Every year the GCDC holds a competition which promotes the work of dedicated and supremely talented craftsmen and designers in the jewellery industry. This year I am honoured to say that I personally know one of the winners! Congratulations to fellow classmate and unbelievably talented designer Hang Yeung (aka Kylie Apricot, Designer maker at Dew Drop Jewellery) in the category of Jewellery Design (sponsored by Marcia Lanyon).
STEP 4. 3D Printing has revolutionised the world of jewellery. Once a design has been 'built' in 3D using a CAD programme like Matrix, it can be sent to a printer which will print it in wax. These printers use an additive process which creates layers of wax, one by one, according to the specifications of your design. Below is an image of my piece printed in wax.
As this is my first blog post, I felt it would be fitting to go through a commission from start to finish. A lot of people ask me about this process and how it works. So readers, here it is, from original idea to finished piece!
STEP 1. A customer recently approached me with the diamond from her mother's engagement ring. She wasn't too keen on the band and wanted to repurpose the stone into a fresh, updated and more personal design.
STEP 2. Then came the hardest part... deciding on what to make. Often customers aren't really sure. Others are too sure and find it hard to accept limitations. This process is definitely the greatest challenge of bespoke/commission based work - but luckily it's the part I like best! Over several cups of tea and tables covered in books, we came up with an idea that we were both happy with.
STEP 3. CAD. As I have recently completed my training in 3D CAD design I wanted to push my skills to the limit. The final design we chose is made up entirely of organic forms and depicts Eve and the Serpent from the Garden of Eden. Both figures wrap around the band and join at the back of the ring with the diamond forming the centre of the piece (as it should!) Although a difficult challenge, after a week or two the design was finished and ready to print!
STEP 5. Once you have your wax model, you can have it cast into metal using a process similar to that of lost wax carving for ancient bronze sculptures. Below is a video which conveys this method (and includes the making of a silicone mould which can be used to cast larger quantities of the same piece).
STEP 6. Your piece is ready to be cleaned up, polished and set.
STEP 7. Deliver to your happy customer!
*Will post a finished picture of the ring when I get it back from the casters.*
Until then, thanks for reading! More blog posts coming soon...