Precious Metals & Bench:Metalsmithing
Jewelers become custom-design wizards with the help of computer software
and electronic libraries of findings and gemstones
If a picture is worth a thousand words, what's it worth when you can
create a digital image of a ring your best customer asked you to design
but couldn't find the exact words to describe? Computer software programs
offer the opportunity to redesign existing jewelry or start from scratch
using storehouses of findings and gemstones to mix and match until you come
up with a combination that charms the customer.
The GemVision DG3 Digital Goldsmith System by Gemvision Corp., Bettendorf,
IA, was an instant hit with Tom Wright, co-owner of Wright's Jewelers Inc.,
Lincoln, NE. "The first week we had it, a customer looked at a ring
but wasn't sure she liked the stones in it," he says. "We photographed
it with the GemImage jewelry imaging camera, brought it up on the computer
screen for her to see and reset it with the princess-cut diamonds she thought
she would like better." It turns out she didn't like the princess cut,
so she and Wright experimented with different center and side stones until
finding a combination she liked. "We made an $8,500 sale," he
This exemplifies what users of Digital Goldsmith believe to be one of
its strongest features. "It's a marketing tool," says Arthur Gordon,
an award-winning designer and owner of Arthur Gordon's Fine Jewelry in Oklahoma
City, OK. In fact, all the jewelers Professional Jeweler spoke
with say that while the system is useful as a design program, its greatest
benefit is in improved customer relations. Gordon, for example, has used
it since June 1998 for designing, cataloging and in conjunction with appraisals.
He also is president of the GemVision Users Club, set up to share ideas
on how to get the most out of the system.
The GemVision DG3 system gives you the ability to create
original designs, as demonstrated here by setting an uncut, unpolished opal
in different pendant mountings on a computer screen. The opal is courtesy
of The Opal Center, New Zealand.
Your customers can mix and match gemstones and mountings
from a library built into the Gemvision system. The basic mounting shown
on this page with different gems is from Stuller Settings, # 5604.
The DG3 System includes jewelry design software for Windows 95/NT and the
GemImage jewelry imaging camera. By combining the camera with the software,
you can photograph pieces you have in stock or that a customer brings in
and make changes to the piece on the computer screen as the customer watches
and makes suggestions.
The design software contains a library of findings and gems you can use
to create an almost limitless variety of designs without having to stock
The system costs $13,850, the software alone is $5,600 and the prices
include a four-day training program. Many companies lease the system for
about $300 per month, says Bill Letwin, Gemvision's vice president of sales
and marketing. This price includes the training.
Wright invested about $16,000 in his system, which included a Gateway
computer with a 21-in. color monitor. The extra investment was worthwhile,
he says, because of the dramatic effect the larger image has on customers.
The images also can be printed on photo-quality paper for use as counter
displays, print media advertising, fliers, direct mail promotions and appraisals.
You also can use the system to take one piece such as a ring or
pendant and design a matching ensemble.You can use it to create corporate
and award jewelry by photographing a company logo or business card. And
you can even create individualized pieces from family crests.
GoldPro PC Toolbox, sold by Gold International Machinery Corp., Pawtucket,
RI, is another innovative system featuring digitized scanning. The system
translates a screen image into a blueprint for modeling and is connected
to machines that make a custom model.
GoldPro's software, JewelCAD, is a three-dimensional computer-aided design
program. Once you complete the initial design, you can experiment with it
by choosing different shapes, sizes and colors of components from a software
Once the design is completed, JewelCAD transfers the file to a Gold International
machine such as GoldPro ModelMaker (prices vary and are available upon request),
which creates a castable 3-D wax model with accuracy to 0.0005 inch. It
also can link the software to milling machines such as the GoldPro MODELA
($995), which makes milled wax models, or to the GoldPro PNC-2300 3-axis
milling machine ($4,995), which makes wax, brass or aluminum milled models.
JewelCAD software operates under a Windows 95 or NT environment. A Pentium
166 with 32MB RAM is sufficient to run the system, but Gold International
recommends a Pentium 200 with 64MB RAM for maximum performance. The JewelCAD
system sells for $3,950 plus shipping and handling. A demo model is available
For more information on computer programs for custom design:
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.