The Process

       People find the experience of being involved in the creation of a special piece of jewelry enriching and exciting. To have your own design brought to life is surprisingly affordable. All you need is the desire.

       The first step is to meet with us to discuss ideas. It is not un-common to gather reference materials from magazines, books or sketches. You can also take inspiration from our many in store pieces or past design portfolio. Together we can come up with a concept that you find appealing.

        After that we will come up with a computer model and rendering of the piece. Revisions can be made at this point and we will not move forward until we have an approved design.

       From this point we move on to physically making the piece of jewelry. We have a CNC mill in house that reads our CAD artwork and carves the piece in wax. The wax is then invested in a stainless steel flask and filled with plaster. Once the plaster hardens the flask goes into the over overnight and slowly heats up to close to 1000 degrees, the wax evaporates and then we pour molten metal into the flask which takes the waxes place. This method of casting is called lost wax casting. You are always welcome to come in and see your piece of jewelry being cast.


Things to Consider

-Will it be an everyday piece or one for special occasions?

-What type of care do expect to have to do?

-What type of metal do you want: platinum, yellow, white, rose, or green gold?

-Do you want the element of gems added to the piece and what type of gems; Diamonds, Emeralds, Sapphire, Onyx, Pearls?

-What is your budget?

Computer Rendering Process

       One of the newest processes we use at Gary Swank Jewelers is computer-aided design (CAD). While the quality and beauty of each piece of jewelry will always depend on the skill of the jeweler, CAD helps us deliver precision at the foundation of the process. CAD accomplishes this precision by allowing us to view the finished piece with stones set even before there is an actual physical model. This allows us to fine tune the design into exactly what was imagined. We then have a model cut by a computer-controlled mill to our exact specifications. Once the model is produced it is ready to be cast, finished and set by the jeweler. With CAD almost any design that can be imagined can be accomplished with a precision that no human hand could attain.

Casting into Metal

       Wax becomes metal in a process called "lost wax casting." The wax is put into a flask that is filled with plaster and then put in a kiln at high temperatures. The wax "burns out," melting and evaporating completely, leaving a perfectly formed void inside the plaster. The goldsmiths then heat the metal you've chosen in a crucible until it is molten. With the pull of a vacuum under the flask, the metal is poured into the flask and cooled. When the plaster is broken away, your piece of jewelry emerges. Some reshaping and refining of your piece is done in the metal, and of course the final polish or texturing brings it all together.