Draft:Trent West (Jeweler)

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  • Symbol opinion vote.svg Comment: Lacks sufficient independent, in-depth coverage in reliable sources; as noted by other reviewers, large parts of the article are not cited with independent sources. The article also reads like placed PR, and seems to have been created in violation of WP:NOTADVERTISING. SamHolt6 (talk) 18:25, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Symbol opinion vote.svg Comment: Still too many paragraphs that are unsourced or not independently sourced. AngusWOOF (barksniff) 15:51, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Symbol opinion vote.svg Comment: patents are not sufficient to establish notability, we require in depth independent coverage. Theroadislong (talk) 15:29, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

Trent West, born September 4th 1952, is an American inventor, jeweler and businessman who is best known for his invention of TrewTungsten® tungsten carbide jewelry rings, and his establishment of the US tungsten jewelry industry.  He is colloquially known as “The Father of Tungsten Jewelry”.


Early Career[edit]

Early Apprenticeships[edit]

Born and raised in La Crescenta, California, Trent received his initial training in jewelry making at the age of 16 from his maternal grandfather, George Parr of Parr Jewelers, who had himself been a notable leader in California’s jewelry industry. In 1969, Trent’s grandfather sadly passed away, leading him to seek apprenticeships with other jewelers of the time, notably Ray Orcutt of Laguna Beach, CA.  Trent’s initial designs in the 60’s and 70’s were organic and free flowing.

First Store[edit]

Utilizing the skills and knowledge acquired from his grandfather, and his time as an apprentice, Trent opened his first custom jewelry store in 1971 at the age of 19 in Venice, CA, and ran it until 1981.  During this time, Trent encountered a customer who owned a large fine ruby, and requested that it be used to make a new custom piece of jewelry.  Inspired by the stone and its origins, Trent later discovered that it was imported from Thailand, and shortly thereafter, he began traveling there to find large sapphire and ruby gemstones of his own.

Thailand Manufacturing[edit]

In 1980, shortly after his first trip to Bangkok, Thailand, Trent began manufacturing his own jewelry there.  On these trips, Trent would often spend 30 days at a time in the country designing and having made sapphire and ruby pieces including diamonds by hand.  Once these pieces were completed, Trent would then return to Venice where he sold the new pieces in his store.  In 1981, Trent moved to Santa Cruz, CA while continuing his trips to Thailand which led him to transition into the wholesale side of the jewelry industry temporarily.

Second Store[edit]

In 1983, Trent opened his second store in Capitola, CA and ran the store until 1992. During this time, Trent began wholesaling the jewelry he had produced such as gold rings, bracelets and a variety of earrings featuring fine sapphires, rubies and diamonds from his trips to Thailand.  As the recession of the 1980’s worsened, Trent found his wholesale jewelry business more difficult to sustain.  He then focused on the retail custom end of his business.  By the end of the decade, he began transitioning into the next phase of his journey – Trent West Designer Jewelry.

Trent West Designer Jewelry[edit]

In 1992, after closing the Capitola, CA location, Trent was inspired by his Capitola store  customers to build and open his third store in Carmel, where he began working under the brand name Trent West Designer Jewelry.  At the time, there were roughly 60 jewelers in the city of Carmel by the Sea and this became Trent’s first major high end retail store. Despite the volume of local competition, Trent was still successful in providing what was at the time a unique and comfortable luxury buying experience.  Here, Trent also began offering large piece diamond jewelry, and continued operating the store until 1998.

Because of the success he experienced with the Carmel location, Trent went on to open another store in Aptos, CA in 1994.  Like the Carmel location, the new store also featured a luxury buying experience for customers and was subsequently successful in the marketplace.

Master Jeweler Projects[edit]

Along with the new stores came the ever-increasing need for more sophisticated skills, and in 1990, Trent began studying with notable European Master Jewelers like Orlando Ferriozzi who was located in Carmel.

Under the guidance of these masters, Trent completed a series of watchmaker’s projects in which he developed the patience, skill and perseverance necessary for a master jeweler. These projects included the use of brass and silver, and focused on skills such as sawing, soldering, drilling, polishing and filing.  Then he did a series of various silver ring designs culminated in band covered in identical polished diamond shapes was the final test. These projects would influence the remainder of his career as a master jeweler. Ultimately, Trent transitioned from a lost wax casting based jeweler to a hand fabrication jeweler – a transition that would drive the invention and success of his Tungsten Carbide Jewelry Rings.

Invention of Tungsten Carbide Rings[edit]


Inspiration[edit]

In 1997, Trent traveled to a jewelry convention in Las Vegas[1] and fell in love and purchased a Rado wristwatch he later determined was made out of tungsten carbide.  This became an inspiration for his own tungsten carbide wedding bands.  It was quickly discovered that tungsten carbide was not a simple material to work with. After months of research, trial and error, Trent finally discovered how to use the material to make his first tungsten carbide wedding band.

Tungsten Rado Wristwatch
Tungsten Rado Wristwatch

After several more years of R&D, Trent officially patented and began manufacturing tungsten carbide based wedding bands and in the year 2000 coined the brand name TrewTungsten by Trent West. The TrewTungsten by Trent West brand still endures to this day and is known as the original and highest quality tungsten bands ever created.


