The 3D journey of an engagement ring
As a company, we value craftsmanship and innovation. We’re always looking to create improved methods of bringing your ring ideas to life. The opaque jewellery making industry and its manufacturing processes haven’t changed for hundreds of years. It is only recently that the process been disrupted with the introduction of 3D printing, altering the traditional way of making jewellery, allowing for a plethora of possibilities and creativity.
At Taylor & Hart, we have embraced this method as we believe it ensures jewellery of excellent quality, without losing the integrity and emotion of a piece. In this article, we explore the journey of a bespoke engagement ring and look at how 3D printing elevates the process, allowing our customers, designers and craftsmen to focus on what is truly important.
Stage 1: The initial design brief and sketch
To begin the process, each customer is connected with one of our design consultants through our website, where they can share their ideas and discuss their requirements. The design consultant will share their designs, sometimes even sketching some options, ready to be passed to the CAD (computer aided design) designer. The CAD designer then creates a 3D render of the ring design for the customer to review.
Stage 2: The creation of the CAD design on the computer
Using the design software Matrix, a four-view specification sheet, as shown above, is created. This is so each customer can see and understand the ring’s dimensions and view the design from all angles. Once finalised, this specification will be sent to the production team.
Using the brief or detailed sketches from the design consultant, the CAD designer creates a 3D render of the ring, ready to be printed in wax or resin. The render is then sent to the customer to see if they’re happy with their design.
Each design can be amended up to three times, so this is the time to give plenty of feedback and ask questions. After all, this ring is a collaboration between you and your design consultant.
Stage 3: The design is 3D printed
In this stage of the process, the CAD file is sent to the manufacturer to be printed. Sometimes, customers requests a physical copy of the print. This is where we use our in-house 3D printer to create a resin model of the ring.
The resin model is then sent to the customer, who can touch and feel the design–try it on for scale, see if they’re happy with the details and see if their estimated ring size is about right.
Our designer, Steff, prepares the CAD file for print and adds supports to the ring in CAD, in order for the structure of the ring to be realised.
The file is uploaded and the printer is ready to begin.
The 3D printer cures the resin using a UV light. The structure of the ring is formed, layer by layer.
Once the print is complete, the supports are clipped off, and the resin model is brushed over to remove any remaining residue.
The resin model is ready to be sent to the customer for size & scale approval!
Stage 4: The model is cast & ready to be set
If the customer is happy with the ring and proceeds with checkout, we then send the CAD file to production for it to be printed as a CAD wax file, and then cast in precious metals.
Our manufacturer polishes the ring and sets the side stones before the ring is sent back to our workshop in Hatton Garden, where the centre stone is set and finishing touches are completed.
Stage 5: The ring is ready for the customer!
After the centre stone is set, given a final polish, and the ring is then carefully checked for quality. The ring is then packaged and ready for the customer to collect!
The 3D printing process allows for a higher level of quality, efficiency and design. We use the technology to enhance the artistic process and our CAD designers are highly trained to give amazing results.
Creating a piece of fine jewellery is a collaborative effort, combining traditional craftsmanship with technology and expert methodology.