Yes, I use CorelDraw pretty extensively... for my business cards, earring
cards, and such, too. I used to use Arts & Letters, which I found easier
to use, but over the years Corel has far surpassed the features in A&L.
Using one of these "vector" graphics packages (as opposed to a "paint" or
pixel oriented program) requires a shift in the way you think about
drawing. I think it actually ends up being easier for jewelry design, once
you're used to the object-oriented way of thinking. It is way easier to
scale, flip, rotate, nudge, etc. than drawing by hand or using a paint
program. Each design element is a separate object, so they can all be
manipulated independently or grouped for collective manipulation. You can
also run through a greater number of design ideas, since you don't have to
redraw each time (i.e., copy, paste and tweak instead).
What really, and finally made this a truly functional tool was when I threw
out my mouse and got a pen tablet. Trying to draw with a mouse really
bites. The pen is much more natural and manageable. The tablet I got was
the Wacom ArtPad II, which also has 256 levels of pressure sensitivity.
The software should support pressure sensitive pens, which Corel, and most
major packages do. The ArtPad is (or was) available as a bundle with a
package called Dabbler. While this is more of a paint program (but
pressure sensitive), I have had more fun with that program than any other
in a long time. The ArtPad bundle runs somewhere in the $100
neighborhood, less for the pad by itself.
The whole Corel suite now contains the software formerly known as
WordPerfect and QuattroPro, which may account for the high retail price. If
you have (or don't need) these types of programs, you may want to inquire
about CorelDraw by itself, as opposed to the Corel Suite. Or, see if
there's just the graphics suite, which might include Trace, Mosaic,
PhotoPaint and other minor graphics tools. In any case, the initial
investment will be somewhat significant, but the benefits should be felt
I'm thinking about writing an article about using a PC for jewelry design
(actually have an outline developed), but as with many things, it's stuck
in the queue of undefined priorities.
Let me know if you have any additional questions!