by Virginia Vivier.
(Sunny Tucson, Arizona USA)
I enjoy making one-of-a-kind pendant designs more than duplicating the same ones over and over.
A few of my designs are more popular than others and customers expect each one to look the same as in the website photo, which can be hard, since I make each one individually.
I fire each silver design in my small jewelry kiln, sometimes with less-than-perfect results. This causes a delay in shipping the order to my anxious customer, and wastes material (and my time) by
having to do it over. At least, the silver can be melted down and reused, but not my time!
I don’t have the funds to invest in casting equipment. Even if I did, I don’t have the expertise (or time) to learn how use it. So for years, I have been plugging along, creating my designs, one-at-a-time.
I had a conversation with an Etsy Seller that I admire very much,
and he told me that he had his designs “cast” by a company in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
I was so surprised because the detail on each piece was so perfect, and the cost was much less than if he made them one-at-a-time, by himself! He encouraged me to call his casting company and see if they could help me.
I was very pleased by my conversation with the owner of the casting company.
He referred me to a model builder who could take my graphic design and turn it into a model to be cast. Or, I could send my original silver pendant directly to the casting company andthey could make a model from my pendant design.
Since I wanted to make the new pendant smaller than my original design, I decided to work with the person who could design a 3D model from my graphic file.
I asked him to make it smaller and add a tube bail at the top. I calculated specific dimensions for thickness, depth, diameter, etc., and included those instructions with the file. This is crucial in getting exactly what you want.
I was blown away when he immediately sent me a photo of his interpretation of my design. Wow! It was perfect.
The next step is to send the model to the Casting Company and have it cast in Fine Silver. (They also cast in bronze and Sterling Silver.) The price was very reasonable and I could order any quantity I wanted, even just one.
The only down side is that it takes about 3 weeks to get the finished product, so I hope I ordered enough to maintain the Etsy orders that are coming in. I would hate to put off a customer and ask them to wait 3 weeks if I ran out.
Now, I can provide a consistent, high quality pendant design, at a lower cost, than what I was making originally, one-at-a-time.
There are casting companies all over the USA, just Google them. And, 3D modeling has become more popular now, than ever. The casting companies can make a model for you, or you can ask them to recommend someone in your area.
If you have a burning design idea you want to create, but don’t have the equipment (or expertise), to create it yourself, there are other possibilities to see it become a reality! It’s worth looking into!