Deanna Campsall – Photo by
Brenda Ahearn/Daily Interlake

Deanna Campsall


FVCC student wins contest creating wedding rings with software

Flathead Valley Community College instructor Karen Kolar was thrilled when Deanna Campsall’s wedding ring set design won the student category of Gemvision’s international contest.

“It knocked our socks off,” she said.

According to Kolar, students at about 11 colleges in the United States have access to Gemvision’s 3-D Matrix 7, a software program used in the jewelry industry. However, many international schools train on the software, making the contest extremely competitive.

“Usually, the Asian schools really do well in this contest,” Kolar said. “So we were thrilled when Deanna won.”

Campsall, 27, was surprised but equally pleased. She said she never had a big interest in jewelry, but decided to study for a degree to enhance her skills for her job at Gold Rush Pawn.

Campsall said she’s always enjoyed crafts such as sewing and painting. She developed an interest in creative pursuits from her father, an artist who works with watercolors.

Now studying for an associate degree in goldsmithing and jewelry arts, she also will earn a certificate in three-dimensional jewelry design. She entered the contest as part of Kolar’s Jewelry Design and 3-D Modeling III course.

She said she started her entry working with a different stone that just went nowhere. Campsall decided to step back and change her thinking.

“I decided to design something that I thought would sell,” she said.

Deanna Campsall’s Grand Prize winning design
Her 3-D rendering features two platinum anniversary-style bands lined with diamonds in a channel and supporting a tension-set sapphire. Another matching band hooks into the two supporting the featured stone.

“You can see diamonds through the sapphire,” she said.

Campsall hasn’t actually made the ring from the design yet, although her $500 prize should help her purchase the materials.. She said she isn’t far enough along yet in her gem-setting education to do channel sets.

“I’m going to make it and keep it for my portfolio,” Campsall said.

She hopes to become a well-rounded jeweler able to do all aspects, including appraisals, in her career. But her heart remains in the design end of the business.

“I like the computer part,” Campsall said, even though she struggled at first. “The first semester was horrible. Since then they updated the software and it’s easier to do.”

Her instructor said most students find the first class a little rough. Kolar called the learning curve steep, but said students usually learn to think in 3-D and master the program if they apply themselves.

“Deanna is very talented,” Kolar said. “She is really focused and very creative in all her work in the computer lab.”

Kolar said she was pleased by all her students’ entries in the Gemvision contest. This marks the second year she’s used the contest as a class project.

It gives the students an opportunity to compete with skills that pay career dividends.

“The cool thing about this software is that a jeweler can have a virtual inventory and show the customer a rendering,” she said.

If the customer doesn’t like something about the design, the jeweler can change elements such as the stone or the metal within seconds. The rendering looks like a photograph of the ring rather than a drawing.

Kolar hadn’t calculated the retail price of Campsall’s ring set. She said the software helps develop estimates by providing information such as the weight of the platinum in the ring.

“It would sell for quite a bit more than off-the-rack jewelry because it’s a custom design and that adds to its value,” she said. “That’s how jewelers use this software. It’s for custom designs.”

Matrix 7 software requires a serious investment of about $7,600. Kolar said it’s not for dabblers but rather for professional jewelers.

Mastering the CAD, or computer-assisted design program for jewelry paid off for a recent graduate of the community college. Kolar said her student landed a telecomputing job creating 3-D models for a company outside the valley.

“They send her a drawing and she models it in the 3-D software and sends it back,” Kolar said. “So it opens doors for people who want to stay in the valley but want a job in a more technical field.”

To learn more about the contest and other winners, visit Visit FVCC’s website at for more information about the goldsmithing and jewelry arts program.

Reporter Candace Chase may be reached at 758-4436 or by email at

Photos by Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake

Caption: Deanna Campsall works on a piece of jewelry on Friday at Flathead Valley Community College.