Unique Engagement Rings Designer UK

Engagement Rings, Wedding Rings, Commitment Rings, Eternity Rings, Bridal Jewellery

CAD for jewellery design

Many of our clients come to us when all else has failed. They've tried traditional jewellers, and even looked at other jewellers who specialise in wedding and engagement ring design and drawn a blank.  Why?

Many jewellers still rely on hand drawn images to show you how your finished commission will look, leaving a bridge between their drawing and your imagination. Our state of the art CAD/CAM (computer aided design / manufacture) technology leaves nothing to your imagination.

Using our design knowledge and expertise we can create, with ease, jewellery that many master goldsmiths would find challenging or impossible, and most importantly, before we've even sat down at the jewellers bench to start work you'll have already seen beautiful photographic quality images of your bespoke jewellery which will only be bettered by the real thing.

At this point, we should stress that we only use CAD when the project would benefit from its use.  If it can be more easily made by hand then we will do this, though we may mock up the design in the computer so you can see what you will be getting

The most common questions about CAD for bespoke jewellery design

1.  I'VE HEARD CAD/CAM IS NOT USED BY REAL JEWELLERS AS IT ONLY PUTS PRE-CAST PIECES TOGETHER IN A COMPUTER - IS THIS TRUE?

Absolutely Not.  Any jeweller who tells you that CAD is great for companies that only use precast parts is simply trying to hide behind a veneer of misunderstanding and fear.  CAD/CAM systems are used by many of the worlds major high quality jewellers.  The learning curve to using CAD/CAM is very steep and these extremely complex systems do not use pre-cast parts!  All our designs are put together from scratch, drawn, if you like, not by a hand but by a mouse to produce unique, original designs, which in many cases will not (as some jewellers profess) take minutes but many hours of craftsmanship to create. 

If you prefer to have designs hand drawn we will produce these too, with pleasure. With Atelier you can have the best of all worlds, both old and new.

2.  THIS SOUNDS EXPENSIVE - IS IT?

Using services with designers and expensive technology always sounds expensive.  In our case, it isn't.  We keep our overheads low to keep your bespoke jewellery as cost effective as we can.  And no matter what you budget we can help.  We've produced bespoke jewellery for as little as 40 and as much as 40,000.

Initial consultations with us are completely free, all you need to bring is your ideas - or we'll even help with those if you are stuck.  We don't ask for deposits for the actual piece to be made until and if you are completely happy with your design - and along the way, all designs can be emailed or printed out and posted to you, so you don't have to keep coming back to see us until you want to!  We do have a design fee if you decide that you want to have a design created using the computer, this starts at £45 and depending on the complexity can be up to £100 (mostly it is £45). 

To make things even less expensive for you, print this page and come and see us at the workshop for yourself and if you decide to have a commission made by us, we'll refund your travel costs (terms and conditions apply).

3.  I'VE BEEN TOLD THAT YOU CAN ONLY MAKE RINGS IN CAD

We can make anything using the program that you can make by hand and much more - from tiny earrings and special findings to huge belt buckles.

4.  I'VE BEEN TOLD THAT YOU CAN ONLY MAKE THINGS THAT WILL BE USED FOR MASS PRODUCTION

CAD is absolutely a bespoke design tool.  You wouldn't use CAD unless you have a specific project to do which is completely unique.  It creates a one off unique piece which you can choose, like all other jewellery if its suitable, to produce many items from or just the one.

5.  I'VE BEEN WARNED THAT UK JEWELLERS ARE TOO INEXPERIENCED TO USE THIS METHOD TO MAKE BESPOKE JEWELLERY

It is true that we have been very slow to take up CAD for jewellery in the UK and indeed Europe, and that the learning curve for these incredibly coplex programs is high while the Americans have beed using CAD since the mid 90's.  We use an American CAD progam called Matrix which is certainly one of the earliest and most developed and is probably the most comprehensive and versitile CAD jewellery design programs on the market.  We have 3 years working experience with this program, which given that we were the first to buy it in Europe is actually the most experience that any jeweller can have with this program in Europe.  Additionally, we are likely to be one of the few experienced jewellers with a high street outlet using CAD right now.

6.  I'VE BEEN ASSURED BY ANOTHER DESIGNER THAT YOU DON'T NEED ANY DESIGN EXPERIENCE IN JEWELLERY TO CREATE A PIECE OF JEWELLERY USING CAD

Design is the most important part of jewellery making per se.  It diesn't matter how you make it, you still need expericnce in design.  Some so called jewellery designers have experiece in designing other things such as furniture or textiles and have qualifications in design, but they have little training or undestanding of jewellery design.  HAVING A DEGREE IN JEWELLERY MAKING DOES NOT MAKE YOU A GOOD DESIGNER OF JEWELERY.  Like anything to do with deisgn, the best designers are those with long term experience with their subjest and its history.

unique engagement rings

The Design Process using CAD

Once we have a brief and we have decided that the best manufacturing process os CAD, we usually spend some time producing an initial design to fit the brief.  Below are a few case studies from different pages on this website so you can see how this occurs.

Once we have established a design that is right for your project it is refined, often with you present, and then the manufacturing process begins.

