Jewelry Manufacturing – How It’s done
To start a jewelry manufacturing unit it is important to have deep knowledge associated with it. This knowledge is especially important if you’re going to be working with multiple
Companies rather than one studio from start to finish. Understand how the associated costs of jewelry manufacturing are itemized from small jewelry tools to high end jewelry making machines and the precious metal itself.
Following are the steps involved in manufacturing fine jewelry:
Designing a 3D Jewelry Model
After the initial idea and/or sketch are developed, it’s time to start work on the digital model. Using CAD (Computer Aided Design) software, the 3D designer will make a digital render of the jewelry. Nowadays 3D designing software’s are advance in keeping track of the weight of the finished jewelry while designing. While this step is great for you to see the jewelry before committing to full production, keep in mind the 3D model is made for functionality first, not aesthetics, so it might not look as pretty as your finished piece! That being said, you can always request a more detailed render.
3D Wax Printing the Jewelry
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 jewelry production, the jewelry manufacturers use a 3D printing machine to print a wax model made out of resin, which usually doesn’t take more than 1 hour to print an average size ring. 3D printers from Rapidshape are ones with such precision and speed. Another method is making a silicon dye for the mass production and with the help of wax injectors which makes the exact 3D model for the jewelry within a couple of minutes once the silicon mould is ready.
Casting the Wax Model into Metal
In the next step, the jewelry goes through the casting process. At this stage, the piece starts looking more like the jewelry you might see in a store. The wax is melted away in a burnout furnace which creates a cavity inside the flask. The casting machines help pouring the metal of choice in molten form, usually gold, silver, or platinum into the flask. The metal then dries into the shape on the jewelry. This technique is called “lost wax” casting.
Basic Jewelry Assembly
After the jewelry passes through the design and casting stage, the final fabrication can take anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks. At this point the jeweler refines the main structure of the ring, necklace or other piece. The jeweler files down the casting skin to reveal the metal underneath. Although casting transformed the jewelry into fine metal, the jeweler needs to make any aesthetic adjustments like filing and assembling parts with a soldering machine as well as make sure the piece can functionally support gemstones. After the mount is completed, the jewelry is ready for stone setting. If the piece requires enamelling work or additional design, this would take place before setting.
For this step, the diamond setter finally adds the diamonds or other gemstones onto the piece. He 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.
Polishing, Finishing, and Quality Assurance
In the final stage, a polisher works to make sure the metal is polished to perfection so it’s as shiny as possible. Any final additions such as engravings are also applied. Finally, the jewelry is inspected and each detail is analyzed to make sure production was successful.