In the early days of jewelry making, designers would sit down with paper and pencil to sketch out a design, drawing and re-drawing until it was perfect. The drawing not only had to capture the beautiful design, but it also had to be completely accurate so it could be used in the process of hand-making the jewelry. If the designer wanted to create a slight variation on their original design, they would have to start the process over and create a new model from scratch.
Today, thanks to cutting-edge design technology, things are very different. CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer aided-manufacturing) are tools that generate traditional technical drawings on a computer and then manufacture the items designed on those computers. CAD creates three-dimensional models that allow designers to examine intricate designs up close from any angle, rotate and manipulate models onscreen just like a physical model, and even “weigh” the item before it’s constructed. CAM uses computer software and machinery to manufacture the products designed by CAD models.
What does all that have to do with jewelry design? A lot, it turns out. Here are some of the key benefits of using CAD/CAM systems in jewelry design.
- CAD technology helps create designs that are both precise and complex — many of which would be almost impossible to do by hand.
- With CAD, we can design pieces specifically for certain gem sizes, which helps increase accuracy, decrease errors, reduce production time and minimize the cost and waste of materials. In many cases, it minimizes the time taken up by trial and error and speeds up each step of the process.
- If you aren’t happy with the way a piece of jewelry is progressing in the design stage, alterations and modifications can easily be made before the design is carried out. In the same vein, CAD allows us to see realistic images of virtual jewelry in its finished state before execution, making sure we get it just right.
- It also gets you involved in the design process in a much more intimate way, which translates to a higher degree of personal expression in the custom-designed finished piece.
- If your specially designed piece of jewelry happened to be lost or stolen, it can easily be recreated with your saved CAD file.
To explore the possibilities of designing your own jewelry via CAD/CAM with us, visit Eiseman Jewels at NorthPark Center in Dallas.