The staff at Images Jewelers is proud to be a cutting edge jeweler with traditional roots. While we have all studied and trained in classical jewelry repair and manufacturing, we have not limited ourselves to the past. We actively pursue all modern technologies that allow us to provide our customers with the highest quality jewelry made in the most efficient and practical way.
Let’s take a very quick look around our shop:
Jewelry Shop – Work Benches
Our first stop is our Jewelers Row. Along the north side of our shop we have a row of jewelers benches for our jewelers to do the bulk of their work. Everything happens here. From fabrication, to repairs, to sanding and hand polishing, this is the place where most of the work happens.
You can see our first laser welder in back, the vast array of cutting and polishing wheels, gravers, racks of setting burs and hand tools, steamer, and of course, every jeweler’s most important tool the ever present cup of coffee.
Laser Welding / Engraving and Laser:
On the other side of the room is our detail area. On the far left you can see our engraving bench. Equipped with a high power microscope, and an air operated graver station, we can carve, set, and finish any ring, in any metal, to and desired level of cut. From delicate bead and micro setting, to fine scrollwork, this is where it all happens.
In the middle of the room is our second laser welder. It may look small, but it gives us the ability to do fine repair work around the most delicate of stones without fear of causing heat damage, or having to pull and reset, to stones, even Amber. Again, it has a microscope attached to it so that we can see even the smallest details and create a laser beam as small as .2mm to sneak it into even the smallest spaces. This tool has fired nearly 2 million laser pulses since it entered our shop, and we use it every single day.
And on the right, under our stained glass window overlooking the retail showroom, we have a wax carving area. Look there, yet another microscope. Using a huge assortment of custom made wax carving tools, some of the greatest wax designs come to life on that humble little table.
Buffing/ Polishing Room
Here you see our polishing room.
We use high speed buffing wheels with literally dozens of different wheels to get the best finish possible on every single piece of jewelry that comes through our shop. Even the most simple of repairs gets a trip through the polishing wheel to return your jewelry to you in as near new condition as possible.
Wax Mill / Argon Vacuum and Centrifuge Casting:
Back in another room is our rather cluttered casting, milling, and polishing room. A real quick tour around the room, from the lower left moving clockwise, is our flat and square rolling mills with our ring stretcher. Straight back, in the center of the room, is our argon vacuum casting machine and an older, yet well used horizontal casting centrifuge. Here is where the casting happens. We melt silver, gold, and platinum, using all new casting grains. We cast one piece at a time, under carefully controlled conditions, all to get the best possible cast every single time. In many cases, casting metal in the natural environment produces quality results, however, jewelers have figured out how to act against nature in order to achieve optimal properties from their cast components. By using a vacuum to evacuate air in an enclosed area, either to produce a mold, pour castings or melt metal, we can successfully produce complex, difficult castings in a controlled environment. If you’ve ever sipped a drink through a straw, then you understand the analogy of vacuum casting, an alternative to traditional casting. In this method, molten metal is drawn into the mold, like soda climbing up a straw, for a more controlled, less turbulent fill of the mold cavity.
In the far back right, under the white ventilation hood, is where our burnout ovens are kept. You could see them quite clearly from here if our huge lathe wasn’t in the way. And yes, we do use this large lathe in jewelry work, just not very often. And then to the right is our
Right about now I’m guessing you are wondering what that wall in the back is all about. That is our model board. Many of the design we develop are recast in silver and have rubber molds made of them. Some may be reused, or used as starting points for new designs, and others may never be used again but we wanted to keep a solid history of what we have done in the past. There are hundreds of different rings, pendants, and other assorted jewelry pieces hanging there, with even more molds of past projects stuffed in every nook and cranny of our shop. We may be focused on moving forward with our craft, but we are proud to keep our past close at hand to remind us where we have been.
Aureus 3D Printer:
In this area you see our EnvisionTEC Aureus 3D printer. This machine is the number one choice for jewelry manufacturing due to the precision and castable materials offered straight from the machine. Highly detailed filigree and accurate settings are produced that a human jeweler just can not match.
The Aureus has already proven to be unparalleled in our shop, for instance a set of 15 rings can be produced in a castable material within 5 hours! The accuracy achievable is beyond laser or printing alternative technologies with 15 micron resolution. (1 micron = one millionth of a meter) Because of this the Aureus makes the perfect choice for our micro pave or invisible setting designs.
Not to get too technical, but how the machine works is based on the principle of photopolymerization, that is the use of a liquid polymer that changes its properties to a hard resin when exposed to light, creating 3-D models with the finest finish technologically possible today, which means the absolute highest quality custom jewelry to our customers.