Although my time at the drafting table these days is focused on hand-illustrating my whimsical “fashionistas,” I still am interested in jewelry design trends and keep up with them as much as I can.  So it was with interest that I read this article published online by GIA, the Gemological Institute of America.  As you can see, GIA has paired photos of two similar jewelry pieces.  In each case, one of the pieces is actually a “virtual” jewelry piece – designed and rendered entirely using CAD or Computer Aided Design.    The other is a photograph of a real piece of jewelry.  How good are you at detecting the real versus the rendered pieces?

real or rendered Click on the photo above, or here, to go to the gallery and see the nine pairs of pictures.  After having a chance to study each picture, the answer will be revealed in the following  gallery frame.

Note: I got a 100% the first time around, but I’ll confess that one pair did give me pause… (and the second time around – a few weeks later –  I actually got it WRONG!)

How did you do?


    • Joana says:

      Hi Celeste,

      Well, good for you for getting that many correct! Now that you know how good the CAD-rendered (virtual pieces) are, I bet you’ll be able to spot them in magazines, too. Many jewelers offer virtual inventory now. It allows them to try out merchandise without having to make a big investment financially. I’m still partial to the hand-rendered jewelry designs from the past. You won’t confuse them with a photograph, but they are so much more classy and artistic.

      Anyway, I hope you are doing well. I haven’t forgotten about the Liebster questions…just need to get a good chunk of free time to tackle them!

      🙂 Joana

      On Sun, Apr 27, 2014 at 11:51 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


      • I noticed when I worked for my previous job, sometimes they’d digitally alter the fashion pieces, tweaking the colors and such for the catalogs, but I didn’t even stop to think that companies would fully digitally render their jewelry like that. I feel on the ball and am definitely going to be looking out for it now! 🙂

        No worries about the Liebster! If you even find you can’t find the time/mindset to tackle them, my feelings won’t be hurt 😀

  1. natella111 says:

    Wow! This is so interesting! I couldn’t get the first couple of pictures, but then I somehow got the idea and answered the later questions correctly! But this must be so hard to create a virtual piece that looks so real! 🙂

    • Joana says:

      Hi Natella,

      Yes, the process of creating a CAD rendering is complicated. I dabbled in CAD a bit (actually won a design prize for one of my CAD designs: but I never got to the level of the pieces in the GIA article gallery. The most challenging thing about designing with CAD is that you have to imagine and design an object from the top view. That’s easy enough if you are creating something simple like a cylindrical vase; but it gets a lot more complicated and challenging if you are trying to design an object with a more organic shape!

      I hope you have a happy Wednesday! Joana

      On Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 6:48 AM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


      • natella111 says:

        This is so cool! I love your design! Thanks for sharing and explaining how this is done 🙂

        Have a great day!


        • Joana says:

          Thanks, Natella! My “dog tags with hidden Pico drive” was actually a fairly simple design to execute, but I’ll admit that it took me hours to figure out how to create the piece using the CAD program. The beauty of working with CAD is that the computer rendering can be directly connected with the wax milling machine which grows the wax prototype. This, in effect, eliminates the need for a wax carver. If your design is precisely rendered, the piece will reflect that.

          All that said, I still prefer seeing hand-done renderings and hand-carved waxes. I think there is something really beautiful and un-replicatable in art that has been created by hand.

          🙂 Joana

          On Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 2:22 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


Leave a Reply