If you’ve ever wondered, where can I get custom made jewelry, the following conversation with a jewelry designer who offers this very personalized service to his clients will give you some insight. Also referred to as bespoke jewelry, an experienced designer knows how to identify what you want even if you are not sure how to express it.
Solidscape interviews Johann Bothma, owner of Altin Jewellers
WHY DID YOU BECOME A JEWELRY DESIGNER?
There are 2 things in life that are very important to me. I need to be creative, and I need to connect with people. I am in the bespoke jewelry business today because jewelry cannot exist without people and people are drawn to jewelry because of how it makes them feel.
WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN PROCESS WITH CLIENTS?
My designs are inspired by people. The basis for my client’s jewelry is our intuitive interaction. We start by setting up an appointment. I offer coffee or something with a little bit of small talk. This is my opportunity to hear their expectations for our journey together.
Once we’ve had a chance to get to know each other, we begin by establishing a basic design style. We do this by tapping into our intuition as we review and discuss various style examples. I then start suggesting different design ideas that could be interpreted by the style we have identified. Before long, we can narrow it down to something they can see themself wearing.
After the meeting, I produce a full color 3D rendering of the selected design using Matrix CAD software. The client gives their approval, after which I take it from there. The CAD file goes to our inhouse 3D printing department. Next, the printed model goes to our casting department where the gold or platinum casting is produced through a lost-wax casting process. Finally, the metal casting goes to our bench jeweler for the hand finishing and mounting of the stones. Everything from the initial concept through to the finished jewelry is done here, in our Waterkloof studio.
WHAT IS YOUR BRAND OF AUTHENTIC DESIGN?
A client might show me a photograph of what they have in mind for their jewelry. My approach is to challenge them with some new design ideas that could transform the look they admire into something authentically unique to them. So, whenever they are wearing that ring we designed, it sparks that feeling of the love it symbolizes uniquely for them. This is what bespoke jewelry is all about.
WHO IS YOUR MUSE?
Every so often, I meet a client that ignites my creativity. I call them my muse because of the spark of inspiration they give me. It may seem like we just happened to stumble upon each other, but we have an unusual connection that is the source of what I create for them. Experiencing this serendipity always reminds me of why I am a jewelry designer.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF OWNING A 3D PRINTER?
It gives you autonomy. I do not need to depend upon an outside shop for my wax models. It saves me the time it takes to contract out, wait for their printing schedule, then wait some more for the jewelry model to be delivered.
Owning a Solidscape 3D printer lets me see my 3D model while I still have the time to decide whether I am completely satisfied with my design. I am free to experiment and discover more of what I can do. This makes me a better designer.
I started my business with a Solidscape 3D wax printer, but there was a time when I tried an alternative 3D printer. That experience helped me to realize what I was losing and so in the end, I made the decision to invest in a 2nd Solidscape machine for my business.