How Jewelry Is Made: Prototyping and Jewelry Making

Jewelry is the art of processing precious metals and stones, especially gold, into works that are used as jewelry and investment tools. The trade of these artifacts is also called jewelry. People living in ancient times developed the jewelry technique rapidly and made jewelry that can be enjoyed even today. Beautiful jewels were made in Etruscans, Ancient Greece, and Rome. With the Renaissance, very precious stones began to be used in jewelry. As the days passed, jewelry became a very fine art. So do you know how jewelry is made?

Jewelry is made from precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum, gemstones such as diamond, ruby, and sapphire, and some other accessories such as coral, pearl, and seashells. Jewelry is made in several stages. These stages include molding, casting, and polishing. Jewelry is made by jewelry makers, goldsmiths, and jewelers. Some jewelry is made differently than others. For instance, diamond jewelry has to be cut based on specific rules. Let’s explore more about how jewelry is made!

Jewelry Is Made in Several Stages

  • Mold Stage

The product to be produced (earrings, rings, etc.) is revealed by shaping the candle by the jeweler. At this point, the important thing is the skill of the jeweler. He/she shapes the candle like a sculptor. This is the artistic side of jewelry. From the product we obtain as wax, we then obtain it as a silver mold after casting.

The silver obtained goes through the process called leveling by the jeweler. After this process is finished, the silver mold becomes ready to be taken into rubber. The silver mold is taken into the rubber and pressed, and after it is pressed, the wax is molded. The molding phase is thus finished and we are ready to cast now. In this part, the silver mold is placed on the rubber. After that, a press is made.

  • Casting Phase

The candle was shaped, silver cast, silver mold rolled into rubber, and waxed. The wax obtained is stacked on the wax tree and the wax tree is put into plaster. After the plaster dries, the gold is poured into the tree, and after a while, the plaster is broken. Now we have a golden tree and its fruits are rings. Rings made of ring wood are cut from their stubs and leveled by the jeweler. Thus, we complete the casting phase and we can polish it now.

  • Polishing Stage

In the last phase of the work, make-up is applied to the jewelry in short terms. First, pumice (coarse polish) polish is done. Then, bright polish is applied and color coating is done. After the bright polish, washing, and steaming process is done, and then coating, in other words, grinding is started.

After rough and bright polishing, the product is definitely processed in the jewelry washing machine, because there are residues of polish (oil, etc.) on the jewelry and no lapping is done until they are cleaned. It is the process of cleaning jewelry with dry steam at a temperature of 160-300 degrees with a steaming machine. The machine where the jewel is plated with rhodium is a lapping machine. This process is called running-in, and the brightness of the gold is maintained by running-in.

How Diamond Jewelry Is Made?

Do you know what stages that diamonds went through, which turned into a gem after being hidden in the heart of the earth for millions of years? How to find diamonds? How are diamonds obtained? How does a diamond turn into a jewel? What are the production steps of jewelry? If you are curious about the answers to your questions, you will find them all in the following paragraphs.

When you say diamond, you may think of a diamond solitaire ring, maybe sparkling diamond earrings, diamond necklaces, and diamond bracelets. Well, do you know what stages the diamond goes through until it turns into sparkling jewels? A real diamond is a precious stone that can be extracted in very small quantities and it is very hard, naturally at different depths of the earth’s crust.

Diamond jewelry, on the other hand, is the processing of the raw diamond after it is brought to the earth, that is, it is shaped by giving 57 facets (angles). Raw diamonds extracted from underground in diamond production turn into diamond jewelry through difficult, demanding, and labor-intensive processes. The processing of diamonds is at least as challenging as the extraction from nature to the earth. It requires labor in which handicraft is kneaded carefully, patiently, and with experience. Planning is made to get the best possible diamond while cutting and shaping the diamond.

Cutting a diamond with wrong planning can lead to serious value losses. Therefore, attention should be paid to important steps such as determining the size before cutting, marking the cutting points, and deciding the cutting location. The next diamond production stage is rough cutting and bruting. Diamond can be cut with a diamond saw or laser. Bruting is a process that makes the outline of diamond cutting. Once the height and width of the diamond are determined, it is shaved and shaped with another diamond by turning it on a specially designed high-speed lathe.

