One question I get asked a lot – and that always surprises me – is whether a handmade piece of bespoke jewellery can match something machine made?
The simple answer is, handcrafted jewellery is not only equal to, but it can and should surpass, something machine manufactured.
The slightly more complicated answer is; while handcrafting allows for flourishes, finishes and details that simply aren’t possible in a machine manufactured piece, there are an array of mechanical tools and technologies that will aid a good jeweller’s quest for perfection.
The reality is, in 2019 it shouldn’t be a binary question. The best workshops embrace tradition and technology – there is no need to choose one over the other. There is no need to compromise.
Next time you visit Dalgleish Diamonds, take a few moments to watch our onsite goldsmiths and jewellers hard at work in our workshop. Alongside traditional goldsmith and jewellery-making tools (some of which have literally gone unchanged for hundreds and hundreds of years) you’ll see various mechanical tools and examples of leading-edge technology.
Our jewellers are highly skilled at using both the traditional tools and the emerging technology when creating their beautiful bespoke pieces.
During the design process they use CAD design tools – much like an architect would when designing a house. During manufacturing they have access tech that does the same job as traditional tools but allows for higher precision work ie our Laser Welder.
One piece of technology that I find extremely useful when working with clients is our 3D printer. Essentially, once you design a piece – say a ring in this example – we can print out an exact replica in wax and set your choice of precious stone into it. You can then try on your piece and decide if it looks and feels the way you want. Does it sit well on your hand next to your other rings, is the stone shown off at its best, does the design make your heart sing?
I’m a real fan of this kind of technology because of the peace of mind it gives our clients – you literally know what your finished piece will look and wear like before we start making it!
During the past decade we have invested a lot into technology and I’m proud to have a workshop equal to any in New Zealand. That said, I am a traditionalist at heart. I believe that, while cool tools and tech definitely have a place in modern jewellery manufacturing, working a piece by hand will never go out of style. Not only can you achieve details and finishes that a machine can’t replicate, but there is a certain energy and life infused into a piece that has been designed and created by a true master of their trade.