There’s been a movement to appreciate all things handmade. However, the line between handmade and not-handmade isn’t always clear, especially if you’re talking about the fine jewellery market. Some stone settings, for example, are designed on a computer and then hand-finished, while others are more ‘hand-made.’
Amidst all the debate is a software tool called Computer Assisted Design (CAD), that helps design, analyse and optimise a design. CAD exists to improve the efficiency of the design process and accuracy of designs. Some CAD design services allow jewellers to view 3D images and resins of their chosen design before casting, as offered by jewelcast.co.uk.
Although many jewellery manufacturers use CAD to mass-produce jewellery and do not involve any handmade elements, some pieces may have both handmade and CAD elements.
Tell-tale Signs When a Piece is Designed in CAD
Jewellery designed in CAD appears more precise and geometrically angled. It may be hard to observe with the naked eye, but there’s a distinct mechanical accuracy to pieces designed using CAD. On the other hand, handmade jewellery can have a subtle organic look. Bottom line: one method isn’t necessarily better than another, as it’s up to the customer which style they prefer.
It All Boils Down To Craft
For lovers of handmade items, it’s important to keep an open mind about other methods of production. It’s counterproductive to dub one particular technique as better. It all boils down to the craft and the craftsman – how effective the craftsman is at the job. Sometimes, this job means casting. Other times, it involves fabricating from raw materials or commercially available parts. And sometimes, it’s a combination of all these things.
As it is now, it’s increasingly important for UK jewellers to keep up with international trends and advanced standards. CAD has been heavily used for decades and combined with skyrocketing prices of metal it’s a good time for jewellers find out where to gain advantages and efficiencies in other forms.