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Ashes Eternity Ring

Michelle had tragically and unexpectedly lost her husband at a young age. She wanted his ashes incorporated into a bespoke eternity ring, set with hot pink sapphires – his favourite colour.

Michelle’s bespoke engagement ring and wedding band had been made especially for her in 18ct yellow gold. She made an appointment with Louise at our Shaftesbury Design Studio to talk through her ideas.

Her design brief was to mimic her wedding band on the opposite side of her engagement ring to complete her wedding set. Michelle wanted the curve matched, and number of diamonds repeated with hot pink sapphires. Her husband had an absolute love of this colour; his friends wore hot pink polo shirts to his funeral. Michelle wanted his ashes hidden inside of the band.

Understandably, Michelle didn’t want to part with her engagement ring and wedding band, so she asked if it was possible to make her eternity ring without us retaining her others. Ordinarily, we would need at least the engagement to work from – ensuring that the eternity ring fitted it exactly.

Louise suggested that she could take lots of photos and measurements, as well as a quick mould of her wedding ring in blue-tac. This would give us the best start to getting close to what Michelle would like.

We 3D scanned the blue-tac mould to get the measurements into CAD (Computer Aided Design) as a starting point for a design. This is by no means the most accurate way of getting the best fit – but it was the best starting point that we had. CAD is a powerful computer program that allows us to create jewellery with precision and supply photo-realistic images – like the second and third image below.

From this CAD file we can 3D print a resin copy for our customers to try on. Louise posted the first one of these to Michelle for her to try on and home and see how it fitted. There are two recess’s inside the band, these will hold her husbands ashes and a gold lid will be lasered over the top, concealing them inside.

The first design almost fit – but that wasn’t good enough!! You can see the gap in the image below – where the pink circle has been placed. This section of the ring needs bringing down so it sits flush against her engagement ring.

The point of the ring needs bringing in and curving round further – to match her wedding ring on the other side. Plus the band is too thick – on the right-hand-side of the ring – you can see that the depth of the band needs reducing, so that it is in line with her engagement ring.

This wasn’t a bad start, but Louise was keen to make these adjustments and post Michelle another resin copy, so see if version two would be good enough.

You can see the adjusted CAD images below, because the changes we have made are quite small, the overall look and feel of the ring is the same. Louise gathered a selection of hot pink sapphires so that she could hand pick the best ones for Michelle’s ring.

Michelle was happy to report that the second version was perfect! We were thrilled to have been able to get this design right on the second go. We 3D printed a wax copy of this ring and used the ancient art of Lost Wax Casting to produce her ring.

This means that her ring is one solid piece of gold with the recesses cut out and the settings ready for the hot pink sapphires to be set. We also cast two lids to go over the top of the ashes so they were hidden inside.

There is a light fingerprint-like texture to freshly cast gold, this needs removing and bringing up to a high shine. We call this process ‘cleaning up’, a high shine is achieved by using needle files, different grits of sandpaper and our polishing wheel. Once cleaned up, it was time to hand place her husbands inside of the recesses and laser the lids over the top.

You can see the crosshairs of the laser in the images above, this fuses the gold together concealing her precious ashes inside. This means that her husband’s ashes are inside of the band, they are not on show, they are hidden inside. The recesses with the ashes are in the shoulders of the ring – in between Michelle’s fingers. The bottom of the band remains solid as this part of the ring will bear the brunt of any wear and tear.

Above, you can see where the domed lid hides the ashes inside of the band. We always return all of the unused ashes – these are in the bag above. It was such an honour for Louise to welcome Michelle back to our design studio to collect her finished eternity ring.

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