Jewellery Industry Exposé
I have some fond memories of the Jewellery industry from a young age. I would race through Toronto's streets, visiting various Jewellers and Goldsmiths, completing my father's errands. Some were Diamond setters, some were Gemstone and Diamond dealers, but all of them had one thing in common: an absolute passion for jewellery.
This passion translated differently. I would see some wildly curious, constantly testing revolutionary machinery, while others felt the confidence of the traditional, hand-crafted process. None of them were wrong, but they never expected so much change in the future, either.
The jewellery industry was never built on technology or any complicated systems; the industry was framed around art, the genuine beauty behind a Goldsmith's time and dedication to their work. A Goldsmith would prepare a piece, from start to finish, using their hands, hand-held tools and very traditional methods. It was only the large corporations and more prominent brands that would invest in the large machinery. Neither approach was wrong.
Many years later, as in 2021, you can use CAD to design jewellery, 3D Printing for wax models, and Laser Welders instead of the Oxygen+Propane mix to solder jewellery. These mentions are just the tip of the iceberg. It has streamlined, simplified and further perfected the jewellery crafting process.
Almost every industry that does custom work delves into the CAD Designing process. Woodworkers, metal workers and jewellers alike now depend on the precision offered by CAD. But, what did Goldsmiths do before this?
It was an extensive process that required much detail, patience and expertise. A designer would start with a large piece of wax, slowly cutting and filing away the leftover bits and transforming what was once a cylindrical tube of wax into the Ring or Pendant you'll eventually wear. Like the 3D printed resin, the wax is the first step to having your jewellery made. Wax turns into casted Solid Gold or Sterling Silver, and, voila, the Goldsmith can start to finish your piece.
From a Goldsmith's perspective, you can achieve the highest level of details, reaching new heights to craftsmanship that would be near impossible with traditional technique. An Artist, however, may disagree.
It's incredible how much value a 3D Printer can add to the jewellery crafting process. Stunning details like a woven or mesh pattern are possible due to computer technology.
The idea that a Jeweller or Goldsmith can depend on such technology also means their clients will, similarly, feel a sense of confidence. The 3D Printer revolutionized the industry, paving the way to the Demi-Fine Jewels while opening Art-Deco's horizons.
The 3D Printer cannot simply erase the years of experience a highly-skilled Goldsmith has. You must give a Goldsmith credit, the ones who can recreate the same level, if not better detail than a computer. To this day, I am stunned at some jewellery created by human hands; it's a greater expression of art.
In some ways, technology did simplify specific processes. Welding in and of itself is a learned art. It takes practice to perfect using a Welding Torch, let alone managing to bind precious metals with solder effectively.
Laser welding is safer, requires fewer resources and leaves a far smaller Carbon Footprint. It completes the job with efficiency and integrity. It also reduces the time spent on the project, assisting on quick turn-around times for a customer.
If you're searching for a bit more detail, welding is mainly needed when your jewellery breaks, although you can also use it during the jewellery crafting process. The most common example of this is when your chain breaks. Either we or someone we know has had a broken chain. With a Laser Welder, a Goldsmith can achieve a level of detail that was once far more difficult when using a torch. 100% Customer Satisfaction - CHECK!
Personally, this is all pretty exciting. If you can further perfect something, you should test something new, and maybe even you will be surprised. I sense many Jewellers feel the same way. Emerging brands and labels are immersing themselves in the advancements; why? Because jewellery lovers are asking for new, fresh and exciting. I don't blame you; this is the shake-up the industry needed for some time now. Now, we all shine together.
Ara L. - Mar 16, 2021
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