Meet Elizabeth Edge, she’s a CAD designer. CAD design is swiftly becoming an integral part of the watch a jewellery industry as 3 dimensional models are so much easier to understand than a 2D drawing on paper or even on screen. CAD design should reduce the need for changes in the final product as the customer can make final changes to the 3D design they are presented with.We had a chat to Elizabeth to find out her specific story on exactly what a CAD designer is, how you become one and why the jewellery industry needs her.
Can you explain what exactly is a CAD designer
CAD stands for Computer Aided Design, and is used in many industries ranging from Jewellery to aerospace.
Using the appropriate software, a CAD designer can take an initial design and draw a 3-dimensional model, these models can then be 3D Printed to begin a manufacturing process, or utilised to create visual plans and renders.
What point in the design process do you help a jeweller?
Once a jewellery designer has a design ready to be manufactured, I will create a 3D model from their sketches and ideas. Using my knowledge and experience, I can also assist and advise on appropriate production methods, and any adjustments that may be necessary to complete their design.
I also help jewellers with bespoke work, where I create a photo-realistic image of the jewellery before it is made so the jeweller can show it to their client for approval. These photo-realistic images can also be used for websites and marketing material.
What got you into CAD design?
My background is Fine Art, and specifically sculpture which I studied at university. During my studies, I worked part-time with a Jewellery retailer where I learnt a lot about gemstones and precious metals, and over time became very intrigued and interested into how the different pieces of jewellery were made.
This convinced me to pursue a career in Jewellery, and I went on to complete a full-time Jewellery course which included computer aided design. CAD appealed to my way of thinking as I have always thought and drawn in 3D!
I then worked with a wedding ring manufacturer in the Jewellery Quarter where I experienced the real side of jewellery manufacture and was professionally trained in CAD and wax carving.
Where did you study and what did you study to get to CAD designing?
I attended the Birmingham school of Jewellery, in the Jewellery quarter, where I studied HND in Jewellery and Silversmithing. This taught me the basic skills in design and manufacturing of jewellery, including CAD. I also studied at The British Academy of Jewellery in London’s Hatton Garden where I gained a Level 4 Diploma in CAD Design for Jewellery Production
What's the best bit about what you do?
It’s great to see the finished pieces and ranges that I have helped clients create on their websites or physically in shops.
Also seeing the scope of jewellery design today, from the sublime to the ridiculous and how nothing surprises me anymore!
Being a freelance CAD Designer also gives me the freedom of working for myself!
If someone else was considering the same career what advice would you give them?
Practical jewellery making skills is a must and a fundamental to jewellery CAD design. Knowledge of processes such as stone setting, and tolerances of materials will support the CAD designer in any problems that may arise. Therefore, you definitely need to find a jewellery making and designing course!
Also, be sure to make and look after good contacts in the jewellery trade as you go along the way!
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