Creating Vector Jewelry

I don't know how many people might find this useful but, since I had to figure out it for a recent project, here it is: my technique for creating rhinestone or diamond vector jewelry. In my case, I had to create a tiara but this technique would work well for vector diamond necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Maybe even pearl jewelry.

Creating the Tiara

  1. Begin with a vector image of a diamond's face. (If you can't find one, create one by tracing a photo). Recolor the diamond using shades of gray. I used 5%, 20% and 35% black in this example.
  2. With the pen or paintbrush tool, sketch the outlines of the piece of jewelry. Apply a colored stroke and no fill. The drawing can be quite rough since you can always make later adjustments.
  3. Zoom in on the tiara. Copy and paste the diamond. Then scale the diamond down very small. It should be scaled down to the actual use size.
  4. With the diamond selected, go to the Brush panel and in the drop down menu at the top right, select New Brush. In the next dialog box, choose New Scatter Brush. In the Scatter Brush options box, choose Size: 100%, Spacing: 100%, Scatter: 0%, Rotation: Random from -40 degrees to 60 degrees, and Rotation relative to: Path. Down in the Colorization section, choose Tints and click OK.
  5. Select the tiara path and apply the new diamond scatter brush. Change the color and weight of the stroke as desired. Adjust curves and points of the path as necessary.

Adding Sparkle
If you'd like to add catch lights or highlights to your jewelry, here's how you create star-like sparkle.

  1. Use the Round Rectangle Tool to create a long horizontal shape. 
  2. Create a transparent white (Opacity 0, Location 15) to white (Opacity 100, Location 50) to transparent white (Opacity 0, Location 85) linear gradient and apply it to your shape.
  3. Using the pen tool, remove the corner points, leaving only the 2 endpoints.
  4. Copy your shape, paste in front and rotate 90 degrees.
  5. Select both shapes, group them, copy and paste in front, scale the group down and rotate 45 degrees.
  6. Repeat step five twice, freely rotating the shapes until they look about right.
  7. Copy and group the sparkle. In the Transparency panel, change the layer blend mode to Screen 100%.
  8. Add sparkly highlights to your vector jewelry as desired.

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