After the cutting process, faceting and polishing stages come. The diamond specialist completes the process with special cutting tools. This process is a very important stage that will determine the brilliance and luminosity of the diamond. After the diamond stones turn into diamonds that can be used in jewelry, the stages of jewelry production begin. Production steps are started according to the design to be applied. Production stages of jewelry are listed as casting, pre-polishing, stamping, and polishing.

Production Stages of Diamond Jewelry

  • Casting

The first step in realizing the diamond jewelry is the casting phase. There are molds of metal types such as gold and silver. Metals are melted in rubber molds in casting rooms. Then they are cooled, cut properly, and taken to the pre-polishing stage. By polishing the metal, the setting, which is the seat of the stone, is achieved with a bright appearance.

  • Setting

After the metal is polished, the diamond stones are set and compressed by performing a process called pinning. The setting process is a process that should be done with sensitive hand tools and meticulously. After this process, it is ground with the final polishing process.

  • Polishing

The last step of diamond jewelry production is the polishing and finishing process. For diamond rings, diamond necklaces, diamond earrings, diamond solitaires, diamond wedding rings, and all diamond jewelry, the final step to achieve their glamorous shine is the multi-step polishing process. The jewelry polishing process is carried out with different techniques, traditional and modern.

Ultimately, diamond rings, diamond necklaces, diamond earrings, diamond bracelets, which have gone through all these stages, are ready to be displayed in showcases and to meet with jewelry lovers.

How Jewelry Is Made at Home?

Jewelry can be made easily with the materials available at home. Very few materials are required to make jewelry at home. The materials required for jewelry making vary. It is possible to make jewelry with designs that can be used when making jewelry at home. In order to make jewelry at home, it is necessary to adopt a model and obtain its materials. It is very easy to make jewelry by learning the patterns of the jewelry.

It is enough to choose one of the patterns to make jewelry at home in the easiest way. In addition to necklaces and bracelets, they can be made in different products such as tiaras and bandanas. A string of any model should be chosen for making jewelry. Then, by stringing beads between the pattern to be made with a thread, the design will become more beautiful. It can be done in jewelry with different colored threads, medium thickness without beads. For this, in the case of a bracelet, a bracelet is made by rotating 3 color threads within themselves. For necklace making, it is enough to pay attention to the patterns of the thinner threads and find a beautiful pendant. Then, by making the tying points reverse knot, the tying part can be easily made.

Among the materials required for home jewelry making, there are many products such as threads of various colors, beads, pendants, recycling materials. A pattern should be chosen depending on what the jewelry is to be made. The important thing here is the way the different colored threads are attached. A beautiful bracelet can be made by putting 3 different colored threads side by side and passing a different thread between them. To make necklaces at home, old necklace chains or pendants can be combined. Necklaces and bracelets can be made according to patterns by attaching beads between the threads.

The ivy bracelet is a model that is both easy to make and has a nice appearance. What you need to make an ivy bracelet consists of string and beads. Beads must be strung on 3 different strings and then these 3 strings must be passed through each other. To make a necklace as a cultural model, small beads and large beads should be strung on 5 different strings. These ropes must then be tied together and hooked to their ends.

Now I will talk about making an earring and necklace model made using the Egyptian coil technique. You can make your own jewelry in your home very easily. You can even use it without the need for decoration and different stones. It looks great even on its own. Let’s cut a 15 cm long wire. And let’s fold the two ends of the wire we cut into a circle. Let’s slowly create another round of the same places. Let’s hold the middle of the wire and bend it.

Then, let’s give it the shape of a hook by bending it once more. Likewise, let’s prepare another piece and thread it into each other. Let’s keep doing it this way until you get the length you want. Let’s make sure we cut all strands to equal length. All coils are set equally. You can use 20-gauge wire for this. If you keep the tail of the coils too long, there will be a lot of space in between. Make sure it is balanced. You can increase the bends of the wire as you wish. Technically the same. You can use any color wire you want.

How Jewelry Prototypes Are Made

Prototype Production with Traditional Methods in Jewelry

The concept of jewelry used for decoration has emerged as a result of the relationships between the concepts of religion and nature and people. In the early days, people who made jewelry with all kinds of materials they found in their environment, after learning to melt and process the metal, shaped them into jewelry. Jewelry can be defined as the profession where precious metals and alloys such as gold and silver are melted and cast, processed into plates or wires, and then turned into jewelry.

Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, which has a great impact on the history of jewelry, which is very old, the concepts of creativity and mass production have become considered together and the production of products for commercial purposes has been facilitated. Central Asian jewelers have formed the foundations of today’s jewelry by using all known traditional jewelry making and decoration techniques. While producing jewelry with traditional methods such as handcrafting and casting, firstly design sketches are made, then basically, separate rubber molds are created for each design.

In order to create the molds, it is necessary to make a sample of the designed model first. This first model can be made of metal or by hand processing the jewelry material called model wax. The form is formed with chisels and hammers, followed by various ornamentation techniques. This process can take a long time as well as requiring mastery. A rubber mold is created with the model obtained.

Afterward, wax patterns are obtained by pressing wax on these molds. With wax models, a structure called a wax tree is created. By using the wax tree in precision casting molds, a model tree is obtained after casting. Parts in this tree are individually plucked and cleaned. Finally, precious or semi-precious stones are attached by processing the requirements of the decoration. In jewelry, traditional methods are used to decorate with many techniques.

As an example of jewelry making and decoration techniques; filigree, niello, granulation, enamel, plumping, and embossing techniques can be given. The quality of hand workmanship and craftsmanship are the most important criteria in these traditional techniques. Design is one of the most fundamental elements in the jewelry industry as in all other fields. Apart from being just an object, jewelry, embodied in the form of shaping stone, metal, organic and inorganic materials, have been designed and applied as an aesthetic object until today.

While shaping precious metals and stones such as gold and silver, to be able to address communities with different life cultures by maintaining this perspective; Reaching the masses with original jewelry designs and creating special jewelry for each person is possible with designers who keep pace with new technologies and the era.

Considering the problems of traditional methods such as quality of workmanship, long time spent, efficiency, originality, easy imitation, and lack of customization; The use of rapid prototyping technologies has become widespread in the jewelry industry in terms of saving time, production of equivalent quality, producibility of more difficult forms and freedom in design.

3D Printing Design Techniques and Prototype Production in Jewelry

In today’s world where technology is advancing rapidly in almost every sector, innovations in production bring many conveniences. The popularization of the design concept in parallel with these developments enabled technology and design to be influenced by each other. In this period, where traditional methods gave way to technology, product designers were able to create more original designs. With new technologies, designers can make products that are called “non-producible” and make them “manufacturable”.

When we look at the production area, additive manufacturing (AM) methods are at the forefront of new technologies. Today, rapid prototyping technologies’ use is rapidly increasing in many other fields, especially in automobile, aviation, medical, jewelry, and architecture. From a design perspective, AM provides greater design freedom to make forms that are impossible to produce using conventional manufacturing techniques.

Using this new technology, designers can reveal a more perfect design and test their own designs by examining the prototypes in different variations they have designed without any restrictions for their creativity. On the other hand, the high rate of error and the long time that is taken in prototypes made by handcrafting in traditional methods constrain the designer in terms of both processing time and design flexibility.

In this respect, AM technologies provide serious advantages especially in the jewelry sector where design and creativity come to the fore. In addition, these technologies are suitable for meeting the high market demand for customized, tailor-made jewelry products.

AM is widely used by jewelry designers and companies using direct and indirect production methods, with the use of the prototype of the product at the design stage, in the evaluation of the accuracy, aesthetics, and functional adequacy of the pre-manufacturing design, the manufacturability of the designed product, the evaluation of its assembly and disassembly.

With the usual manufacturing methods, this prototyping phase gets longer and the margin of error increases. Rapid prototyping technologies, which are becoming widespread today, facilitate the preparation of molds in prototype production and eliminate manual workmanship, thus providing prototypes in a more accurate and short time.

Prototype Production with Additive Manufacturing in Jewelry

Additive manufacturing according to the definition of ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials) international F42 committee, is the process of building materials in layers in order to produce various objects by using computer-aided 3D model data. Although prototype production is the first area where this production method is applied, it has become the most widely used method in the product development process, either directly or indirectly.

