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Technology used in fine jewellery vs hand fabricated


#21

Hi Leonid,

Handmade methods is the most efficient of all, but one must know
what he/she is doing 

Unfortunately this statement is untrue in today’s market. Where
efficiency is measured by the bottom line.

Handmade methods cannot compete in cost saving compared to the
CAD/CAM approach.

Leonid, it doesn’t matter how much skill a hand fabricator has, at
the end of the day he/she has a lemmel jar (I’ve got three so far
:-D).

The CAD/CAM worker does not have a lemmel jar.

Regards Charles A.


#22
I can without hesitation spot a CAD CAM piece from a hand
fabricated or carved one. 

My Grandpa used to say he could spot a bad toupee a mile away. Used
to crack us up.

Dave Phelps


#23

A few years ago, MJSA magazine had an article desribing one
goldsmith’s saga using both CAD-CAM and hand carving. He made two
pendants, same design, but one was done with CAD-CAM and one was
handcarved from wax. He casted both of them, and then cleaned them
up before setting the stones. He found it took a bit longer to set
the stones in the CAD-CAM for the computer didn’t alllow for
variations in the diamonds’ sizes. The casted piece was a bit quicker
to do and easier to set the diamonds in.

I could see the difference - the casted piece had a softness, a
roundness, while the CAD-CAM piece had a crisper, more machined
look. It was an interesting article.

I think in the end, it boiled down to skilled labor. A skillful
designer/goldsmith can easily make something perfectly from start to
finish, while a good designer who has no benchworking skills can
create something and have a shop make the jewelry. I see that a lot -
good designers, but who have no concept on how things are made and
put together, so you get some very lovely designs that are completely
unwearable. Good jewelry must be executed well, look good and wear
very well. Comfort is very important. Good design that takes the
human being into mind and creates jewelry that works for our
lifestyle is rare, but a must. I have worked with goldsmiths that
were very highly skilled but their jewelry was beautiful, very
wearable, and functions well. I keep striving for that.

Joy


#24

I have found that some people will tolerate some degree of discomfort
to wear a piece or pieces of jewellery they really want to wear. Look
at ultra high heeled shoes and the extreme “Giraffe Women” who wear
rings round the neck to lengthen the neck. I was watching a young
lady the other day wobbling across the road on high heels, with
really tight skirt, jewelery hanging round her neck and a jump ring
with a bead on it piercing her bottom lip. I found it slightly
amusing but it was slightly erotic and certainly she was gaining the
attention she required. I don’t think jewelery should be altogether
"Safe"


#25

Leonid, it doesn’t matter how much skill a hand fabricator has, at
the end of the day he/she has a lemmel jar (I’ve got three so far

The CAD/CAM worker does not have a lemmel jar. 

This makes no sense at all.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#26

That’s OK but it is soulless, it cannot be compared with the
handmade item, which cannot be exactly repeated. This technology
kills the hand expertise and only contrives to increase the profit
margin sought by the retail chains. There is a place for it but it
cannot replace finely honed skills which can make a piece of jewelery
a piece of fine art work.

Regards
Hamish


#27

Hi Charles,

If you have a CAD you send it to Hong Kong, you'll have your piece
of jewellery finished to a high polish in your hand very quickly,
and you only buy that gold, the waste is not your concern. 
This is why businesses are investing in CAD, because it is far
more cost effective than hand made jewellery. 

I have used CAD for design and rendering for close to 30 years now
and currently do a small amount of CAD/CAM cast production for some
items so I am not at all opposed to its use and I am familiar in a
hands on fashion with the difference between CAD/CAM castings and
fabricated construction. So not to engage in circular arguments but
in the dim past you could send a drawing on paper to Hong Kong and
get back a good piece of jewelry for a very reasonable price, they
have very skilled craftspeople there. Sending work off shore makes it
cheaper because of labor costs not gold loss. I have several friends
who have worked in Asia as consultants to the jewelry industries
there. From listening to them relate their experiences those
companies are typically less efficient in handling gold than similar
industries in elsewhere where labor costs are higher putting pressure
on the rest of the manufacturing process to realize savings. I also
guarantee that you are paying the handling/refining charges for the
gold lemel when you get that finished piece from Asia. It is not the
CAD that is providing the savings but the low labor costs.

Regards
Jim

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#28

Hi Guys,

Here’s a bit of fun.

The following rings were produced using different methods, which one
do you prefer?


Regards Charles A.


#29
This is why businesses are investing in CAD, because it is far
more cost effective than hand made jewellery. 

It is more cost effective to eat fast food. To me, fast food is a
contradiction, it is not food to me.