Tungsten Carbide Polishing[edit]

In the process of inventing tungsten carbide rings, Trent was also responsible for inventing[2] the first method of tungsten carbide polishing. Trent developed the use of specialized diamond grinding wheels to accomplish the task. Prior to this invention, the manufacturing of diamond grinding wheels for cosmetic finishes was previously nonexistent as previous diamond polishing methods would leave unsightly scratches in the final finish.  To overcome this problem, Trent was forced to develop[3] a unique diamond wheel binding solution specifically for cosmetic jewelry, thus eliminating the silicon carbide binder. In doing this, Trent was able to successfully create cosmetically polished tungsten carbide rings.

Similar to woodworking, the tungsten rings had to be finished with three different grits of diamonds: rough grinding, medium grinding, and finish grinding.  Subsequently, Trent also invented the first solution for polishing tungsten carbide rings[4] with diamond polishing paste on a lathe using a hard wooden dowel with the polish. This process resulted in a perfectly polished tungsten carbide ring.

Launch of TrewTungsten by Trent West[edit]

In the early years of the budding tungsten jewelry industry, Trent enjoyed success as the first  tungsten carbide manufacturing jeweler in the world, having invented tungsten carbide rings[5]. Further developing the invention, Trent was also the first jeweler capable of creating permanently bonded gold and platinum inlays for his pieces.

Trent introduced his new tungsten carbide based wedding band product line to the market, by asking hundreds of retail store owners to accept his trial tungsten line in their stores.  He began by deploying sample cases[6] with 5 pieces of TrewTungsten bands to hundreds of retail jewelry stores. In exchange for these sample trials, Trent asked each jeweler to agree that they would put the rings in their stores with the accompanying color brochures, and if the customers did not respond to them well, the retailers could simply send the rings and cases back.  However, if after 90 days their customers liked the bands, most of the stores agreed to purchase a line of 8 or 12 pieces.

Trent’s strategy launched TrewTungsten by Trent West in hundreds of stores, effectively competing[7] with the major manufacturers and distributors of wedding bands at the time. TrewTungsten by Trent West was soon outselling the other major brands due to the unique look, superb quality and design aspects of the new line. Within four years, the emerging interest in tungsten carbide jewelry created Trent’s first major competitors[8] who went abroad to manufacture copies of his patented rings.

Patent Infringement Lawsuits[edit]


Offshore Emergence[edit]

The first patents[9] for Trent’s tungsten carbide ring inventions were secured in the year 2000 and had to be enforced by the year 2005. Due to the overwhelming success of these rings, competing companies began traveling overseas seeking to replicate the TrewTungsten by Trent West line of products.

By 2004, the overseas copying became an existential threat to Trent’s TrewTungsten business by flooding the market with crudely manufactured, low quality rings by the thousands, in violation of Trent’s patent rights[10].  The overseas manufacturers enjoyed government subsidies and these manufacturers soon posed a major threat to Trent’s business.

With low tungsten ring prices and low labor costs, imports of tungsten carbide rings could be sold at a fraction of the price of its original US manufactured counterpart, and came to dominate the market.

First Lawsuits[edit]

Unable to sue the overseas manufacturers, Trent chose to sue the US based importers[11] instead. The first lawsuits[12] for patent infringement were filed in 2005: but damage to TrewTungsten by Trent West was largely complete.

Close of TrewTungsten by Trent West Manufacturing[edit]

Due to the rampant price and quality undercutting by offshore patent infringers, tungsten carbide rings became a commodity and Trent’s business became unprofitable and unsustainable for the TrewTungsten by Trent West brand.  TrewTungsten by Trent West manufacturing officially closed in the year 2009.

Although TrewTungsten by Trent West ceases to exist, Trent West’s efforts to enforce his patents[13] were successful[14].  Today, more than 20 companies have purchased licenses to sell tungsten carbide jewelry rings invented by Trent West.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Home - JCK Las Vegas". lasvegas.jckonline.com. 2015-06-05. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  2. ^ 6990736, West, Trent, "United States Patent: 6990736 - Methods for preparing jewelry articles comprising sintered tungsten carbide", issued January 31, 2006 
  3. ^ Jewelry & Gems - The Buying Guide, 7th Edition. Gemstone Press. 2009. ISBN 9780943763712.
  4. ^ West, Trent. "Plaintiff, Trent West, learned the craft of jewelry design and jewelry" (PDF). http://counterfeitchic.com. External link in |website= (help)
  5. ^ "Trent West Receives 8th Patent, Extends Protection of Tungsten Carbide Rings Sold in the United States". PRWeb. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  6. ^ "Freie Themen. (FTP 01–FTP 21)". Biomaterialien. 12 (1–4). January 2011. doi:10.1515/biomat.2011.009. ISSN 1616-0177.
  7. ^ Vachon, Ryan (2018), "What You Need to Know About Video Files", Science Videos, Springer International Publishing, pp. 39–46, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-69512-9_4, ISBN 9783319695105
  8. ^ "C C Jewelry Manufacturing v. Trent West, No. C09-01303 JF (HRL). | Casetext". casetext.com. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  9. ^ 6928734, West, Trent, "United States Patent: 6928734 - Jewelry ring and method of manufacturing same", issued August 16, 2005 
  10. ^ West, Trent. "Trent West Gains Injunction Against Internet Sellers for Patent Infringement of Tungsten Carbide". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  11. ^ "Trent West Protects its TrewTungsten Patents". JCK. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  12. ^ "Trent West, Tungsten Rings and US Patent Law". Investing News Network. 2011-10-13. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  13. ^ "Diamonds.net - Trent West Awarded Permanent Injunction for Tungsten Carbide". www.diamonds.net. 2014-11-24. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  14. ^ "Trent West settles tungsten carbide ring lawsuits". Jewellery Business. 2012-10-24. Retrieved 2019-02-13.

Category:Inventors