If you have been thinking of starting a jewelry business, doing it all by yourself by making and selling the jewelry, the good news is that it would be possible for you actually to make the jewelry.
But it is not an easy, simple, or cheap process, which means that for you to make good profit margins ultimately, you need to understand the entire process and know everything to expect from the jewelry manufacturing process.
So, in the rest of this article, we’ll share a comprehensive guide for everything you need to know about the jewelry manufacturing process.
Jewelry Manufacturing Process
Jewelry also referred to as the body’s ornament can be defined as an important art piece. It has been around for centuries and has been created by big and small brands.
Often, jewelry creators refer to themselves as contemporary jewelers or art creators, which could be you, too, especially if you want to make the best out of the jewelry scene.
These ornaments are often made of gemstones, precious stones, or even cheaper metal options. However, it is not enough for you to know what materials are made if there is much more to the manufacturing process than meets the eye.
This is because the whole jewelry creation process is much or less a form of micro-engineering, and even the traditional form of jewelry design can be seen through the same light.
This is the case because even traditional jewelry manufacturing involves the use of production materials and objects, using metals and gemstones with a high level of accuracy.
Most jewelry pieces are made of high-quality precious metals like gold, silver, palladium, and platinum, and the parts made of these materials are often more expensive and valuable.
But you also have cheaper options that are made of more inexpensive materials like pewter or steel, materials that are often connected to make chains, among other types of jewelry.
The pieces could also be set with different stones, polished, or enameled. The jewelry is often created through different techniques and materials, and there is also the use of varying cutting, soldering, and casting methods.
Below is a breakdown of the processes employed in the jewelry creation process.
1. Jewelry Design Process
This is the most important step in jewelry creation. You can either design the jewelry pieces by yourself, or you could work with a designer to develop the best jewelry designs.
When working with a professional designer, it is important to make sure that the designer understands the pitfalls and potential in designing specific types of jewelry and using different materials—an understanding of how the jewelry will work in relation to the shape of the body.
2. CAD & CAM
The second important step during jewelry manufacturing, after the initial design stage, is the CAD/CAM stage.
It is an essential part of the production process and employs CAD software. CAD or Computer Aided Design technology is a 2D and 3D design technology that ensures the quality and accuracy of designs while also enabling the creation of a jewelry manufacturing database.
After the software completes the process, the same designs are printed on paper and then designed again using the system.
3. Model making and rubber molding
In model-making, the resin output is converted into a silver model – the silver model is part of the master design used for creating similar jewelry pieces through rubber molds.
The rubber molds help to create multiple components of the jewelry they design.
4. Cutting and metal forming
Next, after settling on the design of the jewelry is to cut the metals needed for cutting jewelry into specific units or elements, which are then formed into pieces of jewelry.
Note that cutting is the most important step in jewelry making and most jewelry creators use piercing saws or laser cutting machinery.
After cutting, the next important step is metal forming, which involves shaping the jewelry metals. Forming or shaping takes place through different processes like bending, hammering, sinking, raising over the stake, and die-forming, among other processes.
Other jewelry designers also use hand-pierced materials for metal forming, while others employ digital techniques that result in the production of dies necessary for the press-forming of silver vessels.
Soldering can be defined as the joining of metals with heat. Soldering is often done in different ways, but the most common way of soldering metals is by using a gas torch.
In recent days, TIG Welding and Laser Welding are the most common soldering techniques used in jewelry making today.
After soldering, the jewelry pieces are cast together. Wax models are often used for casting, after which the wax molds are foxed with molten metals.
Casting is a complex and also highly specialized process in jewelry creation. Casting is necessary for the rapid production of multiple jewelry units; without the casting process, the production of the jewelry units would be impossible.
Depending on the jewelry designs, the waxes used are either carved by hand or you could opt for the options offered by specialist wax carvers.
Alternatively, the wax molds could be created using digital mills. So while most jewelers prefer casting their unique work by themselves, most other jewelry creators prefer the cast options by specialty companies.
You will be happy to know that there are numerous casting companies you could try out, and they all offer the best quality casting wax molds.
7. Filing, Assembly/ and Pre-polishing
After casting and grinding the jewelry to get rid of the nub, which is created after the casting process, the jewelry goes through filing to remove excess solder and metal.
After filing, the jewelry pieces are assembled with at least 2 joints or components. Assembly is often done using soldering or lasering. After polishing, the pieces are pre-polished.
After the metal is cast in the wax molds, stones can be cast on them. Historically, stone setting has been a separate job, and it is not considered a jeweler’s job, but things have changed, and today, it is a common skill that jewelers employ.
All jewelry creators now fit gemstones on the finished metal castings, creating elaborate jewelry pieces that are almost ready for wearing.
While most jewelry creators will also set stones on the jewelry, there still are specialty stone setters who deal with specialty settings.
For specialized pieces of jewelry, a number of jewelers still prefer working with specialty stone-setters.
After stone-setting, jewelers will take the jewelry through a process called enameling. This process is defined as the coloring of the jewelry’s metallic elements and, subsequently, the application of fused and colored glass onto the surface of the jewelry.
It is worth noting that as you advance in the jewelry-making process, the steps become more specialized and focused, and enameling is one such specialized steps.
It often requires highly specialized skills, which is why most jewelers will outsource this part of the work. Enameling has become a popular process in the jewelry world today.
After stone-setting and enameling, the next step in jewelry making is polishing. This is the other finishing step and is also effectively the last jewelry production stage.
Polishing is also done by specialists, especially in places like London and Birmingham; jewelers often take care of the polishing processes by themselves.
The last two steps are rhodium plating and quality control
Are there digital processes and techniques employed in jewelry manufacturing?
Well, yes, and an impressive array of digital processes are applied to jewelry manufacturing. These processes include digitally producing wax models and casting the metal models through the lost-wax-casting processes.
Another important digital jewelry manufacturing process is called laser sintering, which is a process that is often applied to form metal objects that aren’t mainstream yet, a challenge that comes from the high cost of this process.
Instead, water-cutting and laser-cutting are now more popular, especially for non-metallic jewelry materials such as leather, plastic, and wood.
Some high-end jewelry manufacturers use digital technologies in all processes, while several other companies employ laser-cutting techniques.
If you are interested in jewelry making, the steps above must be followed to create the best pieces on the market today.
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.