While many shopping for diamond or other fashion jewelry are rightfully concerned with the stone quality and other aesthetic areas, some have a tendency to overlook the importance of the manufacturing process. There are a couple different formats used when creating beautiful jewelry pieces, each with their own sets of benefits and drawbacks depending on the needs and desires of the buyer.
At AAA Jewelers, we’re happy to go over the manufacturing methods involved for any of our engagement rings or fashion jewelry items at your request, helping you understand important details about how they were made that often impact their pricing and quality. Broadly speaking, two primary such styles are available on the jewelry market: Handmade jewelry and cast jewelry. This two-part blog will go over some basics on each, plus how to choose between them if you aren’t sure.
Firstly, we want to dig into a few common issues with terminology when it comes to these manufacturing areas. Specifically, the term “handmade” is often incorrectly used on both sides of the spectrum, and we want to be sure you have the proper information here.
If you want a piece of jewelry that is created from scratch by the hands of a jewelry craftsman, hand fabrication is the only method available. Certain casting formats may be advertised with various “handmade” tags or lines – these could refer to parts of their creation, sure, but casted jewelry will require additional manufacturing techniques to aid in the process.
Now, let’s get to some of the basics on each of these types.
For most retailers, the more common method of jewelry manufacturing is known as casting. Casting involves pouring molten metal into various molds, which are created by carving or waxing a model of the finished product. The model is then covered in plaster and heated, causing the wax to melt and leaving space open inside for the molten metal to be poured in. Finally, the plaster is removed once the metal is cooled to reveal the final piece, which is polished and set with stones as necessary.
Some of the benefits of casting include its efficiency and pricing – it’s more affordable than handmade jewelry since it requires less time and labor. It can also produce in larger volumes, as multiple molds can be used at once. It also produces very precise designs, a major factor for many buyers.
On the downside, there are risks of porosity within castings – small air holes that may cause weaknesses. However, these risks have diminished over time as casting technology has improved. Additionally, casting cannot create truly unique, one-of-a-kind pieces in the same way hand-crafting can, and mixed-metal designs are not possible with casting. This also means certain fine details might be tougher to obtain based on limited metal durability.
For more on cast jewelry and handmade jewelry, or to learn about any of our diamond rings, jewelry appraisals or other services, speak to the staff at AAA Jewelers today.