How Davidson Jewels Designs and Prototypes Custom Jewelry With 3D Printing

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How Davidson Jewels Designs and Prototypes Custom Jewelry With 3D Printing

At Davidson Jewels, customization is more than a business plan: it’s a philosophy. This jewelry design studio, based in Calgary, designs and builds custom jewelry and engagement rings, working with clients from concept to final piece to create jewelry that “is as unique as that special person in your life.”

The custom jewelry design and development process begins with listening. Once Davidson & Co. has worked to understand a client’s needs, the next step is design. The studio uses computer-aided design (CAD) software and a Formlabs Form 2 3D printer to prototype pieces for clients to test, making sure that the concept and fit are perfect before moving on to source the gemstone and materials from their global suppliers.

We interviewed designer Ian Davidson about how he became interested in jewelry, how prototyping tools have evolved the industry, and how he uses Formlabs Black Resin and Castable Resin to prototype and finalize his custom pieces.

How did you get involved with jewelry?

I attended art school in the late 1960s and early 1970s studying painting. My first introduction to jewelry was as an option in art school. After college, it was a simple way to earn money to support myself by selling my pieces at craft fairs. I soon learned that it was a good fit with my creativity and ability to work with people. I also loved tools and figuring out how things were made.

How does your jewelry fit in with the broader landscape of the industry?

I work today from my streetfront jewelry design studio, where I present a small collection. But I mostly work with retail clients on individual projects that they bring to me.

Davidson Jewels’ custom engagement rings are set with sparkling diamonds, lustrous pearls, and colorful gemstones, showcased in a variety of 18 karat golds and precious metals.

How did you first start working with CAD and bringing technology into the process?

I bought my first CAD system in 1989, a 2D CAD program called Power Draw, a Mac computer, and a pen plotter to output the drawings. I knew something was going to happen with computers and jewelry design, and wow, did it ever. I bought into Gemvision’s software, Matrix, at version 3 to explore design possibilities with my clients and to be able quickly make design changes. But 3D output was not readily available, so most of the time I hand-carved the wax model by hand.

I bought the first version of a printer that used digital light projection (DLP). It was nice to be able to print in 3D, but I paid the price for early adoption, as it was difficult to get good, consistent prints. A dream came true when I purchased a Form 1+. True plug-in and print at a great price, and the same for my Form 2, which is even more consistent.

The Form 2 has the biggest “cool” factor for my customers. They have all heard about 3D printing and how it’s going to change their lives, but have never seen one. The Form 2 is located in the public area of the studio and it gets a lot of attention.

The Form 2 3D printer uses stereolithography (SLA) to precisely cure parts from a liquid resin. Learn more about the differences between SLA and DLP.

What have been some of the biggest challenges in moving from prototype to production?

In the beginning, I used 3D printing as a proof of concept tool with clients. After getting approval, I would send an STL file to an outside service bureau to be grown again and cast. Today, I do all of that in house. The biggest problem I faced moving from prototype to production was curing the resin. Resin that is cured properly makes casting easy.

How does prototyping jewelry pieces ahead of time in Black Resin help you?

I like using Black Resin to help my clients see exactly what their new piece is going to look like. If they are going to take the model home to share it with their partner or think further on the design, it’s hard, durable, and wearable.

What’s your experience been like with Castable Resin? What is your casting workflow?

I find that Castable Resin works very well when the material is cured properly. After curing the resin, I invest it with a St. Louis vacuum investment mixer and follow Formlabs’ burnout instructions. I burn out overnight, casting in the morning with a Schultheiss VPC 040 casting machine. I get great results with castings that clean up quickly only using sandpaper (and a file on the sprue).

What does the future of jewelry look like? How will technology like 3D printing change the industry?

I think that the future looks bright for jewelry designers who master the use of 3D design software and printers. 3D printing technology makes it possible to quickly design, explore, change, and produce accurate and complex models that may have taken days to create by hand, with no possibility of change without scrapping many hours of work.

