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Family Gold & Gemstone Ring

Jane had inherited some family gold. She wanted a ring designed with some of her sentimental gemstones set into it.

Jane visited our Shaftesbury Design Studio, and we discussed having her tear drop shaped green peridot in the centre of her ring design. Her red garnets and white pearls were to be scattered around the outside. Jane loves bubble – style rings, where the gemstones are set across bands of gold in rubover settings, so this concept formed the bases of her design. Rubover setting means the gold is ‘rubbed’ or pushed with a burnishing tool, all of the way around the gemstone edge, instead of claws holding it in place. This setting style creates the ‘bubbles’ effect.

Jane had too many garnets and pearls to fit into one ring, because her peridot was quite large in size. She asked if some simple gold stud earrings could be made with her remaining pearls and garnets, to form a set.

The photo-realistic images you can see above are created in CAD (Computer Aided Design). These were for Jane to view and amend if necessary. The grey version of her ring design was the 3D resin print of her CAD. Being able to print a resin copy before anything is actually cast in precious metal, gives our customers a change to try their ring on for size, and see how it fits and feels. This offers total peace of mind, some ladies wear their resin copy for a week or two, just to ensure they are completely happy with it!

Once Jane had agreed her final design, Louise then 3D printed the wax to cast this from.

This ring was cast in three separate pieces – its called a three piece cast. The reason for this, is to help with the ‘cleaning up’ process. It is easier to use tools, files and fine sandpaper, when you have three separate pieces to work with, than one piece with some very close sections.

Rough cast gold has a fine texture to it, similar to a finger print. This needs to be gently removed and then polished to a high shine. Once all three pieces are ready, solder is used to fuse the parts together to form one ring.

You can see how the grey resin print, and in turn the purple wax are an exact copy of the original CAD design. You can also see the rough cast gold below, and the solder placed over the joins of the ring – this will be heated until it melts and flows into the joins, creating one ring.

Casting by hand is an exceptional skill. Jane’s family gold was melted, and Mark used Lost Wax Casting to form her ring. The wax prints are attached to a sprue – similar to a branch of a tree. Then a tube is placed over the wax ‘tree’, and filled with a substance called ‘investment’ (similar to plaster of paris). This is left to dry out for 24 hours, and is then heated so the wax runs out of a hole in the bottom – and is ‘lost’ – creating a mould inside.

The molten gold is ‘thrown’ into the empty mould and spun, using centrifugal force to flood the liquid gold into every nook and cranny! Everything is now very hot, and the investment is plunged into cold water. It can’t cope with the temperature change, and bubbles away. Leaving your gold ‘tree’ standing proud! Now it’s time to polish and assemble, ready for hallmarking.

Here is Jane’s ring back from hallmarking, including The Queen’s Jubilee Stamp. You can see Jane’s pear shaped green peridot set in the middle, and her red garnets and white pearls scattered around the outside. You can also see her simple stud earrings, with her remaining pearls and garnets set into them.

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