Table of contents
1. Narrow your needs
Tips, steps & Recommendations
2. Discuss the piece with the manufacturer
a. From Sketches to CAD designers
b. Prototyping & Sampling
3. Go to production
From the prototypes to the delivery
When it comes to jewelry manufacturing, it is sometimes hard to foresee what steps are involved in the development process of creating a collection. While envisioning the final product is easy, there are many stages involved in creating a piece of jewelry, ranging from simple styles to complex and intricate designs.
In developing an apparel collection, you know that you will have to choose the fabric, design the sewing pattern, make prototypes and find a factory with the right capacities and know- how.
For jewelry on the other hand, the process is a much less widespread knowledge and limited learning resources exist. As a designer, a lot of questions come to mind:
· How do I get my first prototype?
· What kind of material do I need?
· Where are the factories that can help me create my first collection?
· How do I get a first price quotation?
· Do I need a 3D file?
Developing your first jewelry collection or even a few pieces can seem like a maze.
This article will give you more indications concerning how to carry out your design project and tips for manufacturing your jewelry.
1. Narrow Down Your Needs
To succeed in developing a jewelry collection, you ask yourself some precise and important questions. You have the idea; you need to point out some of the aspects of your jewelry designs to find the best manufacturer.
· List the materials you are going to use and the look you would like (if you have a certain finish in mind, a certain aspect). Do not hesitate to gather inspiration pictures of pieces you like if you do not have prototypes on hand.
· Define your projected quantities. Many manufacturers have minimum quantities, so be sure the company you will work with has the capacities to produce o your desired scale.
· Try to identify what materials and techniques you would like to use: stamping, water transfer, stone setting, etc.
· Plot out your initial design ideas. You do not need perfect drawings from the beginning, the 3D designers from the manufacturing company will help you and give their expertise. Simple 2D drawings are enough for a great start.
· Prepare a technical document/file with your drawings, dimensions (height, width, diameter, and thickness), features (type of clasp, plating thickness), colors of your components are listed.
Do not forget to protect your work with an NDA and retrieve the signature from the manufacturer you are in contact with. If you’re looking for a free template, check this one from LegalTemplates.
If it is a first collection, we would recommend not to overextend the collection variety. Selecting 2-3 designs to develop and produce is the best way to get to know a manufacturer, test its capacities and its quality standards. It enables you to be specific, focus on each piece and get to know the process of the professional.
2. Discuss the pieces with the manufacturer
Once you found a jewelry manufacturer, like Ateliers Tamalet, you will certainly be in contact with project managers and 3D designers.
If you are still looking for a manufacturer, please check our article on How to Find a Jewelry Manufacturer That's Right For Your Needs just here!
a. From Sketches to CAD designers
If your pieces are in metal, the 3D design team will help you create the metal aspects of your jewelry pieces. They will also advise you which metal is best for your piece (brass, zamac).
Having perfect Computer Aided Design (CADs) of your designs finalized before going to production is crucial. It ensures you that your pieces will correspond to what you imagine, what you drew and what you want for your collection. If the CAD is not perfect, the sample will not meet your expectations. Ultimately, it means you will go back to the drawing board and, back to creating a new CAD.
The best way is to get the perfect CAD from the start (specs file as stated previously in the article). When you have your design in mind, the sketches, and dimensions, you are ready to have your CADs printed into wax.
You can also use plasticine to mold something physical to better picture what your ideal dimensions are. If you already have your piece in 3D, the manufacturer can 3D scan it to have the right proportions easily.
b. Prototyping & Sampling
Sampling is everything. Once you agree on the 3D files with the manufacturer, the company is ready to sample your jewelry. This usually takes 2 to 4 weeks to get your first “development samples” ready. Those samples will be the first prototypes you will have and are the physical result of what you imagined for your collection.
Depending on your creation, the manufacturer will go through different steps: casting, mold creation, stone sourcing, plating.
Once the samples are ready, you will be able to review the look, the proportions, and the functionality of your pieces, and give feedback to your manufacturer. It can lead to a new round of development samples if modifications are needed, or to production!
During this step, you will also be able to ask for pricing and retro planning for your jewelry collection.
3. Go to Production
Once your development samples are validated, your manufacturer will produce Pre-Production PP samples (PP samples) for you to review the pieces and Top of Production (TOP) samples which are the pieces that will exactly reflect the production that is produced in bulk.
Depending on the manufacturer and the size of your order, a production can take from 4 to 12 weeks. A quality inspection will be conducted during production to ensure your jewelry meets your quality requirements.
You can also discuss the packaging of your production, as well as the mandatory chemical tests with your manufacturer. The company will be able to take care of those aspects, or to put you in contact with a specialist. At Ateliers Tamalet, we always make sure that our jewelry is always Prop65 and REACH compliant and work with a number of external labs such as Intertek, SGS, TUV for example.
The process of custom manufacturing can appear complicated and long, but once you better know the steps and how your manufacturing partner works, creating a jewelry collection becomes fulfilling and easier with each coming project.
Our best recommendation would be to build a relationship with your manufacturer, so you know all their requirements and you can be sure of the quality you will get.
If you have any questions about this article or if you would like to start a collaboration with us, contact us at email@example.com