Computer aided manufacture (CAM) uses the file that has been produced using CAD to make a 3D model of the item that is to be made.  This is often refered to as rapid prototyping.  The 3D model is, in this case, is going to be transformed into the real thing using a process called lost wax casting.  The picture shows the process in 4 stages as follows:

1 - CAD design
2 - CAM 3D model
3 - lost wax casting to metal (in this case white gold)
4 - The finished item, in this case a diamond set ring

Unique engagement rings

Engagement ring case study

The Brief

A couple came to see us for a unique engagement ring which they wanted to act as both engagement and wedding ring, combined

Following initial direction from the couple which, in this case, involved them showing us pictures of rings they liked from magazines and from the internet, we discussed the possibilities of how the ring might look.  As there was to be no traditional style wedding ring, we suggested three separate bands combined in the same shank symbolic of an engagement ring, a wedding ring and an eternity ring.  They liked this idea, but wanted to include lots of diamonds in the design, and two colours of metal. Their budget was £7000

The Design

With their ideas firmly at the forefront, we used the computer to produce a 3D model of a three band ring with diamonds in a modern settng (see fig.1 below).  Then we prepared a series of renders (computer generated pictures - see fig.2 below) to show them what the finished ring would look like.

    

The clients loved the design and made an appointment to come and see us to finalise it.  They had decided to use just platinum instead of the mixed metal, but asked if we could suggest anything to add more colour to the ring.  We suggested coloured diamonds and re-rendered the ring with assorted coloured diamonds in different positions.  They settled on cognac diamonds as the best choice in the positions as you can see in fig. 3.  This left the symmetry of the ring unbalanced, so we added some smaller diamonds to the ring and it wasn't long before everyone agreed that the design was perfect - the final render can be seen in fig.4

    

The Gemstones

Now it was time to find the actual diamonds that we were going to use in the ring. We needed 12 diamonds for this design, nine white and three cognac, each one a different size. 

We sourced three sets of white diamonds which were matched to the exact sizes in the ring design.  A group of DEF VVS (best colour and very, very slightly included) diamonds were selected by the clients with our help to complete the ring to the best possible quality within the budget.

We also sourced about 30 examples of cognac diamonds directly from one of our sources in Antwerp.  We advised the choice should be made on colour intensity, and three diamonds, a 0.41ct for the centre stone, a 0.23ct for the top right in the picture and a 0.13ct  for the bottom left, were selected.

The Manufacture

So now we had all the components we could proceed with making the ring. We finalised our CAD design using the exact diamond sizes and made the ring casting in platinum. The ring was cleaned, set with the diamonds and finished at our workshop. As soon as they could, the lucky couple came over to see us to collect the ring, which was absolutley stunning and, even better, came in under budget

Unique wedding rings

Wedding ring case study No. 1

The Brief

We were commissioned to produce a unique wedding ring by a lady who did not want a traditional ring, but she did want a gold band - a modern one - you might say she wanted a traditional wedding ring with a twist.  She didn't really have a budget, she just knoew whe wanted something different.

The Design

Following a few rough sketches, we moved to the computer and designed a chunky ring.  Then we remembered something she had said about liking an asymmetrical ring in the shop, and we did something you can only do with the computer and twisted the ring in two planes.  Fig. 1 below shows the initial result.

Unique wedding rings

We consulted the Client to make sure we were on the right lines - she thought it was amazing!  A few days later we were contacted by her husband to be - as they did not have an engagement ring, he asked if we could turn this ring into an engagement wedding ring combined.  He wanted to buy her a diamond as a surprise.  We showed him some diamonds we had in stock and he settled on a 0.4ct white, VS (very slightly included) round brilliant white diamond.  We added this to the design and he was very happy with it.  Just to be sure, the surprise was sprung before we started to make the ring - she absolutely adored the new design with the diamond.

The Manufacture

We finalised our CAD design and made the ring casting in 18ct yellow gold. The ring was cleaned, set with the diamond and finished at our workshop. As soon as they could, the couple came over to see us to collect the ring, which was absolutley stunning - it cost £1950

Unique wedding rings

Wedding ring case study No. 2

The Brief

A couple were looking for a pair of wedding rings in silver and they couldn't find anything in any jewellers so they came to us.  They wanted a ring that they could have engraved on the upper surface with a Japanese character which you can see in the picture of the rings left.  Their budget was around £500 for the pair of rings.

The Design

The design for the ring itself was quite simple - it had to be something which would accomodate the engraving and that the clients liked.  The lady saw a ring in the shop that she was drawn to.  The gent wanted someting plain and chunky. 

We would have simply engraved the ring that the lady had seen with her special design, only the ring was far too small and was a one off - it was easier and cheaper to re-make it with the engraving using the CAD program when the gents ring was being designed.  So we created a pair of rings that you can see in figure 1 below.

Figure 1 - Computer aided design wedding ring with renders

The Manufacture

We finalised our CAD designs and made the rings casting in sterling silver. The rings were cleaned and finished at our workshop.  When the couple collected their rings, they were overjoyed with the result and the price as the pair of rings cost £455

Unique commitment rings

Commitment ring case study

The Brief

A couple came to us with a very specific symbol that they wanted to be repeated around a traditional style band.  However they wanted the symbol to be different on each ring in some way - a variation on the same theme.  They had no set budget.

The Design

We copied the symbol into the computer and wrapped it round a simple band.   Fig. 1 shows the initial result.  We created two variations of the pattern, one by stretching the symbol and widening it, and another by embossing the symbol on one ring and engraving it on the other - like a positive and negative of the same pattern.

Unique commitment rings

We consulted the Clients to make sure we were on the right lines - they liked the designs, but wanted to make a change or two.  We made some modifications while they were in the shop and completed the design later.  One final check by email and the designs were complete.

The Manufacture

We finalised our CAD design and made the chosen rings casting in 18ct yellow gold. The rings were cleaned and finished at our workshop. As soon as they could, the clients came over to see us and collect the rings, which were exactly what they had envisaged - the pair of commitment rings cost £1500.  We also cast the other set of rings in silver as examples and these are shown in the designing your commitment rings section.

Contact | ©2011 Designer Engagement Rings .co.uk