Jewelry Illustration and rendering is a time honored design method that goes back hundreds of years. Styles have evolved with the times, but the method of bringing an envisioned design to paper has not. It takes a fine pencil, a steady hand, attention to detail, understanding of proportion, and a lot of patience! Our process begins on the drafting board at Haley’s bench. Here, a design is sketched (and erased many times!), and honed into a technical drawing that is sure to look amazing in 3D form.
The use of CAD is a process that has taken the jewelry industry by storm in the last ten years. When we create jewelry using this technology it allows for more accuracy and precision to bring our rendered illustrations to life!
After the 3D file has been created in CAD, it is sent on it’s way to our 3D printer at the back of our store. This printer uses a process of projecting an image of light into a light sensitive resin, where each layer then hardens and starts to build upon itself. After 800 or so layers, we have an exact copy of our ring, in green resin form! We put this resin into a flask and pour a plaster of paris-like substance called investment around it. The investment hardens and traps the resin within. The flask then goes into our kiln where temperatures rise to 2000°, making the investment turn to a cement-like hardness, and the resin melt and burn away. This leaves us with a mold to then pour our Alaskan gold into.
Our Alaskan gold comes from the earth in almost pure form. It needs a process called refining in order to remove the extra metals that have bonded with the gold over time. We send our Alaskan gold to a refinery in Oklahoma who removes the extra metals, creating a pure, 24k gold. They then alloy our bright yellow gold with other metals to create 18k yellow or white gold, a beautiful metal the jewelry industry craves. Our refiner has a shared vision of the American made process, and works with us to keep our small batches of Alaskan gold separate from all other projects, ensuring the authenticity of our materials even after they’ve gone through the fire!
Our Casting process is an exciting one to watch. After our printed resin has a mold created of it, it is time to turn the mold into a solid metal piece. Haley melts the Alaskan gold to liquid form (about 1800°), pulls back the crucible and lets it spin. The centrifugal force makes the gold fill the mold, and creates the first look of the final piece!
We hope to have a video of this process up soon!
At the Bench
The raw casting now travels to Haley’s bench where she gives it all the love it deserves. The piece is polished, stones are carefully set under high magnification and the final polish is applied. Some of our Reverie pieces are Hand Engraved. This is an extra step of detail that Haley loves to add to her pieces because it gives them one more element of custom workmanship, inspired by a different time in history when everything was crafted by hand.
This benchwork can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on how many stones need to be set, and how intricate the design is. By the end of the process, there isn’t a single bit of surface on the piece that hasn’t been touched by a tool. This is where our craftsmanship and love of jewelry making really shines, and sets our Reverie line above other jewelry lines in the industry.