Introduction: Creating a Two Tone Engagement Ring

Here's how I made a two tone Gold and Platinum engagement ring start to finish. In this particular ring the center stone is a Diamond, the bezel is Platinum and the ring shank is 18k rose Gold. The ring shank is carved in wax and is cast using the lost wax process and the bezel is formed from flat stock.

Every job begins at the jeweler's bench. Jewelers use a LOT of tools! The bench has multiple files, sanding sticks, pliers, hammers, brazing torch, flex shaft and wax carving tools. In addition to these tools there are things like a polishing motor, ultrasonic cleaner, rolling mill and a casting machine.

The first step is carving a wax pattern for the ring shank. This is carved from a green wax using a wax saw blade, files and burrs with a flex shaft. The real trick is keeping the design symmetrical.

The wax is then cast in 18k rose Gold. This is done using the lost wax process. The wax pattern is sprued, placed into a steel flask and then put into the burnout furnace overnight. The next morning the ring shank is cast using a centrifugal casting machine and the shank is cleaned up using files and sandpaper. The inside of the ring is also reamed out/finished to the proper ring size and the shank is polished to make sure it is free of defects.

The next step is making the Platinum bezel. Platinum stock is rolled out to the correct size using a rolling mill and a bezel is formed to the proper shape in order to hold the stone. The bezel is welded using a gas torch and the shape is refined using a mandrel and then filed and sanded to the final shape. The finished bezel is then polished using Platinum polishing compounds and is soldered to the ring shank using Gold solder. The stone is then set by cutting a seat in the bezel, inserting the stone and using a burnishing tool to tighten the stone.

The bezel then receives a final polish, the ring shank is given a brushed finish and after a cleaning in the ultrasonic cleaner the ring is done! If anyone has any questions about materials or processes just ask!






 




Comments

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Mercurius Maker (author)2014-10-29

I notice you're using the TI Cast system, good to know it's catching on. I thought I was the only one.

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Honus (author)Mercurius Maker2015-01-13

I've been using it for a few years now and it's really great- much better than the old swing arm centrifugal casters. :)

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markjel (author)2014-02-28

a very long process but the results is amazing :)

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OceanLady (author)2014-02-26

I haven't seen a centrifugal machine like that... It looks like it spins around the sprue?

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Honus (author)OceanLady2014-02-27

Most centrifugal casting machines have an arm that swings the casting flask/mold around. This one uses a motor to spin the flask/mold- it's a really nice casting machine. It's made by Ti Research-

http://www.ti-research.com/en/gs/Cast-Goldsmith.html

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OceanLady (author)Honus2014-02-27

thanks!

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mehlani (author)2013-07-21

Too technical for me! But very interesting to learn about your techniques. Ring is gorgeous!

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HollyMann (author)2013-06-24

Wow - beautiful! Very interesting process...I had no idea. :)

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Honus (author)HollyMann2013-06-24

Thanks! Writing a new jewelry instructable right now. :)

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curvy77 (author)2012-09-28

(sigh) its so good! makes me realize how clumsy and insufficent my tools are. T-T. O well, i still cast other things than jewelery. Awsome job ;D

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nanosec12 (author)2011-04-07

This is GREAT !!

My wife and I have custom made wedding bands, made by a friend as a wedding gift, and designed by my wife and I. Until your 'photo-essay' instructable I had no idea what went into the process.

Thank you for answering questions that I have had for over 15 years, but never bothered to ask.

5 of 5

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Honus (author)nanosec122011-04-07

Thanks- glad you like it so much! That's pretty awesome that your friend made your rings- not many people can say that. :)

I have to say it's a pretty neat job to have and I'm very fortunate to have a job where I get to work with my hands and have such a wide variety of work- plus I get to play with fire and dangerous chemicals! It's also a lot of fun to able to sit down with someone and make something that is just for them.

