True Custom Jewelry Design

What to do?

Make a mold of an old ring to reproduce it or use the CAD system to make a model?

We’ve all been there at one time or another. A client comes in with an heirloom ring that has years of wear and tear and they want you to make a new one for them exactly like the original.


So what do you do? Are you willing to spend the time, effort and money to recondition the old piece to a reasonable result? That works sometimes, when the worn out parts are not too far gone. Do you make a non-shrink silicone mold of the ring and then shoot some waxes and try to repair the wax? Or do you offer to recreate the ring as a brand new model by having a CAD/CAM service bureau duplicate the antique?

The disadvantage of trying to totally recondition the ring is not just the efforts that must be put in, but the fact that you might be opening a ‘can of worms.’ Applying a torch to one part might create new problems in other areas that cannot be anticipated and who amongst us hasn’t run into this problem? Previously repaired parts of the ring might just cause the entire piece to fall apart. Let’s not talk about stones falling out or prongs that need re-tipping. Basically, unless the reconditioning is reasonably simple, it just doesn’t pay to venture into the realm of the unknown when dealing with someone’s precious heirloom.

So how about just making a mold and reworking the wax? I have had to advise clients against this practice numerous times. Sure, when there are no or few stones it might be a viable solution but, in most cases, you are faced with too much wax work with slipshod results that will not serve as a proud representation of the quality you tout.

You want to present a piece to your client that will absolutely thrill them emotionally and ensure that they convey, through “word of mouth” advertising, your high standards of quality and service. In my humble opinion, only viable choice is CAD/CAM. An experienced CAD artist will be able to recreate the antique heirloom treasure to exact standards. The resulting rapid prototype and casting will be new and fresh. Prongs will be full size for proper stone setting. All the dimensions will be as they were when the piece was first created, so long ago.

Today it is easier than ever to achieve this level of success by sending the worn item to a quality CAD/CAM service bureau for reproduction and letting them create a sound new replication. The eventual outcome will allow for the ease of setting the stones from the antique into the new casting. The client can decide if they want to keep the heirloom for sentimental reasons or use the metal value toward the project. In either case, the focus will be upon the results of the reproduction. The client will proudly display the piece to family and friends and, in all likelihood, let them know where they had it created. To me, this is a win – win situation and can only serve to elevate your reputation in your business community. Of course, this scenario will lead to increased profits and more sales in the future with your satisfied customer and their referrals.

The latest CAD/CAM systems offer this unique choice to the customer. Most of the work will be handled by your custom design service bureau and, without the stress of working on an old, worn, heirloom, you will be free to concentrate on the sale and its excellent results.

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