I'm sure a lot of you have noticed just how many jewellery store websites use CAD images instead of real photos. While this is okay for a representation, it is always better to see what an engagement ring looks like in real life because CAD generated images are not necessarily as accurate looking as the real thing – CAD images are usually shinier and sharper looking when compared to a real engagement ring.
But first, what is CAD?
CAD stands for "Computer Aided Design". It is a special software application used to design just about anything from architectural structures and mechanical parts, to engagement rings and almost all types of jewellery. When it comes to jewellery, there are typically two types of CAD drawings used: the utilitarian and illustrative designs.
What is the difference between utilitarian and illustrative CAD designs.
Simply put, an illustrative design shows what the ring should look like once it is complete with the full range of colours. A utilitarian design is usually a greyscale design that demonstrates what the wax model/mould of a ring looks like. Here is an engagement ring shown in an illustrative and utilitarian design:
Utilitarian Ring Design
Illistrative Ring Design
The differences between a CAD designed engagement ring and the real thing.
Although CAD generated images may appear to look very real, they will never be able to portray your engagement ring in the exact manner it will look upon completion. Some of the major, or minor differences (however you look at it) are that CAD designed rings usually have sharper and crispier looking edges and lines, longer and pointier claws, and are slightly bulkier than the real thing. Slightly bulkier because when the ring is made the polishing process removes some of the metal.
Treat CAD with Caution
It is important to be cautious when buying a ring based on a CAD design. Many jewellers do not have engagement rings in stock (especially online jewellers) and only show CAD generated images on their websites. The problem with this is that you do not see what the finished product looks like and you could be in for a surprise when it arrives. CAD, just like photos in Photoshop, can be used to enhance the appearance of a ring by giving it a deeper shine, and sharper cut lines and edges. We believe that CAD should only be used when designing a custom ring to give you an idea of what the ring will look like, and not as a product image. In fact, we use only real photos of real rings on our website so that customers know exactly what they are getting.
Contact us or come by our boutique on 5 Mary Street, Dublin City Centre, where we will be more than happy to explain the differences between real photos and CAD generated engagement rings. You can find out how we use CAD in the design process, see our range of real rings, as well as even see the moulds we use to make many of them - some of them are the oldest in Dublin.