Refurbishing an Antique Ring
Abigail wanted to have her grandmothers antique ring refurbished.
The head of the ring was really worn, and needed to be replaced, so it could continue to be worn by the future generations of her family. You can see how little metal there actually was holding her precious diamonds in place. We started by 3D scanning the ring into CAD and creating a new head. The new head had an under bezel (green part in the video above). Adding an under bezel makes the stones and the entire ring more secure.
Here is Abigail’s cast 18ct yellow gold and platinum head! This was cast in three pieces; the 18ct yellow gold under bezel, the platinum setting for the diamonds, and the top 18ct yellow gold setting for the sapphire. When first cast, the metal has a slight texture to it, this needs removing, this process is called cleaned up. Our Goldsmiths use tools, extra-fine sandpaper and the polishing wheel to make the metal shiny (polished).
The three pieces are then soldered together, to form the head of the ring.
3D scanning her original ring ensured all of her antique diamonds were measured properly. They are all slightly different sizes, and this is reflected in the settings (holes) in her platinum. If you look closely at the photo of the un-set head, you can see the holes are different sizes.
Things don’t always line up perfectly when working with antiques, Abigail was keen to retain her grandmothers original gold band, so we needed to use the laser to add more gold and fill in the gaps between the new gold setting and the original old gold band. This is because the old band had moved and warped over time.
We had many discussions regarding overcoming the problem of the old band fitting onto the new head seamlessly. Just soldering them together wouldn’t have worked, because of the different heights of the shoulders.
The laser adds gold with precision, so we were able to fill the gap (shown in the video below) and join old and new together.
This modern day technology (CAD and 3D printing) meeting old family gold (original band) with true craftsmanship, to fuse them together.
Here are Abigail’s diamonds and sapphire being hand set by Paul. He has skilfully moved the platinum over the edge of the diamonds, to hold them in place. He then expertly applied a mill grain edge (tiny bobbles) around her settings. This mill grain effect was originally on her antique ring, but had almost completely worn away over time. It gives this new metal a lovely antique look and feel. A tiny tool is used to create this effect, it looks like a tiny pizza cutting wheel with a crimped edge, this is pressed into the metal to create the ‘bobbles’.
Paul then set her sapphire as a full rubover – gold all of the way around the stone. He created a ‘seat’ around the edge of the setting on the inside, this is for the sapphire to sit down on to. Then he used a burnishing tool to ‘rub’ the gold over the outside edge of her sapphire (this is also called bezel setting). Paul applied the mill grain edge to this stone, ensuring it matched the others perfectly.
This refurbished family heirloom is now ready to be worn by many generations to come! It was a complete delight to deliver this finished ring to Abigail, and to meet her mum at the same time. They were both blown away the transformation we were able to achieve. Her mum will enjoy wearing this, she then will pass it down to Abigail, who will in turn, pass it to her own daughter to wear and enjoy.