Well, it seems for better or worse I’m leaning to be a jeweler. Turns out fabrication will be much easier if I model the prong setting for the stone and the findings (i.e., pendant and pin hardware) myself in 3D, which will then be grown with the first molding master.
I’ve created bails for use as a pendant in the correct orientation
The two circular platforms are where pin hardware will be soldered, making sure those are also in the right (but slightly different) orientation.
To leave open the option for plating (two plated items can’t be soldered together), I have also created rivets to join the two parts.
Here is a video that explains jewelry rivets a bit.
The prong setting was quite an operation to figure out how to build. I had never given much thought to such things before, as someone without a wife/fiancée or a particular interest in wearing sparkly gems. I had no idea, for example, that the stone doesn’t actually rest in the galleries (the concentric frames you see at the bases of prong settings) but that they merely give structural support the prongs.
It is the prong geometry that actually holds the stone in place.
This can be grown in 3D as we’re doing it, or a more common historical approach is for a jeweler to cut that area out of cylindrical stems using a rotary tool.
I had to source some lab-grown diamonds to take measurements from. Fabulite was going to be way too expensive for a production run, so I opted for readily available 12mm CZ in a round brilliant cut. In my renderings, the model of the gem doesn’t represent the actual cut of the final stone but merely the critical dimensions so I can build my prongs around that.
We’re also growing and casting the prong setting separately for the first model so that it doesn’t get in my way while I’m adding the florentine pattern with the big checkering file.
They’ll then be welded together at the back before mastering for the production molds.
And of course I made sure the prongs were more or less in the screen-accurate (slightly wonky) orientation:
This video gives a little sense of how to model a prong setting in CAD, but as you see above I had to be a more more creative than what this video illustrates.