If what you make is something more than just a product, “cost
effective” is relative, if technology does not fill the need to
create to your satisfaction, technology is useless.

CAD CAM is useful to fulfill the design objective that CAD CAM is
useful for. For other design objectives, CAD CAM is useless. No matter
how good the computer operator is, something is not right for the
design esthetics for some. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I have had CAD CAM jewelry made when it was a product. CAD CAM can
be used to make art.

I would say that for me, fabrication and handmade wax models have
some organic quality. CAD CAM does not.

The jewelry that is made by CAD CAM is not something I would like to
live with. Objects made with what I would call an organic quality are
things I can live with.

My house is a 1915 Craftsman style bungalow, original fir floors,
natural wood trim, wonderful architecture. Antique cherry wood
lawyers bookcase, antique carved oak rocking chair, antique
secretary, ect. I could have mass produced particle board furniture.

I understand there are two worlds in jewelry making. I don’t mind
visiting the technological world when the means justifies the end. I
just do not want to live there.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.


#30

Charles

Unfortunately this statement is untrue in today's market. Where
efficiency is measured by the bottom line. Handmade methods cannot
compete in cost saving compared to the CAD/CAM approach. 

Again you are making statements based on your new insight into the
jewelry industry. It has always been the bottom line that the the
low quality jewelry manufacturers looked for. Cheap crap is cheap
crap, hand made, CAD CAM, or stamped. In the hands of a great jeweler
CAD CAM is a wonderful tool. But of course a great jeweler does not
really need CAD CAM does he?

Personally I love this new technology, it gives good jewelers a never
ending source of income fixing the badly made work that the customer
paid too much for to begin with. What is really sad is that the end
consumer is the one that suffers. By the time the finished piece gets
to them it is usually not much cheaper than a nice handmade piece.
It’s the manufacturer that gets the added profits added his bottom
line, he does not reduce the price going out the door.

Bill Wismar
www.metalbendersgallery.com


#31

Ahh, the authentic goldsmith and let alone the authentic silversmith.
these days if you work in gold everyone thinks they are a goldsmith
and if you make silver jewelry you are a silversmith.

I’m a silversmith I raise metal from flat sheets. That is who a
silversmith is. But lately the verbiage has changed and those who
raise hollow ware have become Metalsmiths. I agree with you. I make
jewelry in gold and silver therefore I am a real jeweler and
Goldsmith. I also raise metal and work hollow ware therefore I am a
Silversmith.

I am so tired of trying to explain this difference and running into
the beaders who string Michaels beads and have no skills calling
themselves jewelers.

Jennifer Friedman
Ventura, CA


#32
I was watching a young lady the other day wobbling across the road
on high heels, with really tight skirt, jewelery hanging round her
neck and a jump ring with a bead on it piercing her bottom lip. I
found it slightly amusing but it was slightly erotic and certainly
she was gaining the attention she required. I don't think jewelery
should be altogether "Safe" 

You’d love ComiCon then :slight_smile: We have something similar in Australia,
and it’s an untapped jewellery sellers market.

I personally think jewellery should be safe, but could give the
appearance of being unsafe :wink:

Regards Charles A.


#33

Hi Jennifer,

A fine jeweller used to work exclusively in platinum, but
definitions change.

Many on the list I would consider fine jewellers regardless of the
material they use.

I’m not a fine jeweller, yet, but am taking steps to head in the
right direction.

I’ll be trade qualified at the end of this year, as the industry
standard course winds up.

Just out of interest what would you call a person that makes beaded
jewellery?

Regards Charles A.


#34
So not to engage in circular arguments but in the dim past you
could send a drawing on paper to Hong Kong and get back a good
piece of jewelry for a very reasonable price, they have very
skilled craftspeople there. Sending work off shore makes it cheaper
because of labor costs not gold loss. 

That’s very enlightening Jim,

No arguments there, the low labour cost is killing us in Oz, we
can’t compete :frowning:

Regards Charles A.


#35

Hi Charles

http://www.ganoksin.com/ftp/ring2.jpg
http://www.ganoksin.com/ftp/ring1(2).jpg

Thanks for posting the pictures. And they both look lovely. For me, I
prefer ring 2 by a little edge. I’ll be interested in your more
detailed explanation after others have their say too. Slightly
different angles of the photos make comparison a little difficult -
as I say, I like both of them.

Barbara, on a cloudy day on the Island, having had the aftermath of
Himmicane Isaac pass through in the past couple of days.


#36
Again you are making statements based on your new insight into the
jewelry industry. It has always been the bottom line that the the
low quality jewelry manufacturers looked for. Cheap crap is cheap
crap, hand made, CAD CAM, or stamped. In the hands of a great
jeweler CAD CAM is a wonderful tool. But of course a great jeweler
does not really need CAD CAM does he? 