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mslaynie (author)Honus2011-04-08

My grandfather made a wedding band for my great-grandmother. The story goes that she and my great-grandfather got married during the depression, and gold was too expensive for them to buy wedding rings. My great-grandfather told her that when times got better, he'd buy her a wedding ring.

Years later, their daughter (my grandmother) married a man who happened to be somewhat of a jack of all trades. After learning his mother-in-law (my great grandmother) had no wedding ring, he got some gold together and made a wedding band for her.

Many years after that, right before her death, she gave that wedding band to my mother and told her she hoped I would wear it when I got married. I've been married now for almost 20 years, and I hope to pass the ring down to my son's bride, whenever he marries.

It feels kind of magical to have a ring with this sort of history to it. Every time I look at it, I remember all the love and wear that has gone into it- the years of cooking, of holding children and grandchildren, even great-grandchildren. I also like to think about the years ahead of it, and the hands that will wear it.

Thanks for showing us how a ring like this can come into being.

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kyle.marsh (author)mslaynie2011-07-10

That's a beautiful story...I just proposed with my great-grandmother's engagement ring and we're going to a jeweler on Monday to get it resized to fit my fiance properly. It's always a pleasure to hear stories like this.

A while ago I saw hereiam's beautiful instructable for making mokume gane rings, [0], and I've been thinking about following that for our wedding bands, but I have no experience making jewelry and no jeweler's tools. I'm hoping to find a workshop or school somewhere nearby that will let me use their equipment and maybe help me learn. Does anyone here have any suggestions for how I should go about doing this?

Anyway, wonderful instructable, Honus. You make beautiful art.

[0] https://www.instructables.com/id/Matching-14kt-Gold-Mokume-Gane-Wedding-Rings/

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Honus (author)kyle.marsh2011-07-10

Thank you so much! I would check out local community college classes and see if they have anything for jewelry or metalsmithing or maybe even a hackerspace- that's probably your best bet.

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Honus (author)mslaynie2011-04-08

Wow- what a fantastic story! Thanks so much for sharing- this is one of the reasons why I really enjoy my job.

I do a lot of repairs and reconstruction with vintage rings and jewelry that have been in families for a century or even longer and it's always great to hear the stories that people tell.

One time I had someone come in with a very old family ring that was severely damaged- well beyond the point of recovery. Luckily the person had photos of the original ring so I was able to hand fabricate a new ring from scratch to match the old ring. Here's a photo of that ring during construction- it was a complex one to recreate!

PlatRingConstruction.jpg
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mslaynie (author)Honus2011-04-08

Ohhh, that ring is beautiful! I bet they were thrilled to have it again. Did you use the metal from the original ring in the new one?

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Honus (author)mslaynie2011-04-09

Sadly I was not able to use the metal from the original ring as it was too contaminated since it had had so much work done to it over its lifetime- kind of a bummer. I do have that happen a lot where I will use metal from sentimental family pieces to create new jewelry- it's not always possible but I try to make it work as long as I feel the new piece will be structurally sound and meet quality expectations.

And yes she was thrilled with the ring! It's always neat to present it to the person and see their reaction. After all these years I still get nervous because I really want people to be happy with the finished product. Engagement rings are a big deal for a lot of people and I want to exceed the customer's expectations. It is unbelievably important to me that people are happy with the finished product and it so great when you get that initial reaction and know that they are thrilled with the work. :)

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mslaynie (author)Honus2011-04-10

You know, that's reasonable/ I think that somehow the spirit of the original ring somehow carries on in the new one, even if it's just in the story. That ring will continue to be loved and shared and passed down, and now you've been added to it's history. Feels good, doesn't it?

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Honus (author)mslaynie2011-04-11

It does feel good. It's kind of neat knowing you're making something that will hopefully out live you. :)

Here's some more pics for you. The Emerald earrings are hand fabricated from 18K wire- the color doesn't show that well as they're really much more intense green in person. The next ring is Ruby/Diamond. The solitaire engagement ring was hand fabricated in Platinum for a co worker- that head was pretty tricky to make! The last one has little bitty .8 mm Diamonds in it- my eyes were pretty shot after setting those!

