ARTIST AND ENTREPRENEUR
Carlos Zamora’s journey as a jewelry designer has always been a personal one. He watched his father hand carve stainless steel rings as a child, coaxing elegant pieces from shapeless chunks of metal using only files and sandpaper. What was a hobby for his father has become a life’s work for Carlos, albeit with a much larger toolkit.
Carlos has been designing and manufacturing custom fine jewelry since 1986, literally helping build the industry every step of the way. He developed and sold his own milling machine, taught himself CAD and was a vanguard in using 3D printing for jewelry.
“I saw the first prototype Solidscape at a show in Rhode Island,” recalls Carlos. “It wasn’t even for sale yet, just a new technology they were working on. It was amazing to see.” Even though he was fully invested in milling at the time, he recognized the future of the jewelry industry. Now his studio has a dedicated Solidscape room lined with 10 high precision 3D printers that produce ultra-accurate, directly castable wax models day and night.
“My line is all 3D printed with Solidscape… to keep the crisp details of each design.”
– Carlos Zamora
Carlos views every new technology as a new opportunity — to learn, to improve, to innovate. His numerous contributions to jewelry design and manufacturing have been instrumental in his business-to-business clients’ success. He calls himself the guy behind the curtains, the veteran jeweler who works behind the scenes for some of the biggest names in the industry.
“When I started, I used to teach CAD to jewelers. It was very difficult because a jeweler was usually an artist who wanted to work with their hands. They wouldn’t know how to use a computer, so we had to start there.” Now, says Carlos, he faces a bigger challenge. “Everyone is leaning in to CAD and leaving the bench — and it’s the most important part. You can learn CAD in a few weeks. But to get proficient, you need to know jewelry, to at least understand how the process of making jewelry works. There are a lot of things you need to learn before you start making models that work.”
Carlos transforms sketches into viable 3D CAD drawings that can be produced and cast — turning seeds of ideas into beautiful jewelry. He sees jewelry designers with no bench experience make names for themselves with his help.
“It’s exciting! They have a vision and they know how to market,” admires Carlos. Then one day he decided: “I want to do that. I want to get MY designs out there.”
Carlos Zamora jewelry was born.
INTO THE SPOTLIGHT
True to his beginnings and his passion for jewelry, Carlos created custom jewelry lines with heart. His Fearless Heart Collection was inspired by his mother, sister, wife and daughter, as well as the many other courageous women in his life. Each piece features a polished heart accented with bull’s horns, representing the compassion, confidence and strength embodied by women everywhere. A conversation with a woman who had recently lost her dog sparked his empathy and his Pups Collection. He wanted to give dog lovers a lasting remembrance of their fur babies, whether gone or still wagging. Rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings feature a paw print and a specific breed’s face.
The pieces are personal, both to Carlos and his customers. They are also incredibly detailed, with sculptural qualities, smooth curves, crisp lines and precise diamond setting. That’s why Carlos only prints his custom jewelry with Solidscape high precision 3D printers.
“I’m learning, learning, all the time. When I started doing CAD, I got into Rhino, then I learned JewelCAD, and then … I think I learned all of them. Certain programs are better for certain things — or we can combine them [to get the results we want].”
– Carlos Zamora
Photopolymer resin printers claim they have castable resin, says Carlos, but it’s not really castable. “If you want to cast them, you have to print two to three pieces just in case. You might be able to use one.” Solidscape wax build material is the difference, in conjunction with automatically generated, dissolvable support material. Other printers require adding supports before printing and then removing them afterwards. And then: “If you don’t cure it correctly, then you have problems. There are too many things [that can go wrong]. It’s time-consuming.”
His bank of Solidscape 3D printers produce reliably perfect, castable models every time. “If the line takes off,” Carlos says with a smile, “we’ll buy more machines.”
The Fearless Hearts Collection and Pups Collection are available for purchase online at carlosz.nyc now, and Carlos hopes they will be offered in select retail outlets soon. His family business, inspired by his father and run with his wife, is thriving. And knowing Carlos, the business will be embracing and pioneering whatever new technologies lie ahead.