Chamal Jayaratna carries forth his family’s goldsmithery, furthering and advancing with science and technology whilst being mired in creativity and the arts. He is the owner of “eon” a design studio for jewellers engaged in digital design and manufacturing. Demonstrating his skill, he has most recently won himself an award for a jewellery contest, Solidscape for a fire-bird locket he designed, at the prestigious jewellery show in Switzerland, Basel Show 2015. He has also been a Disc Jockey for over a decade. In that he stays true to his name, in being the chameleon.
A Srilankan based in Colombo, Chamal’s design aesthetic is simple, refined yet exquisite. He had a deep seated love for drawing even in his early years and would fiddle in his father’s workshop, creating rings made of brass. At the age of 16, he’d enrolled at the Jewellery Design Academy of Colombo moving on to learn Gemology in University while training with his uncle who in his mind is the finest lapidarist and gem merchant in Srilanka. With all the experiences in jewel craft, he was quick to catch on to and capitalise on what now defines the way the industry operates, equipping himself with the knowledge of Computer Aided Design in Jewellery at a training institute. With this he worked at L’azurde, a renowned jewellery organization in the Middle East, for a decade initially as a CAD/CAM engineer and eventually heading the CAD/CAM department for them.
Chamal returned to Colombo to set up the Country’s first design studio, providing end to end design solutions for a jeweller clientele, from design enquiries, cad designs to production, stone sourcing and technical support. He works with freelance cad designers from across the globe and services an international clientele. Cad is used by jewellers for mass manufacturing, for difficult designs that take a length in time to create by hand, designs involving intricate detail like wire-mesh or techno casting and stone setting. He discusses with Krishma the benefits of a seldom used software called rhino which to him allows for speed of designs and ease of use with the tools and with frequent plugins and updates, but in the same breath mentions that a designer with the right level of skill can easily replicate the same as quickly using any software as he himself has been able to do in the past. The process involves transmitting the hand sketched design into computer aided design, and estimating the dimensions, weight and technical details of the model followed with computer aided manufacture in creating a 3D output being a resin mould of the model. The mould then is used for casting with the anointed precious metal and the emerging jewellery is finessed with polishing, stone setting, rhodium plating and quality control.
Chamal discusses the sensibility of the Srilankan consumer as compared to her Indian counterpart. Sapphires are much more prevalent and the jewellery is elegant yet simple while In India, heavy intricate jewellery with diamonds are the norm. Krishma consults Chamal frequently befriending him on social media. Inspite of having never met him, she finds him to be the most competent cad/cam engineer she has worked with and confidently proclaims that she wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Eon’s services to professional jewellers. Chamal initially found it difficult to gain acceptance within the local community as the technology was new and expensive but is today hugely successful both in the domestic and international market. Today, CAD/CAM has revolutionised the jewellery industry ensuring accuracy and minimum wastage of expensive metal although in his view this will never fully replace the hand of the artist and the creative mind of a master craftsman.