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Custom Design Your Wedding Ring With Tips From A Pro

Jan 21, 2008
Once you receive your engagement ring you may spend hours staring at it while dreaming about a wedding ring and how it should fit. There are amazing engagement ring styles being made today and some of them come with wonderful matching wedding rings however, many don't. I've seen couples travel from jewelry store to jewelry store in search of a perfect wedding band only to be disappointed when they realize that nothing fits properly with their ring. When they stumble upon a jeweler that can provide a custom designed wedding band they find it difficult to make a decision. This is largely due to the jewelers inability to provide a life-like sample or illustration of how the ring is going to look when its finished. Most people have a difficult time visualizing conceptual items like custom jewelry because they don't know what to expect and also because the design is in the jeweler's mind not theirs.

An experienced and professional custom jeweler will have the skills needed to provide a detailed account of how your ring will look. In addition, he/she should be a good communicator while assessing your needs and transferring those needs in to the actual jewelry design. Without proper translation of your wants and desires the ring may not be everything you dreamed of and a good custom jeweler will understand this. Bottom line is this...Great wedding rings are created not by great jewelers but also great communicators. When selecting a craftsman to make your wedding ring, examine the person's portfolio of previous work, but also take note of how you both work together. If you have good synergy and communicate well together then you'll have a better chance of getting an amazing wedding ring that you'll be happy with.

Another important variable is the person doing the assembly of your custom wedding ring; the person designing your ring may not be the person making it. The designer that you work with could do a wonderful job creating a concept for your item but the jeweler making it could be a poor craftsman or bad interpreter of your designer's concept. If the designer isn't the person making your ring then you should get a feel for how the two work together. Ask to meet the craftsman and have a joint discussion to determine if everyone is on the same page. While we are on the subject of the craftsman, make sure that the jeweler actually assembling the ring can provide examples of his craftsmanship. A jeweler without adequate experience in custom jewelry design may set diamonds poorly or weld metal improperly. This can result in a finished product that doesn't look good or you could receive a ring with a history of problems like stone loss from its setting. There are credentials that help determine how qualified a jeweler is at making custom jewelry. One such credential is the Jewelers of America (JA) Master Jeweler program. A person that is certified by JA to be a "Master Jeweler" is certainly the most qualified person for the job and you can be rest assured that he has been tested in all areas of jewelry making.

The next thing you should understand is how the jewelry is actually made. When making custom jewelry, the designer will of course first create a concept for you. Once you feel comfortable with the design a counter sketch or illustration is given to a model maker along with your ring. The model maker will carve a wax prototype of your prospective wedding ring design based on these counter sketches. This model maker should take in account all the design elements that are important to you while providing a ring that best compliments your engagement ring and its specific features. It's always a really good thing when a model maker can identify things about your engagement ring that make it special. He/she can then re-create those special features in your design; this will make the two rings look like they were made for each other from the start. Special features can include methods of diamond setting, precious metal types, profiles, heights, widths, etc. The wax prototype should be used for two purposes, the first is a sample that you can try on or rest next to your engagement ring. This prototype will be very useful because it will give you a very good idea of how the wedding band will look when it is finished. If you're not happy with the original design or you would like to make changes it shouldn't be a problem because the ring isn't made yet, it's just a wax model.

After the appropriate changes are made and you approve the final prototype, a jeweler will make mold of the wax. The prototype wax is placed in a flask and filled with plaster. Once the plaster hardens, the flask is placed in an oven and the wax model is burned out of the flask leaving a cavity in the exact impression of your design. The flask is then injected with molten metal and once the metal cools the plaster is broken away leaving you with a casting of the jewelry design. This casting is filed, polished and then the final assembly process begins.

Another thing to look for is the use of new technologies when creating your custom wedding ring design. The best example of this is 3D Computer Aided Design or otherwise known as CAD design. Recent advances in this arena have allowed for amazing possibilities when designing jewelry. CAD software is used to create a computer model of the design and then is sent to a CNC (computer numerical control) mill that cuts the wax in a very precise manner. The benefit of CAD design is the capability to create very precise jewelry designs that are for more accurate than a hand-carved wax model. In the end, the precision of the CAD wax allows for much more intricate design capabilities and also finer quality assembly. The CAD models can also be rendered using graphical interfaces such as Flamingo3D, which use both raytracing and radiosity to make a life-like illustration of the design. This computer rendering is far more useful in depicting your design then a drawing scribbled on scratch paper.

Currently, only a handful of jewelers are using 3D CAD design technology and this is due to the high cost of the software, equipment, and training. You should however, check with your local jeweler or do an Internet search to see who is available to use this technology. Whenever possible, choose the person that employs the use of 3D CAD because you'll get a better quality product. You can learn more about this process and viewed at http://www.rokstok.com. Keep in mind that not all jewelers using 3D CAD are automatically qualified to make your wedding ring. You still need to qualify them just as you would a person that is using traditional techniques to make your item. In the end, the best way to go about your design is to screen the people making your item and assess their communication skills to determine if they understand your needs.
About the Author
Andy Moquin has spent 16 years in the jewelry business buying and selling over $20,000,000 in diamonds and custom jewelry. He can be reached at: learn about diamonds custom jewelry design andrews jewelers
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