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Refurbishing an Antique Diamond and Sapphire Ring

Gilly had inherited this hugely sentimental ring from a very special lady. It was an antique diamond and sapphire ring made from 18ct yellow gold with a platinum setting. He diamonds are an antique cut called ‘Old Miner Cut’ they were a lovely quality.

The setting was worn out and the sapphires were damaged and needed re-cutting. The whole setting needed re-making. You can see where the gold has worn thin on the sides of the settings, there were holes and gaps in the side walls, this meant that the gemstones were not held in securely.

Gilly came to see us at our Shaftesbury Design Studio for a consultation about what could be done to ensure she could wear this ring everyday, and also pass it to her daughter in the future. Louise discussed different options and we agreed to replace the head entirely and re-use the band.

We 3D scanned Gilly’s original ring and re-created it inside of CAD – a computer design programme. You can see the CAD design that Louise showed to Gilly, this was made to measure around her original gemstones.

Her diamonds are grain set in the centre, you can see the new claws in the CAD images below, her sapphires are demi-rubover set. It takes an experienced gemstone setter to be able to set these gems.

The first job was to un-set and re-cut her blue sapphires so that they sparkles again, you can see the difference this made to them. We double-checked the CAD design and made some tiny adjustments to ensure that her newly-cut sapphires would fit perfectly into their new homes.

Gemstones suffer wear and tear just as much as any other part of a ring. The facets can be re-cut to ensure they sparkle again. You can see the difference this makes, from a domed scratched sapphire, to a precisely cut sparkling one. This is well worth doing if you are having a complete refurbishment done, as the gemstones can completely change how a piece looks.

Next it was time to cast her 18ct yellow gold and platinum. The underneath of Gilly’s setting is the 18ct yellow gold part, and the top is the platinum. We 3D printed a wax for each part of her setting and used this to cast from, the wax is an exact copy of the CAD design because its printed from the same computer file. Lost Wax Casting is an ancient art that has been used for thousands of years to make jewellery.

When precious metals are cast they have a slight texture to the outside of the metal. We need to ‘clean up’ the metal, this means filing and polishing to a high shine. Both parts of her setting were soldered together and her original band was soldered to each side of her new setting.

Gilly’s original band was in good condition and could be re-used, we try to re-use as much of the original metals as possible when refurbishing and repairing jewellery.

Our stone setter expertly set her diamonds and sapphires into place, then a final polish and dip in our ultrasonic, and this was ready for Gilly to collect!

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