Selling Custom Jewelry

 

Custom design is the future of the jewelry industry, and your business needs the best tools to adapt. Download our tip sheet to learn how to approach the custom sales experience, from recommended workflows to where 3D printing fits in.

reprinted from https://formlabs.com/blog/designing-prototyping-custom-jewelry-3d-printing/

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Stack Your Rings

Stacking expresses personality in many different ways, the ring stack you create is determined by individual style and tastes. With multiple rings, you can wear them differently every day.

Brushed yellow gold and diamond stacking rings, paired with white gold and diamond eternity ring, and yellow gold 0.50 carat engagement ring.

Brushed yellow gold and diamond stacking rings, paired with white gold and diamond eternity ring, and yellow gold 0.50 carat engagement ring.

5 ring stack show's 3 different band designs made in platinum and set with diamonds  

5 ring stack show's 3 different band designs made in platinum and set with diamonds

 

 

Choose Your Metal

A monochrome grouping of rings may be the perfect way to start your stack, but with each ring being sculpted and textured differently creating a unique look. Want a bolder look? Try our rings in new and exceptional colors ..... rosewood, sand, gray, green, ivory, red, yellow, and white.

Uniquely colored gold stacking rings

Uniquely colored gold stacking rings

North to South or East to West

The traditional way to stack your ring may be running the length of the finger, but the ideal stack for you may be across the hand or a combination of both.

North to South or East to West stacking rings 

North to South or East to West stacking rings 

Color 

The picture perfect stack for you may be the all white platinum and diamond look. For a more bold look, colored gemstones may add the dazzle that excites you. Deep blue sapphires, hot pink tourmalines, or blood red rubies could be perfect in your new stack.

Hot pink tourmaline with with diamonds in gray gold

Hot pink tourmaline with with diamonds in gray gold

Looking to create your own unique stacking rings? Or to add to an existing set? Stop by our downtown Calgary studio in the East Village. 

More Jewelry Myths & Legends

 

Here are some fascinating myths and legends that may inspire you as you peruse your next jewelry selection:

Turquoise, blue topaz, blue zircon, and other teal colored stones represent a wearer both sophisticated and down to earth.

 



Sailors would have aquamarine with them on trips across the sea, with the hope that Poseidon would spare the ship, and prevent them from drowning should they fall in. 

 



In Hindu and Persian culture, it is believed that one who observes the reflection of the moon in turquoise will be granted luck, wealth, and protection from evil.

Purple lovers who wear amethyst, tanzanite, purple sapphire, and lavender chalcedony are creative and in tune with their spirituality. Amethyst is also an amulet for good luck, and constancy. Also a totem of sobriety, as the amethyst appear to be "stained" by the wine of Bacchus, in olden days, it was a symbol of avoiding intoxication, and the inevitable hangover.

 



Those who enjoy smoky quartz, tiger's eye, and champagne diffused topaz, in the brown colored stone family have a simple elegance and treasure comfort and harmony in their lives.

 



Yellow diamonds, yellow sapphires, topaz, and citrine are symbolic of a wearer with inquiring minds. During the Middle Ages, topaz was used to ward off sadness, bring wisdom, and bestow courage. It was even used to relieve insomnia.

 



Blue stones like sapphire, lapis, aquamarine, and certain types of topaz represent loyalty and communicate a sense of trust and stability. They are dependable and confident, and were in the past, worn by those protected by the wicked. Ancient Persians believed that the earth rested on a giant sapphire, which explained why the sky was a reflective blue.

 



Black stones like onyx, black spinel, black diamonds, and certain types of pearls provide an authority to the wearer, and a sense of power and respect.

 



Orange colored stones like carnelian, topaz, citrine, and types of garnet, opal, and sapphires are representative of the adventurer, and successful in business.

