I had to chance to visit a few “Techno-Jewelers” in Seattle last week who have found CAD/CAM solutions to grow their business.
Teresa and I left Portland on Thursday hoping to spend some quality time over the weekend at Gig Harbor with friends so on Friday morning we started out in one of the downtown jeweler’s buildings at Shodlt Design.
Sholdt is a 70 year old legacy jeweler who caters to retail jewelers with a beautiful bridal line with a distinctive designer look. Sholdt has long been known by the upper crust jeweler offering platinum, gold and now joining a growing number of designers offering 950 palladium designs. Brian Sholdt gave me a tour of his facility and told me about his use of Gemvision’s Matrix software and Revo wax mill to meet the design needs of his clients. It is obvious that Sholdt has been able to increase their offerings dramatically using CAD/CAM technology. Sholdt will be showing their CAD creations for 950 palladium in Las Vegas at the Couture show next month.
Our next stop was a visit with an innovative custom retailer Jim Tuttle, at Green Lake Jewelers. The studio is a free standing building that was once a large restaurant but has since been converted to a custom CAD/CAM jewelry experience. Jim has two Gemvision Revo mills with one on the sales floor for clients to see the wax milling process up close and personal. He employs several goldsmiths, casters, and setters who have all been trained on Gemvision Matrix and work directly with their clients to design quality product. While there was ample product on display in showcases, it was obvious that Jim’s focus on custom jewelry has reduced his reliance on live inventory instead relying on virtual inventory displayed on the many large scale video screens throughout the store. This may be one of the best examples I have seen in the application of technology for the next generation Techno-Jeweler.
Our last stop was with the internet jeweler Better than Diamonds whose niche is lab grown gems that they market worldwide to the consumer. Less Wright, president of BTD uses 3Design CAD software to create classic designs in platinum, gold, and palladium which will contain his lab grown diamonds including, pinks, yellow, and blues. Their choice of the 3Design CAD parametric software can save both time and money for manufacturers that need to offer designs in a variety of finger sizes. One of the best benefits of CAD/CAM for internet jewelers is that physical inventory may not needed…. It can all be renderings or “virtual inventory” until the order is placed…..
There are so many examples of CAD/CAM being implemented for fine jewelry these being just a few. As we face difficult times in our industry, volatile metal prices and economic uncertainty, it seems like CAD/CAM may be the only way we can re-invent our business models. Next month in Las Vegas, I hope that you will take the time to consider this move for your business. If you would like to just talk about opportunities in CAD/CAM in person, Teresa and I will be at the JCK Las Vegas in our Booth 60300. I will also be making a presentation for MJSA, Monday, June 2 on CAD Rendering for Advertising and Promotion.
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