I don’t (really don’t) like writing, and I like a hard deadline to get things done. But I love doing research as much as most people love going on vacation. Maybe more. Much of my research has led to improvements in my manufacturing and design processes, so research always has always had an economic benefit for me. But I have to admit, most of the time I don’t start doing research for economic benefit—I start it because I am curious.
If you are in the jewelry industry, you already know about the Santa Fe Symposium. If you are not in the jewelry industry, then you should know that the Santa Fe Symposium is an annual gathering of curious minds in the jewelry industry, all interested in improving the way we do things. The Symposium was started by a guy named Eddie Bell (Rio Grande Jewelry Supply), who strongly believed that the people working in metallurgy, jewelry design and jewelry production should share their knowledge for the betterment of all. It’s an impressive event; four days of serious presentations that have led to over 30 years of improvements in jewelry manufacturing production techniques, worker safety, environmental benefits, and product innovation.
So, back to the part about how I hate writing but I love research. For the past 14 years I have volunteered to write and present papers for Santa Fe Symposium ten times (have I mentioned that I also hate making presentations?). Why? Because A) I love research, and B) there’s a deadline. I have produced research papers on everything from the history of Mokume-gane to the bonding characteristics of difficult metals.
Today I am staring at a studio with 40 models of the same ring. I am going to test 40 different production approaches in an attempt to explain why the resins used in 3D model-making don’t behave consistently during manufacturing, and I’m looking for insights regarding how to improve results. If you’re a jeweler, you’re likely interested in anything that can be done to improve your production results. If you’re a jewelry consumer, then the way this affects you is to improve the quality of your jewelry and to keep your jewelry prices reasonable.
The testing of all these molds will be great fun for me. I’ve already designed the 40 different tests I am going to do, and now I just need to put in the time doing the tests and document each step and result. Then I have to write the paper, so . . . good thing there’s a deadline.
Interested in learning about my findings? Join me at the Santa Fe Symposium, May 15-18 in beautiful Albuquerque, New Mexico! Here’s a registration link to get you started: http://www.santafesymposium.org/registration/