A wedding band from Grandad’s gold
Alex had some family gold from both of his Grandads. He wanted to rework this sentimental gold into his wedding band.
Alex came to see Louise for a consultation at our Shaftesbury Design Studio. One of the rings was 18ct and the other two were 9ct. Louise explained that is was perfectly fine to mix the two different carats of golds together, and that his finished wedding band would be re-hallmarked at 9ct, because the smallest ring was 18ct, so the finished percentage of gold wouldn’t be high enough to reach 14ct. 9ct gold needs to be 37.5% pure gold or above to be hallmarked, 14ct gold needs to be 58.5% pure gold, and 18ct needs to be 75% pure gold. The rest is formed from base metals, such as brass, copper and silver, to strengthen it.
The first step is to un-set his Grandads red garnet stone. Louise and Alex discussed re-setting this into his finished wedding band, is was badly scratched and would have needed re-cutting to bring the sparkle back. Alex decided against this and went with a plain gold band, he wanted all of the gold used to ensure it was a heavy-weight band.
You can see his sentimental gold melting and being poured into an ingot. A carbon stick, and some flux, were used to clean any impurities from the molten gold. Gold melts at 1,064 degrees Celsius or 1,943 degrees Fahrenheit. This means it is very hot, when molten gold poured into an ingot mould, it cools very quickly and becomes tough and hard to work with.
The process of annealing makes it easier to work with. Annealing is when the gold is heated very gently and slowly to a point called ‘Cherry Red’ this is the point just before it starts to melt. It is then left to cool slowly at room temperature, repeating this process a few times makes the gold softer and much easier to work with. The gold ingot is dipped in acid to bring back the lovely gold colour after annealing.
Our steel rollers were used to change the shape of this ingot into a lovely wide ‘court shaped’ wedding band. This rolling is done be hand, it gives the strongest band and the most luxurious feel when worn.
Court shaped means the profile of the ring is an oval shape; it curves outwards on the inside and the outside of the band. This is arguably a more comfortable fit that a D shaped wedding band – which is flat on the inside and curved on the outside. Oval is deemed more comfortable because there are no definite edges to the ring. If you think about cutting the ring in half and looking down the cross section, you would see an oval shape for a court band, and a D shape for a D-shaped band.
All three rings were combined into Alex’s wedding band – making for a lovely weight on his ring, we returned his Grandfather’s red garnet gemstone, when Alex returned to our Design Studio to collect his wedding band.
His band was re-hallmarked last year and included The Queen’s Jubilee Stamp. Birmingham Assay Office tested this gold and gave it a full UK hallmark for 9ct gold. Then a final polish on our wheel, and dip in the ultrasonic to clean the polish away.
Combining family gold rings to make wedding bands for the next generation is becoming increasingly popular with our clients.