My process of making.
The process of making an engagement ring. Engagement rings are beautiful, complex and detailed. There is a lot of time, design and craftsmanship put forward to make them. Thought needs to go into strength and how the piece will wear over time. With technology moving the jewellery trade forward in 2018 there are many new ways to make a piece of Jewellery and engagement rings are no different. CAD stands for Computer Aided Designing. This is the process of designing a piece of jewellery on a computer and printing the design out via a 3D wax printer. This model is then cast using a method called loss wax casting. The end result is an unfinished piece of jewellery that then just needs cleaning up. This style of jewellery making is great and it has open up the way jewellery is made today.
It is however not how I make Jewellery. Call me old school or old fashioned but there is something about putting pencil to paper and sketching out designs that I feel much more personal and nostalgic.
So whats my process.
So upon meeting I workout with my clients what a rough design is going to be. If they have a picture of what they’d like already then theres sometimes no need for drawings. On the other hand if the design is not so straight forward then I would do a drawing to show how I think it would look.
The next stage is making. We’ll keep it simple and say we’re making a Single stone diamond ring. The making can vary slightly depending on the design. Sometimes I might carve out the entire ring by hand in wax and then cast this wax model to get the finished ring. I would probably say more often than not I’d try and make it from the desired metal from the world go.
So we start with a collet, this is the part that holds the stone. A collet is made to fit the stone exactly. In this process i’m constantly picking up the stone and measuring it against what i’m making. I start with a bar of metal and mill it out to the desired thickness and width. Then this is turned up into the shape of the stone, round for round stones, square for square stones etc.. If claws are to be holding the stone then the next stage is to add them. This is either done by cutting and filing out the collet or for a basket setting, wire is attached to the collet to make the claws.
Once I’m happy with the collet and the stones fits perfectly its now time for cleaning it up and making the shank or band. For a simple parallel shank then i’d make up a band by milling out the metal to the desired thickness, width and length. The length is determined by the finger size of the client. Once the metal is the correct dimensions i’d then turn up the metal using half round pliers and joining the ends with solder. We now have a band! The band is heated to soften and then beaten round on a steel mandrel.
We now have a collet and a band. I have to clean them both up by sandpapering and polishing. I also have to submerge them in an acid to remove any soldering Flux used in the solder process. I also like to give both parts a polish before I put them together.
Next I measure the collet and remove a piece the same size from the band so that the collet will fit snug. This is then soldered into place and the cleaning process starts again before we set the stone in.
Once the ring is clean and polished I then start setting the diamond into place. This is done by using a collet seat burr on a pendant drill. The seat is to be cut the exact size of the stone so that the stone sits now into the collet nice and snug. Once the stone is tight the claws are bent over and the excess claws are trimmed off.
Were there, well almost anyway! Another round of polishing is required, the polish is washed off for the final time and dried on a polishing cloth. Besides Hallmarking thats it! Were there! The very basics on making a single stone diamond ring with a parallel shank band.
Thanks for reading!