GEM & JEWELRY ARTICLE

Handmade Jewelry Vs Casting

Most jewelry in the world today is mass-produced using a process called casting. Most people don’t know the difference between the age-old method of hand making fine jewelry and the more ubiquitous mass production of today.

Nicky Thomas

Gemstone & Jewelry
Style & Trends Editor


The majority of gemstone jewelry in the world today is mass produced using a process called casting. Most people don’t really know the difference between the age-old art of hand making fine jewelry and the more ubiquitous mass production of today. So what is the difference?...


CASTING GEMSTONE JEWELRY

Most of the jewelry you see today in your ‘mall’ jewelers and jewelry chain stores is cast jewelry. Hundreds of the same or very similar designs are created using a process called casting and calibrated (standardized sized) gemstones are simply dropped/set into them. Most of this cast jewelry is made in the Far East, places like Hong Kong, China and Thailand being the big centers of mass jewelry production. 

Calibrated Colored Gemstones and Ring Settings.jpg


Casting involves a design being created in a jewelry CAD program. This design is then sent to a 3D printer where a wax or resin model containing multiple versions of the same design or similar are printed.

CAD Jewelry Designing 3D Printed Ring Molds.jpg


These are then attached to a resin casting 'tree'. 


Jewelry Casting Tree.jpg




A specially mixed plaster, Investment Plaster, is then pored over the tree and placed in an oven.  Once the plaster has set, the wax or resin is melted out, leaving a cavity inside the plaster. Molten gold or other jewelry metal is then poured into this cavity.  Once this has cooled, the plaster is carefully broken and the individual jewelry pieces are clipped off the tree, polished and the calibrated gemstones are set into place.


Pouring gold gold jewelry tree.jpg


Casting is a very efficient method of producing jewelry for catalogs and volume business models. It is a process that has been necessitated by the rapid growth of the jewelry industry. It is a quick and economical method, especially when the same mold is used in the production of many pieces. Unfortunately individuality and uniqueness are lost. Quality is often forfeited for quantity, ease and speed. Some also feel that there is a loss of emotion connected with this process.

resin ring molds.jpg



Casting is now used in a number of fine Jewelry Houses around the world and as is the case with most things, there is casting and … there is casting. It all comes down to fine gemstone that is carefully selected, the design process around that unique gemstone, the care involved in the casting process and the level of craftsmanship involved in the setting of the stone(s) to create a fine piece of cast jewelry.




HANDMADE FINE GEMSTONE JEWELRY


These are unique pieces of jewelry, whereby every aspect of that piece has all been individually hand crafted. It is a process that requires a very high level of craftsmanship and is usually crafted from jewelry metal without the use of any mold, wax or other additions. A single piece of jewelry is worked on for days or weeks at a time by skilled goldsmiths with skill and a level of passion that has been passed down through many generations.


The process starts by choosing a fine gemstone and then a design is carefully created around that specific gemstone. The goldsmith then creates each and every aspect/socket/part of that piece by hand to fit that gemstone. Once all the individual metal parts are ready, they are skillfully put together and the gemstone(s) are carefully set and the final finished piece is polished to perfection.



A handmade piece of fine jewelry is naturally stronger as the metal has been hardened by the process of bending, rolling, shaping and hammering. At The Rare Gemstone Company we have been designing and hand making fine gemstone jewelry for over 30 years. Our gemologists, master gem cutters, jewelry designers and master goldsmiths work closely together to painstakingly create each custom designed piece.  

There is an element of romance and a sense of creating a unique story behind that piece of fine jewelry. From the very beginning when deciding on what you want to make, whether it is for someone special, to remember a special anniversary or occasion or the start of new chapter in your life. To selecting that gorgeous fine gemstone, then the design which may change from your original idea to then getting that beautifully crafted finished piece that fits perfectly around the stone you chose is a truly special and memorable journey.

The video below illustrates the ancient, highly skilled and almost romantic art of hand making fine gemstone jewelry.



“Handmade fine gemstone jewelry is a product of time, patience, accumulated knowledge and skill, making each piece, unique, valuable and irreplaceable.”  


Cast Fine Jewelry now available at The Rare Gemstone Company


We now also offer our clients the option of fine cast jewelry as well. By diversifying, and using both the traditional methods of free hand designing and CAD design with both hand made and cast methods we want to be able to offer our clients a modern yet personal service.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nicky Thomas

Educated at the University of Exeter and a key part of our team here at The Rare Gemstone Company, Nicky has been fascinated by gemstones and jewelry since childhood. She explores all areas of the industry in her blog and revels in the proximity to gems and jewels that working at the source of some of the world’s most beautiful and rarest gemstones provides her.

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