The Journey of a Ring
Each year, everyday consumers purchase millions of engagement and fashion rings. For centuries, this piece of jewelry has consistently proved itself the most popular. But have you ever thought about the journey a ring takes to become a fully set piece? Did you know it starts simply as an idea that sometimes isn’t even on paper yet? In this series, The Journey of a Ring, we will take a behind the scenes look into all the departments that help complete a ring.
We’ll begin where the entire process starts: our Product Design & Development department, PD&D. Our designers produce thousands of unique jewelry pieces each year.
A member of our merchandising team approaches PD&D with a detailed idea/request. The idea goes to one of our conceptual designers who puts pencil to the paper and creates a sketch. “I’ve experimented with quite a few tools of the trade to see what helps me best convey an idea when providing concepts,” says product designer Carlos Lopez. “Rough sketches on paper work best for me. From there I transfer it to the computer to draw digitally before printing the design. As the last step, I hand-paint the details.” This process can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
Where does Carlos get the inspiration for a new design? “I have a constant desire to create something completely original. I’ve heard several times that nothing is original, but that doesn’t stop me. I strive to make every design unique in hopes that I can achieve something that hasn’t yet been created,” says Carlos.
From there, the ring moves on to our virtual design team in our PD&D department. The conceptual work this team receives can range from a multi-view technical drawing to a rough napkin sketch. But it’s the relationship the design will have with our jewelers that determines how Virtual Design will work on the concept. “For example, a piece destined for 3C or the CounterSketch® Studio Library will be modeled using our in-house, proprietary software,” says virtual designer Michael Bartlett. “Once a design’s path is planned out (traditional vs. 3C vs. CSS Library), we then build it in the appropriate CAD software.”
Our virtual team prides itself on taking these images, simply ideas on a page, and making them a reality. “The conceptual designers are always excited to see the designs take shape and mature into a finished piece on screen,” says Michael.
The model then moves through multiple check processes to ensure the highest level of aesthetics and production standards have been met. Once it is approved technically and aesthetically, it moves into the prototyping phase, and that’s another stop on this journey of a ring.
How do designs begin in your store? Compare your processes to ours in the comments below! Stay tuned for the next installment of The Journey of a Ring mini-series.