According to statistics, the jewellery industry in Australia will be worth up to a whopping $4 billion in 2020. Such mammoth numbers underline the importance of the sector to the country’s economy, as people look to treat themselves or their loved ones to a new watch, a set of earrings or perhaps an engagement ring.
Within the industry, there is a fundamental divide between mass or machine produced jewellery and those items that are handmade. The fast-paced nature of the modern business environment means technologies are constantly being developed toincrease efficiency, saving both time and moneywhile striving to uphold the quality of the product.
There’s no denying that the technology available to jewellers has come a long way in a short space of time, but those artisans who rely on handmaking their pieces continue to flourish without the use of such state-of-the-art equipment. So, how do they do it?
What are some of the technological advancements?
The advent of CAD/CAM software means designs can be swiftly created, worked on, edited and transferred among different employees within a jewellery manufacturing company. Additionally, 3D printing has had a huge impact, ensuring designers can work with a range of materials to produce a tangible representation of the initial plans. It can also offer customers the chance to be a part of the creation process, which adds an extra personal touch.
And lasers have proved to be a fundamental tool within the industry, being used for a host of functions including cutting, welding and decorating. They can also be used to carve unique ID marks on pieces, which helps to improve security and protect against fraud.
What is the process of crafting handmade jewellery?
As one might expect for a practice steeped in ancient history, there are many variants on how handmade jewellery is crafted, depending on the maker or the piece in question, among other factors.
The creation of a diamond ring, for example can involve many steps, including:
- Wax carving
- Gold casting
Once the band itself has been made, skilled craftsmen and women will use high-power magnifying glasses like those from RS Componentsto add the finishing touch – the diamond. In doing so, they will have to work extremely carefully and in painstaking fashion to ensure they do not damage the piece while conjuring a finished product that shows no sign of their work.
Why do people choose handmade over mass produced?
All of the above sounds like a long and laborious processbut for many, that all adds to the charm of the piece and is why a lot people seek to purchase handmade jewellery. In doing so, they’re guaranteed a truly unique product that is the only one of its kind. That adds a certain degree of sentimentality, which might provokefond memories of people or places for the owner.
The extra time spent on handmade items means they are often more expensive than their machine produced counterparts but, even if it means eschewing technology and perhaps running the risk of compromising on precision, it seems people are happy to pay extra for that personal touch.