Innovation Awards This Week

For nearly 40 years I have traveled to NYC in March to search for better ways to produce jewelry at theMJSA Expo New York. Unlike the other major jewelry trade shows, MJSA has always been focused on manufacturing technology and not so much on finished jewelry. In the 60’s when I traveled by train from Baltimore with my father, that meant finding casting, stamping, and all sorts of cool hand tools. Today, the tools are considerably different with most of them computer controlled but my quest remains the same each and every year.
.

 

.
Beginning in 2003, the MJSA Innovations Awards have been the only source of recognition for the advancement of jewelry manufacturing and today those manufacturers are designers, retailers, and trade shops looking for that edge to compete. I myself had the pleasure to be among the first recipients of the MJSA Innovation Award for the introduction of the EnvisionTec Perfactory CAM system so I pay particular attention to the winners each year. For 2008, the selection was difficult for our group of international judges resulting in three of the best products we have ever had. You can read the Press Release here on JCKonline for a summary and also look to my reviews of each winner over the next few days. 
.

 

.

Please quote me on this one “The most significant advance in metal finishing in 25 years”  I have never seen anything quite so amazing as the Dual Action Electo-Finisher presented by Rio Grande. OK.. I agree it does have a ridiculous name, but the results are absolutely incredible. After seeing a presentation on this galvanic system at the Santa Fe Symposium, I tested this device myself at the Rio Grande booth during the JCK Las Vegas show in June. I provided Eddie Bell a number of silver castings intended as master models from my CAD/CAM systems. After polishing the edges were perfect with no rounding and absolutely no loss of detail. With any other polishing method including a master’s hand we would expect to see some loss but with this machine… perfection…. and… oh, by the way… it is real fast. What would take 6-12 hours of cut and tumble took less than one hour.

 

At this point the machine is a little too large for my small shop and it only works well on silver and/or brass but, let me tell you now this product ushers in a whole new era in finishing that will make a big dent in our ability to compete with overseas finishing labor. If your business plan involves sterling silver jewelry this year, I suggest you beat a path to the Javitts Center in New York this weekend. You will not believe your eyes.

 

Unlike my early years on the train, Teresa Frye from Techform Advanced Casting and I will be flying in from Portland to attend MJSA Expo New York this year. We hope to see you there. Look for my review tomorrow on the new Mokume Gane for the Masses from my friend Jim Binnion and Steve Midgett at XPM.
.