Updated 07/29/2006 05:00 AM
West and Co. Jewelers: new technology, ancient technique
“These are just very simple elegant designs that I whacked out one Sunday morning,” David West Nytch said.
Designing individual pieces of jewelry is usually not a quick or inexpensive process.
“The traditional methods of hand drawing, hand rendering your ideas, hand carving your model, and then hand finishing your piece of jewelry is very, very time consuming. Jewelry manufacturing is based on many techniques that are generally thousands of years old, and the method that's most commonly used to make jewelry is called lost wax casting. It’s a 4,000-year-old technique; it's virtually unchanged,” Nytch said.
That is until now. David West Nytch owns West and Company Jewelers in Webster. He said he was the first upstate jeweler to break tradition and use computer-assisted design and manufacturing technology to create award-winning custom made jewelry at a lower cost because it takes less time.
"This program was designed for people who are like me—designers first, computer people second. It’s also designed keeping in mind that it was going to be available to at least moderately-sized businesses, which will revolutionize the industry,” Nytch said.
It’s allowed this artist to push beyond his creative limits. The high-tech process takes hours instead of a week, so when a customer comes in with a design idea, David is able to try it out.
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"It has changed the way I design because first of all, I’m willing to take a risk. Before, when I had hours invested in something, if I had an idea that I wasn't 100 percent sure of, I wouldn't do it because I just couldn't afford to,” Nytch said.
David can show the customer a computer rendering of the finished piece. Then the design is programmed into the milling system.
“It’s called wax. Actually the product is file wax. Dentists use it as well...same thing,” Nytch said.
After the milling process, the wax model is ready to be made into the finished piece.
“That’s where high-tech stops, and ancient art steps back in. Sand and polish the old-fashioned way all by hand,” Nytch said.