I’m sure some customers have been looking for me. When I spoke to my secretary by
phone, she told me she was extremely busy. Customers coming and going, and asking “Where’s John”?
The answer to that question, begins with this thought: I see on posts, blogs and advertisements all the time ‘master jeweler’ on premises. That’s just not the case at my shop. I tell my customers (kind of tongue in cheek) that I am just learning. Maybe after another forty seven years I’ll get it down.
What I really mean is that you can never stop learning. If you do, you might just as well pull the dirt in and take a nap.
I, on the other hand feel life is a learning experience. So, this week I have been in an underground bunker, in an undisclosed location on the east coast of the U.S. learning new tricks.
I purchased “Matrix” (by Gemvision) a year ago and have not been really able to get it to work. I’m not a computer dummy, maybe a 3 1/2 on a scale of 1 to 5. This program was just too complex. So I decided to spend another $3000+ for on site training and hotel rental and meals to get a handle on this software. Matrix is a 3D CAD program for custom design of jewelry. It uses a very complex commercial 3D CAD program called Rhinoceros (Rhino for short). And another program called VRay for final rendering that to most people looks actually like a photograph. Basically what it does is takes your vision for a custom piece of jewelery, be it a ring, pendent or even a really expensive cell phone cover and renders that idea into a picture that looks like a 3D photograph. All in perfect proportions and computer perfectly straight. If you approve the design, we can upload the file to a milling facility to make a wax model, which is then cast in metal. After we receive the metal item, we polish, set any stones, rhodium as necessary and viola’ a custom piece of jewelry. You are the only person on the face of the planet with your item. No longer will you need to shop around to find that perfect engagement ring.
When a customer previously came into my shop to have something made, I get an idea of what they are interested in, sketch out a design or two which typically looks like this:
Now when you come into my shop I can give you a rendering like this:
Or better yet, you can get something that looks almost like a photograph:
So, pretty cool huh? In the couple of weeks since I have been back from training I have already made several sales using Matrix. In fact I am enjoying working with my computer so much I will be taking further training in August and am considering the purchase of a milling machine to carve my own waxes for casting. This machine is pretty amazing. Put in a block of wax, hook my computer up, and with a series of whirs, buzzes and pings a series of drill bits cut a 3D wax model of my design. All for a mere $24,000! The main reason for purchasing this machine is really so I can have total control over any any of my designs. After all, there is a value to intellectual property. If I continue to upload my design files to a third party there is a very real possibility of someone stealing my ideas.
Just today I received my first piece back from my casting company. A simple row of heads to set diamonds, using shared prongs. The row of heads was curved to a size six finger, and designed to fit the exact size stones I needed to set. A job that would have taken me several hours to custom make and fit, took only a couple of hours total. So who’s to say an “Old dog can’t learn new tricks?”