Natural raw Diamonds have been pretty popular in the jewelry world lately. They have a very interesting and unique look to them with all kinds of wonderful colors with amazing depth. In order to really show the natural raw Diamond the ring design was kept very simple with just a small border of bead set Diamonds around the center stone. This is a pretty straight forward ring to make and it would be a good project for a jeweler that wanted to learn how to bead set stones.
Let's get started!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
I covered in great detail most all of the tools that jewelers use in this instructable so please refer to that for learning about all of the tools and how they are used. I also included links in each section to specific tools used in the making of this ring. If there are ever any questions about tools or procedures please don't hesitate to ask!
As I said before I think this is a good project for a jeweler that is wanting to learn how to bead set stones and since there is very little finish work required for this ring it makes it easy to concentrate on the stone setting work. Since this is such a simple ring design and there isn't any polishing or plating involved it also really cuts down on the tools and time required to make this ring. Trust me when I say that getting a really nice high polish on a ring like this is a very tedious job!
Step 2: Creating the 3D Model
The first step in creating the 3D CAD model is modeling the center stone. The center stone in this ring is a 3.90 carat rose cut natural raw Diamond with a teardrop shape but the design could be altered for pretty much any shape stone with a rose cut or cabochon type cut.
The next step is to make a border around the center stone, taking into account the size of the surrounding small Diamonds. As a general rule it best to start out with a border that is around 1mm wider than the diameter of the Diamonds- the small Diamonds used for this ring are 1.4mm diameter. If you make the border too narrow you can easily remove too much metal when you go to clean up the casting and set the stones.
Next make small indentations in the border for the placement of the small stones. Now add the four prongs that will be used to set the center stone. These prongs should be taller than the outer edge of the center stone and be at least 1.2mm in diameter. If your center stone is very small you can use smaller diameter prongs but I probably wouldn't go any smaller than 1mm diameter. The center stone for this ring measures 11mm in length by 10.3mm wide.
Finally the ring shank is added. It was decided to keep this design very clean and simple so the ring shank on this ring is a simple round wire shape. Note that when designing a ring shank like this where there is a raised area under the top of the ring it will fit a little larger than an identical ring with a complete circle shape ring shank due to the cut away area.
I've included the 3D model of the ring here so feel free to download it and make it as it is or modify it in order to personalize it!
Step 3: Prepping the Casting
Once the 3D model is created it is sent off for casting. This ring was cast in 14K white Gold but it could also easily be done in Sterling Silver or even Platinum. For model making and casting Gold and Silver alloys I like Best Cast as they always do a nice job and they have very quick turnaround times. For Platinum and Palladium casting I really like Techform- they're a top notch company and they always do a fantastic job.
Once the casting is received the casting sprue is removed and the ring surfaces are cleaned up and smoothed using sandpaper and a small abrasive wheel with a rotary tool. Holes are then drilled in the stone indentations on the top of the ring. I drilled the holes all the way through the underside of the border as it makes cleaning rings much easier. I also used a small ball burr to clean up the edge of the holes on the underside of the border to make sure there wouldn't be any sharp edges.
Since this ring was to have a brushed finish I didn't need to do any polishing- I just brushed the surfaces of the ring with a scotchbrite pad. Not having to do any polishing saves a lot of time!
Step 4: Setting the Border Stones
The small border stones are set using the exact same method I described here. I first cut seats for the stones using a straight setting burr that matches the stone diameter. Then I use a knife edge graver to cut a groove around the inside and outside edges of the border. The grooves should just come to the edges of the stone seats.
Next I cut small lines between the stone seats with a graver to create small metal beads- there are four beads for each stone seat. Before setting the stones in the stone seats I go over the border area with a small stainless steel brush with my rotary tool in order to remove any metal burrs that are present as a result of cutting the metal with a graver. Once the stones are placed in the seats I use a small beading tool to push the tiny metal beads over the edges of the stones to hold the stones in place.
Step 5: Setting the Center Stone
The center stone is very easy to set. All that needs to be done is to cut a relief in each of the prongs with a small ball burr in order to hold the edges of the center stone. In the first photo you can see how the prongs are cut away on the inside where they are pressed against the center stone. What matters most when doing this is trying to match the shape of your cut in the prong to the shape of the edge of the stone. Ideally you also never want to cut away more than half of the thickness of the prong. If you cut away too much the prong won't be strong enough to hold the stone properly.
Once I'm happy with how the prongs look I place the center stone in the ring and push the prongs over the stone to lock it into place. Then I shape the tip of the prong with files and smooth them so they won't snag on clothing. Prongs should always be smooth to the touch and never rough. Finally I use a small millgrain tool on the outer grooved edge in order to create a beaded edge around the border stones.
Once I'm happy with how everything looks I give the ring a once over with the scotchbrite pad for a final brushed finish and it's done! If you want a more bright white look you can Rhodium plate the ring but in this case the natural color of the metal looked really good next to the raw Diamond so no plating was necessary.
Overall I was really happy with how this ring turned out. It has a very nice subtle quality to it- it's still sparkly but not too flashy and the rose cut raw Diamond has a real earthy look to it.
As always if anyone has any questions just let me know!