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Casting a Sapphire Bubble Ring from Family Gold

Loraine had some sentimental rings that were set with diamonds and sapphires. She wanted a new ring designed and made from her family gold, and set with her own gemstones.

The first job was to unset all of the gemstones Loraine wanted to use, she had some additional family that she wanted to add into the mix. Loraine had enough gold to be able to cast with – we always return your excess gold when the job is completed.

After a detailed conversation over the phone (this lady lives in Scotland) Louise was able to show Loraine a CAD design. You can see the first CAD design that was presented, Loraine liked it but she didn’t love it.

It’s absolutely fine to tweak and change your CAD design until you are happy with it.

The first CAD design showed the diamonds in a micro-pave setting. Loraine liked the concept but wanted more of a rounded edge to her bands, she wanted her diamonds grain set down into each band – so that there was a rim of gold running along the outer edges of each band.

You can see the differences between the outer and middle bands, Loraine was happy with all three bands matching, and proceeded with this design.

Tiny adjustments in CAD are easily achieved and can change the overall look and feel of a piece, before it’s actually cast in a precious metal.

This ring was cast using Lost Wax Casting in three separate pieces, this helps with filing the surface of the gold smooth and then with polishing to a high shine – this process is called ‘cleaning up’.

The three pieces are then soldered together to form one ring – see the green CAD image above of the three separate pieces.

We 3D printed a resin copy of what the finished ring would like – the grey version of the ring.

From the same computer file, we 3D printed the actual wax – the purple version above – that would be used in casting the finished gold ring.

Loraine’s gold was melted and we used Lost Wax Casting to create her ring. The purple wax was attached to a ‘sprue’ – this is the recess where the molten gold flows in. The wax looks similar to a tree – with the three parts for this ring being the branches and the sprue being the trunk.

The wax tree is encased in a substance called ‘Investment’ which is similar to plaster of paris. A vacuum is used to suck all of the air bubbles out of the investment, and it is left over night to dry out and go hard.

The investment is heated in a kiln and the wax melts and runs out of the bottom – it is ‘lost’.

Inside the investment there is now a mould (recess) in the exact shape of the ring we need to cast. Lorain’e family gold was melted in a crucible and centrifugal force is used to ‘throw’ the liquid gold into the mould. When the casting machine has stopped spinning then the investment is taken out and left to cool slightly.

Everything is now very hot, the investment is plunged into cold water and it can’t cope with the temperature change; it bubbles away, leaving a gold tree standing proud.

Each part of the cast – in this case there are three pieces to Loraine’s ring, is now ‘cleaned up’. This is the process of filing and polishing the fine texture left on the surface of the gold by the casting process. Once each piece is brought up to a high shine, then they are soldered together to form one ring.

We use Birmingham Assay Office for our hallmarking, Loraine’s gold boasts a brand new full UK hallmark, including our Makers Mark.

Our stone setter skill-fully hand set her diamonds and sapphires into their new settings, the diamonds have been grain-set down into her bands and the sapphires are rubover set in the ‘bubble style’ that Loraine loves.

We particularly love the contrast between the navy sapphires, white diamonds and rich yellow gold in this ring!

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