Navigating the Jewelry Industry: Get to Know the Key Players

Decades ago, creating jewelry used to be a more streamlined, easy process. Typically a designer or artist would draw out the desired product from 3 different sides in great detail. Even the dimensions would be included in this drawing.  The drawing would be taken to a “model maker,” a skilled artisan that would transform the drawing into a wax or metal-model.  The master model gets rubber modeled and is now ready for production. The casting house would hold onto the rubber mold, and you would order the units as needed. After the casting house to finishing house where they could supply stone, chains, and finish the setting.

Nowadays, there are more players in the jewelry manufacturing industry. Here is a list of the people that will help you get your product idea off the paper and into the hands of your customers.

Jewelry Designer

To get the process started, the jewelry must first be designed. A jewelry designer may have a detailed drawing of the intended piece, or an entrepreneur can have rough sketches. No matter the skill of the art, the drawing is taken to a jewelry caster or casting house.

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Jewelry Caster

Casting companies can take a sketch and translate the design into a detailed CAD drawing, usually using Rhino program. Once the design is in this digital format, a wax machine will “print” a prototype for the brand and caster to examine.

ring jewelry wax pattern

A few iterations may take place, usually taking up to 2 weeks. Once the ideal prototype is agreed upon, the 3D printed wax turned into a metal or silicone mold. This mold is used to “cast” your jewelry with the desired metal, usually gold or silver.

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pouring hot metal into jewelry mold

Diamond-Dealer

Diamond sellers, or diamantaires is where you select and buy your diamonds. These individuals are experts in different types of gemstones, particularly when it comes to increasing the value and quality of a rough or raw diamond. They are highly skilled craftsmen or artisans who are responsible for cutting, polishing and transforming a rough diamond into a finished gemstone ready for setting.

Color-Stone Dealer

Also known as gemstone dealers or gemologists, includes jewelers who are trained and are qualified to identify and evaluate gems. If you are looking for a color-stone specialist, outside of diamonds, this is who you would contact.

Chain Manufacturer

chains jewelry earwings

For jewelry that includes chains, such as necklaces and bracelets, you will need to reach out to a chain manufacturer.  In addition to chains, they carry jewelry making supplies in a variety of finishes and metals: antique brass, antique copper, gunmetal, black, gold plate, rose gold plate, silver plate, brushed silver plate and stainless steel.

Big Supply House

Big supply houses are like a one-stop shop for just about anything. Rio Grande and Stuller are among the largest jewelry manufacturing and distribution facilities. Stuller is based in Louisiana, and an industry leader in the domestic and international wholesale jewelry sectors. You can find a complete range of products and services from design technology to core product like gemstones, metals, and tools.

Finishing House

This is the last step in jewelry manufacturing, and essential to making sure your product in ready for market. A finishing shop usually includes a up to 10 different specialties from plating to polishing. If you can’t get to a finishing house, an alternative is hiring specialists that work freelance.

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Learn all the steps from design to making your first jewelry sample  from our industry experts.


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