Since 1972 Niagara Falls Castings (UK) Ltd has been dedicated to supplying the jewellery and silverware trades with the finest castings in precious metals and was one of the first UK jewellery casters to be awarded the ISO 9001:2000 certificate. With their strong commitment to producing high quality castings they not only design and make their own alloys in-house but also use Delcam's CADCAM software, ArtCAM JewelSmith to create their wax models.
Niagara Falls Castings (NFC) supplies small jewellers needing one or two castings to some of the biggest manufacturing jewellers trading with well known high street chains. One of these customers is award winning jewellery designer, Louise Barnfather.
Her company, Barnfather Designs (www.barnfatherdesigns.co.uk) produces bespoke fine jewellery, making commissioned one-off pieces to celebrate special occasions, as well as producing a number of designer collections.
Louise also works with jewellery retailer, Jari (www.Jari.co.uk) designing bespoke real jewelled collars for pets.
"Niagara Falls Castings was the obvious choice for my castings."
"Not only are they local but they produce high quality castings that I can rely on. Dependant on my design I can either sketch it out on paper or visit NFC and explain my design concept. They are extremely fast and great at interpreting my designs."
Louise continues, "When I designed my entry for the Tahitian Pearl Trophy 2008, for example, I gave Philip Roberts from NFC my design on a piece of paper. The theme of the competition was "The Song of the Stars" and I took inspiration from Polynesian mythology. Legend says that the form and brightness of pearls inspired Tane, the god of harmony and beauty, to create the stars. At the centre of the flash of creation is a Tahitian pearl.
"Producing the pendant using ArtCAM was ideal. In order for the piece to work well, the 'creation flashes' had to be completely symmetrical, which would have been very difficult to achieve by hand. I supplied Philip with a scaled drawing and he used this to produce the two cone shaped pieces in white gold."
"Making the Creation necklace in ArtCAM was extremely straightforward" comments Philip, "so it was great to hear that she was awarded second place in such a prestigious competition. We enjoy working with Louise and her recent project has been extremely fun to work on. It is fun to do something a bit 'different'."
Louise Barnfather explains, "Philip had shown me how ArtCAM could use a photograph of a person and reproduce it in relief on the surface of metal. My interests in Jari made me realise that it could also be used for pets. The two powder puff Chihuahua puppies were ideal for cufflinks as they made a pair.
"I sent Philip some high resolution photos of the two dogs and specified the size required. Once he had produced the metal discs I attached the ball and stem fitting which we use as standard on Jari cufflinks."
Louise said, "I launched the new cufflink designs at this year's IJL (International Jewellery London 2009) and I've already had very positive feedback. I am now looking for the best way to market the idea of customers' putting their own pet photos on items of silver or gold jewellery. I also want to sell more of my designer lines in galleries and independent retail stores."
Philip comments, "Making the cufflinks in ArtCAM was simple because it is a very easy to use and flexible product. I love how you can import images and then create an image directly from it. You can build your design up using a number of relief layers and the Relief Texturing, Face Wizard and the Toolpath Wizard features are excellent. Working with Delcam has been most enjoyable and the support has been outstanding."