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Handmade Wedding Band from Family Gold

Nicola wanted a handmade wedding band. She had some 22ct family gold that she wanted to use, and some sentimental diamonds to set into it. Her 22ct gold came from three family wedding bands. The diamonds she wanted set came from two 9ct yellow gold rings (these 9ct rings were used to make a thicker band on a different garnet ring).

Nicola came to have a design consultation with Louise, they sat sipping tea whilst they discussed different design ideas. Nicola want to use all of her 22ct family gold in this ring, she wanted her ring to be domed at the top and tapered at the back, with her diamonds set across the front.

She had another garnet ring that had a very thin shank, her diamonds were carefully unset from her 9ct gold rings. These 9ct gold rings were used to make the band on the garnet ring thicker, we melted all of her 9ct gold together and handmade a new band for this ring.

Her 22ct gold was melted and poured back to an ingot, then it was annealed. We clean molten gold with a carbon stick and some flux to remove impurities that could be in there from solder and general wear and tear. The cleaner the gold is at this stage, the better it will roll our into a wedding band.

Gold melts at 1,064 degrees Celsius – it’s very hot when its liquid, when its poured into the ingot mould it cools very quickly. This makes the gold tough and difficult to work with. The process of annealing gold is when its heated very slowly until it changes colour to ‘cherry red’ this is the point before it melts. Then is it left to cool slowly in the air. Repeating this process a few times softens the gold and makes it easier to work with.

Mark expertly handmade her wedding band, this 22ct wedding band had such a lovely colour to it, because of the high percentage of gold. 22ct gold is 91.6% pure gold and the remaining 8.4% is a base metal (such as brass) to strengthen it. By comparison , 9ct gold is 37.5% gold and the remaining 62.5% is a base metal.

Once her wedding band was made, and her garnet ring was ready, we re-hallmarked them for Nicola; the original hallmarks were lost in the melting process. We use Birmingham Assay Office for this, they independently test each item and then mark it accordingly. Each ring is marked with – a makers mark, purity mark (916 for 22ct gold), a mark for Birmingham (an anchor), a crown because its gold, a year date mark (Y for 2023), a convention mark (an international treaty between states which is designed to ensure safeguards for the cross border trade in precious metals), a mark for King Charles |||, and a celebration mark for Birmingham Assay Office operating for 250 years.

Next, it was time to set her sentimental diamonds. Steve plotted out a scatter pattern for Nicola’s diamonds to be set flush down into her band. Flush setting is a skill that requires patience and lots of practice. The top of each diamond is set flush – in line with the gold, then a tiny ring of gold is pulled down over the edge to secure it in place. This is meticulous work.

Once we had set her diamonds, it was time for a clean and polish. We were thrilled to receive such lovely photos from such a special wedding day!

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