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Old Cut Diamond Bubble Style Ring

Matilda wanted to combine three sentimental rings into a new design.

Matilda had recently lost her husband, and she wanted to combine the gold from both of their wedding bands, plus a diamond ring he had previously given her, into one new ring. She had two large old cut diamonds, and seven smaller ones to incorporate into this design. During her appointment at our Shaftesbury Design Studio, we discussed different design ideas and options.

Matilda wanted a statement piece, entirely handmade and unique to her beautiful old cut diamonds. She particularly liked a bubble-style ring, she liked symmetry within a design, but didn’t want her diamonds in a straight vertical line, she preferred diagonal. Louise discussed various stone layouts with her, and how she would like the back of the ring to look. Matilda specified that she wanted a solid back to the band, but she left the final placement of the diamonds down to us!

The first step was to unset her diamonds. This has to be done properly by a stone setter to avoid potential damage to the gems. If the gold is going to be re-worked, then the best way to remove the stones is to cut the sides of the settings open, and then to bend the ring until they fall out.

Reworking old gold by hand is highly skilled and time consuming. When the gold is melted in a crucible and poured into a cool ingot, it goes from being liquid-hot to cold very quickly. This makes it hard and difficult to work with. Gold melts at 1,064 degrees Celsius or 1,943 degrees Fahrenheit. The process of annealing helps to soften the gold, this can be repeated a few times. The gold ingot is heated very slowly to ‘cherry red’ – the point just before it starts to melt. Then it is left to cool slowly in the air, making it more malleable and easier to hand roll into wire.

We use the lathe to roll the gold ingot out to the correct wire size. This wire is then formed into the basic shape for the ring. The two matching front bands were made first, and then the solid back piece was soldered into place (see video below). Each diamonds was measured and had a setting handmade around it.

Hand making settings around old cut (not perfectly round) diamonds needs to be meticulously crafted by hand; because they don’t fit into round setting punches. The two large diamonds were to be the stars of this particular show, with the smaller ones scattered around in a uniform pattern. Each setting was soldered into place, and then each diamond was set in a rubover setting. This is where the gold is ‘rubbed’ with a burnishing tool all of the way around the edge of the diamond (instead of claws).

It was a complete delight to welcome Matilda back to our Shaftesbury Design Studio to collect her ring. Combining both her own and her late husbands wedding bands into a bespoke ring, set with diamonds gifted by him as well, made this creation a truly unique and deeply emotional piece.

The finished ring is completely unique and created to our customers design, using her own family gold and sentimental diamonds.

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