Since 1997, Design Jewelers has been a growing business here in Santa Rosa’s Montgomery Village shopping center. Ken Gray, the owner is a very creative designer and jeweler, as well as a Graduate Gemologist. Ken uses a mix of the old lost wax casting method and the latest state of the art technology available today. His specialty is creating custom, one-of-a-kind jewelry designs. He sets his work with beautiful diamonds and gem quality colored stones from all over the world.
New technology is revolutionizing the jewelry industry. The technology that Ken now uses to create these designs is three-dimensional computer-aided design, or CAD, which has become more accessible and affordable in the past decade. CAD, and CAM which stands for computer aided milling, use has spread from large industries and Hollywood movies to smaller-scale businesses that deal with expensive materials or complicated designs.
CAD/CAM has allowed jewelry designers like Ken to greatly expand their design range, both in creativity and complexity. Prior to Ken’s use of CAD/CAM a piece of custom jewelry was carved by hand from a wax block. Making changes to a design often meant having to start the carving process over, consequentally, customer requested design changes were difficult to achieve without additional time related costs. With CAD, and it’s integrated milling machine, the difficulty of implementing design changes has been greatly reduced. By analyzing a CAD created wax model with the client, as compared to a two-dimensional sketch, a jewelry designer like Ken is better able to reach an understanding of the design that his client has in mind. Design changes are made in the CAD program and the piece is re-milled and shown to the client for approval.
Our clients have found the CAD design process relieves much of the anxiety associated with creating a new design from scratch. Their step-by-step involvement in the process ensures that the image in their mind is realized in the completed piece.
Design Jewelers, in spite of the difficult economic climate, has been thriving due in large part to this new technology. Having the ability to create one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, both for customers designs and the jewelry store’s inventory has been what separates us from competing brick-and-mortar jewelry stores and internet based businesses.