EmeraldEarrings2.jpgEmeraldEarrings1.jpgRubyRing1.jpgDiamondSolitaire1.jpgDiamondSapphireRing1.jpg
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mslaynie (author)Honus2011-04-11

Oh, WOW!!! You do amazing work. I absolutely love that last ring. It's funny, I don't wear much jewelry, but I love to look at it. I'd love to work with metals, but I really don't think I have the hands (or the eyes!) for it anymore. I'll just enjoy looking at other people's stuff for the meantime.

I really am blown away by your work. The detail is so nice. See, I'd love to see how that last one was made! Guess I'm wanting the moon there... *laughs* That's not your quickie half-hour ring! :D

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nanosec12 (author)Honus2011-04-09

Honus, from your own words I can see why you do such great work. In the post above you summed it up with " It is unbelievably important to me that people are happy with the finished product and it so great when you get that initial reaction and know that they are thrilled with the work"

That desire alone helps define the difference between a craftsman and an artisan.

Please, keep sending us instructable with images of your great work.

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Honus (author)nanosec122011-04-09

Wow- thanks! I credit my parents- my Mom always taught me that you should do every job to the best of your ability, no matter what it is you're doing. It certainly does help that I like what I do for a living. I also just put up some 2D art here- https://www.instructables.com/id/Motorcycle-art/

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crankyjew (author)2011-04-07

how is the platinum welded? gtaw?

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Honus (author)crankyjew2011-04-07

It's welded using an oxy/natural gas torch. You can gas weld 90/10 Platinum/Iridium and 95/5 Platinum/Ruthenium but you shouldn't gas weld Platinum/Cobalt alloys.

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scoochmaroo (author)2011-04-07

Gorgeous!!

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Honus (author)scoochmaroo2011-04-07

Thanks! I posted some pics of some hand made Platinum rings here-
https://www.instructables.com/id/Hand-made-Platinum-engagement-rings/

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jessyratfink (author)2011-04-07

That is an absolutely beautiful finished product! :D Great job documenting it as always, too.

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Honus (author)jessyratfink2011-04-07

Thanks- glad you like it! Whenever I get to make another intricate hand fab ring I'll be sure to take lots of photos- it can sometimes be tough to do due to the time constraints involved because of the work load.

Our shop at work was recently completely destroyed due to a fire in the restaurant next door and we're in the process of rebuilding it. Should be back up and running pretty soon. March was a very interesting month to say the least!

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Mrballeng (author)2011-04-07

You are my hero

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Honus (author)Mrballeng2011-04-07

Aw shucks... :)

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Ben.East (author)2011-04-07

What kind of liquid is used in the ultrasonic cleaner?

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Honus (author)Ben.East2011-04-07

There are all different kinds of solutions available- this is what I use:
http://www.ottofrei.com/store/product.php?productid=3368&cat=730&page=1

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onebitpixel (author)2011-04-07

How are you soldering gold to Platinum. I didn't think this was possible with traditional jewelry/metalsmith tools - maybe I'm just thinking of titanium. I would have thought the gold would melt before Platinum would get hot enough for solder to flow/set. What type of solder would work with this/? Great design btw, love the oval setting.

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Honus (author)onebitpixel2011-04-07

It's definitely possible- you just use a Gold solder that matches the alloy of the Gold you are using so if you're joining 18K Gold to Platinum use an 18K hard solder. The solder will flow and join the two metals together- essentially you are brazing the bezel to the ring shank.

If you're not careful you can definitely melt the 18KGold ring shank as the solder flow temp of 18K hard solder is really close to the melting point of the actual 18K Gold alloy. It does get tricky when joining thick sections of Gold to Platinum as they cool at different rates and the joint can crack if it isn't done right.

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Bio: I'm a former bicycle industry designer turned professional jeweler. I like working with my hands and am happiest when I'm in the shop ... More »
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