can take anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks. At this point, the jeweller refines the main structure of your ring, necklace or other pieces. The jeweller files down the casting skin to reveal the metal underneath. Although casting transformed the jewellery into fine metal, the jeweller needs to make any aesthetic adjustments, as well as make sure the piece can functionally support gemstones.
After the mount is completed, the jewellery is ready for stone setting. If the piece requires enameling work or additional design, this would take place before setting.
For this step, the diamond setter finally adds the diamonds or other gemstones onto your piece. They carefully set the central stone into the mount. If side stones are involved, the setter needs to hand drill for these before setting. Using a microscope, they then set each separate stone.