 

Jewelry Myths & Legends

Here are some fascinating myths and legends that may inspire you as you peruse your next jewelry selection:

Rumor has it that those who like white or clear colored stones prefer to be straight-forward and no-nonsense. These self-sufficient and assured people tend to love diamonds, white topaz, white sapphires, moonstones, opals, and pearls.

Ancient Romans would put Pearls in their drinks because they believed them to be aphrodisiacs and would facilitate passion.
 

Opal, by legend, were created when the gods threw lightning bolts, trapping them bolts in the ground and becoming stone. 

Diamonds were totems against evil, illness, thieves, dangerous animals, and poison.


Pink colored stones, like sapphires, pink diamonds, morganite, tourmaline, pink spinel, pink mystic topaz, and rhodolite garnet are sensuous and romantic, encouraging sensitivity and the assurance to be bold, talented, gentle, dynamic, and outgoing.

Red colored stones such as red spinel, garnet, and ruby encourage a well-informed zest for life. These stones are prized by those who find themselves competitive, daring, and very energetic. Rubies additionally were used to protect their wearer from misfortune and represent reconciliation. 

Green stones, like emerald, bloodstone, jade, tourmaline, peridot, and chrysoprase are those beloved by social and well-adjusted, kind-hearted and generous partners who honor loyalty and seek balance. Emeralds were thought to have great power, and used in powdered form to aide against epilepsy, stop bleeding, cure dysentery, fever, and avert panic. Emerald also is a symbol of precognition.

Gems and Their Hardness Rating

When you visit Davidson & Co, you will find an informative staff knowledgeable about the type of gemstones we offer and their characteristics. The "hardness rating" of a gemstone is very important and has an effect when creating jewelry, especially rings. The durability of a gemstone is important. For example, some rings, like wedding rings, are worn everyday. This makes them vulnerable to thumps and knocks that can be hazardous to a gemstone. Some gemstones are stout enough to be placed in a ring that can be worn day-to-day, other gems are best for rings worn on an infrequent basis, and there are some gems that are not fit to be used in rings at all! 

Gems and their Hardness Rating

One vital factor in measuring gemstone resilience is hardness. In gemology, a stone's hardness is gauged on a scale called the Mohs Scale, which allocates minerals a hardness rating between 1 for the softest and 10 for the hardest stones. The Mohs Scale was created in 1822, by a German mineralogist named Frederick Mohs. It characterizes hardness depending on the gem's scratch-resistance, in which a harder stone will scrape a malleable one, but not in reverse. 

Diamonds are rated the hardest with 10, sapphires and rubies follow with 9, spinel, emerald, and topaz 8, quartz, tourmaline, and garnet 7. The supplest stones are talc-1, gympsum-2, calcite-3, and fluorite-4. The margin between harder and softer gemstones is usually given a Mohs rating of 7. Gems with a solidity of 7 or higher is best for rings, hardness ratings below 7 are not. 

Is the Moh's System still Relevant Today?

The Moh's system, which determines the hardness rating of a gemstone, is somewhat simplistic in the eyes of today's gemologist. For instance, for a wedding or engagement ring intended to be worn everyday a hardness rating of 8 to 10 is advised. However, other factors are relevant as well. Take emeralds, they are characteristically heavy with various minute interior fractures. Therefore, in spite of its hardness rating of 8, emeralds are not considered tough enough for daily wear.

Moreover, Mohs scale is a "relative-scale" not an absolute one. It only demonstrates which gem is harder than another one, a comparative concept. Prior to any scientific equipment being used to examine minerals optically, mineralogists relied unswervingly on the Mohs Scale scratch-test much more than they do today. At present, with more advanced technology, the scratch assessment method for hardness is hardly utilized because of its vague testing of hardness and the likelihood of impairing the specimen being tested. 

At Davidson & Co, we use the latest and best hardness rating methods to determine the strength of any of the gemstones we offer. This way, we ensure that our customers are satisfied with their jewelry purchase.