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Custom Jewelry Work: CAD and Cast PSA

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
OKAY... so here is a general note (and I'm thinking I'm going to be cutting and pasting this often) about CAD work and your local jeweler.

Many people new to jewelry do not understand the disparity in the quality and skills of jewelry manufacturers and how much difference it can make in the product they give you. I'd like to explain take this chance to explain it to you from my perspective.

Here's the key: It's art. And you have to think of it as art. You can have a camera and take pictures? But your pictures and the pictures hanging in the Guggenheim are very different, right? Well it's the same thing with making and designing jewelry. Many people get confused think that it's just a matter of the right mechanics... halo, plus shank, plus little stones = same thing each time, from each person who has a CAD set up. It's very hard for people initially to grasp that there is such a disparity between the skills but most importantly the TALENT of the person designing their piece. And with CAD its even worse and more confusing because -- well it's just a computer program right? So they think that if my local guy has the same program and has some casting equipment then why not go with him? They really don't understand that there is artistry in CAD work too, and that a good CAD person is an ARTIST, not a mechanic. It's very frustrating for us because we really have some of the BEST CAD artists making our pieces on this site and when people come on here and they see the designs they think that it's a matter of replication and that anyone with the equipment and software can do it. And it's really not. Do you want someone making your jewelry is the equivalent of someone who just has a camera and takes pics or do you want the person who can take a camera and create art, who has an eye, a talent, something that can't be replicated or taught, but just is?

And that's just the artistry of it. The mechanics themselves are also very important as well. Casting is a great method, when done right, but a little bit of air can turn a casting into swiss cheese and make it fragile. Insufficient supports and balance in a piece can make a piece weak at certain stress points and even during regular wear and tear they can bend and warp. Going too thin on a shank can do that. Finish details and skills are extremely important too. And so are stone setting skills-- especially with colored stones. All of these mechanics and skills come from experience, and experience and skill demand a higher price just as with anything else. Your football team is in the Superbowl and has two quarterbacks to chose from. Do you want them to start to the kid right out of college who may be good or the guy with two Superbowl wins already? Which do you choose? And which one makes more? Of course you go for the experienced guy and of course you pay more for him. Why would you expect then, that with jewelry, that going with the cheapest quote is going to give you the same quality as paying more for better quality. You wear a ring everyday. With every movement it potentially takes damage, so don't you want something that's going to stand up that kind of wear? Of course you do. Well, you have to pay for that. If your local guy is a lot cheaper than one of the proven PS vendor quotes, there is a reason. I don't care what his sales pitch is, there is a reason he is so cheap.

If you want good CAD and CAST work-- work that is beautiful artistically but that also stands the test of time and is worth the time and effort and expense of custom--you really need to go with someone with a proven record of combining artistry and engineering successfully. Because you need both. Without art you end up with something that's as sturdy as a battleship, and just as pretty. Without engineering you end up with something beautiful that is damaged irrevocably through simple daily wear.

But what does a proven record mean? Does it mean a few yelp reviews from people who don't know anything about jewelry? From your friend who thinks her ring is sparkly and has no idea of the quality other than it's brand or lack there of... or worse, who just thinks it's pretty and that's all that matters. Who recommends a jeweler is a very important thing. A lot of our posters have experience with multiple projects, and have seen different examples of the type of work and really take the time to understand good workmanship and appreciate quality. So please understand when we make a recommendation we have nothing to gain, we are just doing this because we are enthusiasts, and we really want you to get the best quality you can for your budget and we'll try to help you. But you have to listen, too. It's a joint effort. :wavey:
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
Here are some helpful thread of previous PSer's CAD processes, if you read them you'll become familiar with the CAD, Wax, Cast process. And also you will be able to compare the CAD rendering to the final product to help you understand how to visualize the final product from the CAD.

Here are two of mine:

A pendant of mine:
CADs
[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/my-pendant-cads-are-here.114084/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/my-pendant-cads-are-here.114084/[/URL]
Here is the wax:
[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/ps-humor-pendant-wax-neck-and-flower-shots.113675/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/ps-humor-pendant-wax-neck-and-flower-shots.113675/[/URL]
Here is the final:
[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/my-pendant-is-done.114080/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/my-pendant-is-done.114080/[/URL]

Here's a diamond band:
CADs and Wax:
[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/got-cads-of-band-want-opinions.153285/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/got-cads-of-band-want-opinions.153285/[/URL]
Final:
[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/my-bgd-aurora-1-2-eternity-is-ready-and-on-the-way.154113/#post-2803288']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/my-bgd-aurora-1-2-eternity-is-ready-and-on-the-way.154113/#post-2803288[/URL]
Dreamer's pics of the band are much better than mine:
[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/dreamers-new-to-me-aurora-band.166650/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/dreamers-new-to-me-aurora-band.166650/[/URL]