The most important innovation that additive manufacturing methods bring to production is that it enables production independent from classical factory systems. This development, which is the last stage of innovative production processes, carries the production out of the factory to the home and office environment. This new generation manufacturing method, which is becoming widespread in many sectors such as medicine, dentistry, aviation and space industry, automotive, and jewelry, includes technologies that work with the same method but with different approaches according to the area of ​​use.

The most common of these are stereolithography (SLA), melt-up modeling (FDM), selective laser sintering (SLS), selective laser melting (SLM), electron beam melting (EBM), multi-jet modeling (MJM). Within the scope of the study, detailed information will be shared about these methods, which are widely used in the jewelry industry. It has a very important place in the jewelry and diamond sector thanks to its rapid prototyping technologies, high precision, the possibility of using different materials from machines to direct casting and molding.

Although it is a profession based on hand workmanship, technology has taken its place in the sector by proving its superiority over hand workmanship in the jewelry sector where the competition shows itself the most. When we look at prototype production in the jewelry industry, the benefits of rapid prototyping technologies compared to traditional methods are quite high. The most important contribution of rapid prototyping technologies is that it enables the production of fractals, geometric patterns and extremely complex forms that cannot be produced in physical form.

Many designs today have become easy to copy. Especially in the jewelry sector, the copying time is very short. In such a competitive environment, there is a need for models that require technology to be produced or cannot be copied manually. Models that are too complex to be copied by silicon molding can be easily built with rapid prototyping technologies, which are successful in making jewelry with complex geometries that require laborious manual labor or cannot be made by hand.

Designers using these technologies can develop models that are more original, innovative, less fearful of production, hard to copy, salable, original, customer-focused, without considering the competence of the masters. The jewelry sector is a result of the consumers’ need for decoration and differentiation. Users prefer personalized products, both in terms of status and as a way of expressing themselves. This personalization effort makes it necessary to make a personalized design.

Thanks to rapid prototyping methods, users can intervene in the design phase without hesitation when necessary, and thus more special designs can be created. Rapid prototyping technologies increase the satisfaction rate by involving the user in the design and production process. Additive manufacturing methods optimize production processes in the jewelry sector by increasing competition, minimizing the damage to the environment, increasing the role of the designer in manufacturing, supporting the use of free form, establishing a direct relationship between the customer and the sector.

Rapid prototyping methods are used directly or indirectly in making prototypes in the jewelry sector. While the frequently used rapid prototyping methods that provide direct production are SLS and SLM, the rapid prototyping methods used indirectly in production are determined as FDM, SLA, and MJM.

Rapid Prototyping Methods Commonly Used in Jewelry Making

  • SLA (Stereolithography)

Stereolithography, the first rapid prototyping system, is the 3-dimensional version of the lithography technique, which has been used for two-dimensional prints in printing for a long time. Using the CAD model data, the photopolymer resin in a pool is cured at the desired points with laser beams and hardened. Photopolymer is polymer materials that solidify under UV rays. After the outer walls of each layer are cured adhering to the computer model, the pool where the model is located goes down one layer.

With the help of a wing, a new liquid layer is covered on the surface. With this method, the resin that is hardened layer by layer is extracted from the last model pool. Support structures need to be set up in order to build the part in the process. These structures are planned in advance in the CAD program. After the production of the parts is completed, the support parts can be easily cleaned by hand. Photopolymer resins and ABS plastic derivatives can be produced with SLA technology. The most commonly used materials are Epoxy and Acrylic.

In jewelry, this technology is used indirectly in mold production. The designed product is modeled in the CAD program and its prototype is produced by the SLA method. This prototype is used in the production of silicone/rubber molds. Wax models are formed by waxing on silicone/rubber molds. These wax models are assembled on the so-called wax tree and a gold or silver tree is created by precision casting. Models plucked from wood are made ready for use after polishing and finishing.

With this method, it gives very good results in precision casting, as models with high accuracy and smooth surfaces can be produced. It also allows the production of detailed models in very small sizes. The use of the SLA method in jewelry does not change the traditional jewelry production stages. However, it provides a more perfect first model formation as it eliminates the manual workmanship in the first model produced after the design/sketch phase. Maximum quality production can be made by minimizing the margin of error that may occur in hand workmanship. In addition, it saves time by producing in a shorter time than manpower.

  • FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)

In this technique, which emerged in 1988, the thermoplastic material, which is the construction raw material, is fed into the device in the form of thin plastic wire (filament) wrapped in a reel. Thanks to the controlled drive mechanism, the filament fed to the nozzle are made semi-melted. By extruding the plastic or wax material through the nozzle, the model is formed in layers over the cross-section geometry of the product that was previously modeled on CAD.

Model material is in the form of thin plastic filament. After the plastic flows from the nozzle, it suddenly hardens and sticks to the layer below. After the construction of one layer is completed, the platform goes down and builds the other layer in the same way. With this technique, it is possible to manufacture multi-part, movable mechanisms, and complex parts. ABS, polyamide, polycarbonate, polyethylene, polypropylene, and precision casting wax can be used as model material.

Again, as in SLA, the support material is used. The low cost of production can be considered as one of the most prominent features. FDM method indirectly contributes to the production of jewelry. According to the material used in this method, the same steps can be repeated by producing the first model as in the SLA method, as well as using wax material for precision casting, the production is shortened by 2 stages according to SLA.

After the wax models produced with FDM are arranged on the wax tree, gold or silver models are obtained by the precision casting method. Since there is a support material used in production with FDM, a cleaning process is required after the production of wax models. Therefore, this situation causes a loss of time among other rapid prototyping methods.

  • SLS / SLM (Selective Laser Sintering / Selective Laser Modeling)

SLS and SLM technique is basically a method that is performed by solidifying powder materials in layers with a laser using CAD model data. The powder particles used as construction material are spread out in a thin layer in a planar manner. In CAD modeling, previously selected regions are scanned with a laser beam. With the heat generated at the points where the beam hits the surface, the powder material partially melts or sintered and fuses with other powder particles with which it is in contact.

In SLS / SLM methods, the need for finishing processes such as sandblasting and painting can be considered a disadvantage. On the other hand, the high rate of re-use of used powder material outside of the process area leads to material saving advantages. Among the materials that can be used; A wide range of raw materials is available, with composite powders consisting of wax, nylon, polycarbonates, plastic, metal, or ceramic powders and mixtures of these. With SLS / SLM methods, direct production of the final product that will reach the end user is enabled.

There are machines specially designed for the use of precious metals such as gold or silver powders for use in the jewelry industry. Since the reuse of residual material after processing is of great importance in terms of efficiency, these specialized machines have waste bins. In jewelry, this method is used directly in the production of the final product. Again, the CAD modeled design is produced directly and becomes ready for use after the final process.

Thanks to this method, even single-piece products with interlocking, knitted, and similar complex structures can be produced at high quality. In this way, it becomes an economical method for both single parts and special mass production. By using SLS technology in jewelry, traditional jewelry production processes can be completely eliminated and direct production of the desired complex form can be achieved. It is an efficient method with time-saving, high quality, and low labor cost, without the need for mold production.

  • MJM (Multi Jet Modeling)

The MJM method is basically similar to inkjet printers and is based on the process of spraying the material from the print head with hundreds of nozzles and curing it with UV light. In the multi-jet modeling technique, photopolymer resin, which is liquid at room temperature, is transferred to the injection block moving in 2 axes. There are different nozzles on the block according to the devices. Each nozzle of material is sprayed to create a layer on top of an empty table.

As soon as the sprayed raw material is discharged, it is solidified by freezing or cooling by ultraviolet lamps. After the first layer is completed, the platform goes down in the Z-axis and the other layer is built. This process is repeated until the model is finished.

In jewelry, this method is used indirectly in production. As with the SLA method, the first model production with MJM is carried out in high quality. Then, a rubber mold is created with this model and the ongoing processes are repeated exactly as in other methods. It is superior to traditional methods with its quality and time-saving in wax model production. With this method, it is possible to produce highly detailed parts such as filigree, concept models, and design prototypes.

Best Ruby Jewelry That You Can Buy Online

Savaş Ateş

I like reading books. I like to read about jewelry too. After reading a lot of books about it, I have started to visit jewelry manufacturers and stores. It is my number 1 hobby.

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