Ring setting design help for lapsed faceter

It’s great to read Ganoksin posts again after a considerable hiatus
caused partly by the state of the economy and the high price of gold
and partly by several failed attempts at wax ring carving that
caused me to put things aside for a while. I spent several years
faceting gemstones and am feeling the urge to start up again, even
though I have a backlog of cut stones, mostly in square cushion
shapes that are waitingfor settings.

I want to finally deal with the problem of getting the stones into
ring settings I find appealing and salable. I have spent hours on
the internet trying to find ones I like and have come to the
conclusion that I am going to have to have something cast in order
to get what I want. I have an idea of how to proceed and want
tocheck in with you folks on Ganoksin to see if I am on the right

Since most of the stones I facet are square or rectangular, I
thought I would send drawings and dimensions to a CAD designer to
come up witha simple, clean setting that can be modified as needed
on the computer to reflect the different stone sizes in my inventory
and different ring sizes I will need for customers. I am assuming
the design can be rendered by a CAM device into a wax model that can
then be cast in silver to produce a master. At first I thought I
would have only the basket that holds the stone produced and that
would allow me to solder different size shanks to the setting at my
shop. Now I am beginning to wonder if it would be better to have the
entire ring designed complete with shaft. Presumably that same CAD
file could later be modified to produce different size rings as
future orders dictate. My decision will depend oninitial design
costs with the CAD person, the cost of consecutive file
modifications, and the cost of building an inventory of silver
prototypes that will serve for making molds for gold castings. I
would appreciate your input on this approach and any suggestions you
might have about alternative approaches. also your experiences with
the costs involved.

I should mention that while my primary experience is faceting
I do have basic jewelry bench skills and I have a fairly
well equipped shop for polishing, soldering and gem setting.