Here's CAD and Wax of a pave halo:
[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/bgd-halo-cads-have-arrived-your-opinions.129172/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/bgd-halo-cads-have-arrived-your-opinions.129172/[/URL]
FINAL:
[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/bgd-halo-er-finished-pics.129803/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/bgd-halo-er-finished-pics.129803/[/URL]

Here's a CAD process thread by Wink:
[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/custom-jewelry-design-process-with-cad-by-wink-jones.173306/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/custom-jewelry-design-process-with-cad-by-wink-jones.173306/[/URL]


Here's a CAD pave halo from JBEG:
[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/just-got-my-kylie-halo-cads-from-jbeg.149768/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/just-got-my-kylie-halo-cads-from-jbeg.149768/[/URL]
Final:
[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/my-ring-is-done-check-out-the-glam-shots-from-jbeg.150196/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/my-ring-is-done-check-out-the-glam-shots-from-jbeg.150196/[/URL]


Here's a CAD from ERD:
[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/your-opinions-on-cad-images-pls-hw-style-halo-by-erd.167266/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/your-opinions-on-cad-images-pls-hw-style-halo-by-erd.167266/[/URL]
Final ring:
[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/my-harry-winston-inspired-rb-halo-from-erd.168484/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/my-harry-winston-inspired-rb-halo-from-erd.168484/[/URL]
 

justginger

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 11, 2009
Messages
3,712
Great post, Gypsy - all very, very true. Having example threads is so helpful. I'll be reviewing them now, as I'm starting a CAD/cast process now, having never been through it before. Thanks. :wavey:
 

Christina...

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 7, 2011
Messages
5,028
Great thread Gypsy, thank you! Have you added this to the helpful threads? It would be nice to be able to easily access it. =)
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
I'm happy it's proving helpful to you Justginger!
Christina, thank you for adding it to helpful threads, I never remember that is there!
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198

alisonia333

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 10, 2012
Messages
216
Gypsy said:

Thanks for such a helpful topic! Also, I had to comment because your pendant reminds me of the pendant of my grandmother's that I dismantled for my ering and future project. I believe it was made sometime in the 1930s, but the diamonds were cut well before that.

Sorry it's a lousy picture, that was the only one I could find.

_2085.jpg
 

sapphirering

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 4, 2011
Messages
244
Great post Gypsy. Thanks for taking the time and effort to do this. I'm a firm believer in you get what you paid for.
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
Oh my goodness, what an amazing piece! Thanks so much for sharing. They are VERY similar aren't they? What's old is new...
 

alisonia333

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 10, 2012
Messages
216
Gypsy|1354142823|3317744 said:
Oh my goodness, what an amazing piece! Thanks so much for sharing. They are VERY similar aren't they? What's old is new...

I'm glad you like it! Yours is like a modern descendant :)
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
5,773
Gypsy|1337837286|3202369 said:
If your local guy is a lot cheaper than one of the proven PS vendor quotes, there is a reason. I don't care what his sales pitch is, there is a reason he is so cheap.

In my experience, price, within a certain range, has relatively little to do with it when you are talking local jewelers. My local guy is reasonably priced (note: not "cheap") and does good quality, but I've been to many, many jewelers whose work is really amateurish who charge big bucks. Like, there was this one who was talking up their pave expertise and they were really expensive, like 10k for the setting, but the pave prongy bits were all blobby and different sizes and the stones were all crooked. Sorry but no. If it's super-cheap it's probably for a reason, but just because it's expensive doesn't mean it's good quality.
 

SB621

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
7,863
Gypsy|1337837286|3202369 said:
But what does a proven record mean? Does it mean a few yelp reviews from people who don't know anything about jewelry? From your friend who thinks her ring is sparkly and has no idea of the quality other than it's brand or lack there of... or worse, who just thinks it's pretty and that's all that matters. Who recommends a jeweler is a very important thing. A lot of our posters have experience with multiple projects, and have seen different examples of the type of work and really take the time to understand good workmanship and appreciate quality. So please understand when we make a recommendation we have nothing to gain, we are just doing this because we are enthusiasts, and we really want you to get the best quality you can for your budget and we'll try to help you. But you have to listen, too. It's a joint effort. :wavey:


Gypsy you seriously rock my world with this post! Took the words right out of my mouth. Sometimes I just want to reach into the computer and throttle the poster and say, "Bad PSer!! Don't do that!" :evil:
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
Distracts, that is unfortunately very true. Sometimes there is no correlation between price and quality although you would think there would be.

Sarah, thank you! I'm glad you found it useful!
 
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