Actually Bill I’m quoting the observations of jewellers with many
years experience. I looked into it after the observations were
presented to me, and I passed them on to the list.

I personally had not considered the cost savings attributed with
CAD/CAM, and just viewed it as a tool. The more I see this aspect of
CAD/CAM the less I like.

The major business seem to be pushing manufacturing in the direction
of CAD/CAM, because they can cut costs, it effects our job market
here in Oz.

Regards Charles A.


#37

Hi Hamish,

This technology kills the hand expertise and only contrives to
increase the profit margin sought by the retail chains. There is a
place for it but it cannot replace finely honed skills which can
make a piece of jewelery a piece of fine art work. 

I agree with what you say.

Even if CAD wasn’t in the equation, there are production lines
turning out high quality hand crafted jewellery, that we simply can’t
compete with.

350 finished individual fine jewellery pieces per day was the stat I
was quoted. Another scary stat, an engagement ring fully finished and
set, ready to go 5 minutes. All hand work.

Cheap labour, but still turning out quality merchandise.

The businesses draw a design or send a bench drawing, and the piece
is made offshore. It’s no wonder the employment market for jewellers
in Oz is so tight, we’re very close to the countries doing the work
:frowning:

Regards Charles A.


#38

Wait wait wait!

You guys are talking (writing) like CAD always makes crappy jewelry
and that poor quality and design is changing the industry for the
worse, just now!

I have been a goldsmith for over 30 years and I have ALWAYS had to
deal with crappy jewelry.

Cheap, poorly designed, difficult to wear, jewelry has been here
since time began.

Today’s CAD/CAM is just a substitute for the cheaper labor of Hong
Kong that jewelers in the 80’s had to compete with.

There were incredible things being made in Asia at the time, but
most of it was junk. I would go to the mall and see that same junk at
all the “Fast Food” jewelry stores. They were my competition and they
made business very hard.

In the end CAD is no different than any other tool.

In skilled hands it shines, in poor it is lacking.

It reminds me of the argument between goldsmiths of hand fabricated
versus carve and cast. An old one, I know, but essentially the same.
like politics, the differences are here to stay.

With equal skills being compared, the only measurable differences
between CAD/CAM and hand fabricated seems to be surface
characteristics and metallurgical structural differences both being
artifacts of the casting process.

Now the casting process is how the vast majority of jewelry is made
today from the largest factories to the smallest shops whether or
not the wax was carved or “machined”. High quality casting has always
taken into account these differences. Slightly thicker cross
sections. Cast in multiple pieces so they can be polished and
assembled later, things like that.

In other words, a casting made and finished with the same level of
skill set as hand fabricated will be equal in the eyes of the
customer, if not in the eyes of goldsmiths.

Just for giggles sake take a skeptical look at Metalsmith magazine.
Go back as many years as you can and you will see hundreds of
examples of totally unwearable stuff that stretches the imagination
for the very definition of jewelry! Aluminum and feathers at an art
fair is my definition of cheap AND hard to wear. And much of that is
fabricated!

Sam in San Jose


#39

I posted several rants about this 10 years ago when cad was just
starting to take off. I used to hand fabricate fine gold and platinum
jewelery as well as carve wax and cast. I still make jewelery for
friends and family but no longer do it for money. I cannot compete
with cad cam. I can not carve as well as a machine I cannot carve as
fast and I cant do it as cheaply. I am obsolete. My friends and
family come to me for their jewelery because it means something to
them to have me do the work. Not some machine but my two hands with
all my imperfections and flaws. Competing with machines is a lost
cause it was lost 150 years ago. I now make tools for jewelers who
still work with their hands I still make my tools with old obsolete
manual machines. You can buy cheaper tools made in large factories
and they will work just fine but my tools were made by me with my
hands and my manual machines.

Kevin Potter
www.potterusa.com


#40
In the end CAD is no different than any other tool. 
In skilled hands it shines, in poor it is lacking. 

In perfect world, I would agree with that. I would go even further
and say that if CAD/CAM process were to be used to design and
fabricate not the whole piece, but component parts; and all such
parts were to be finished to high degree of polish before assembling;
and all joints were to be precisely designed to afford effortless
soldering; such jewellery would exceed in quality hand-fabricated
ones. It also would cost at least 10 times of the later. But CAD/CAM
processes are not used that way. They are used to cut cost and
quality be damned. Therefore there is no point in talking about what
could have been. The reality is that CAD/CAM is very detrimental to
jewellery, irrespective of it’s potential.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com