As if often the case with crafts of passion and precision, making engagement rings is a skill that takes years to learn and decades to master. It is by no means a new trade, either, with humans having crafted rings and other accessories for thousands of years.
The skills used by our ring-crafting ancestors are still present today, with the art having been passed down over generations. While there have been innovations and efficiency improvements, their same dedication and precision is required to craft the masterpieces we see friends and family wearing on their hands.
If you’ve ever been curious about how these beautiful and varied objects are made, you can read on to find out more about the processes involved.
Crafting the band
While the band often takes a secondary role when admiring the beauty of a ring, it is by no means an afterthought – it’s crucial in making your ring wearable and providing the perfect backdrop for the gems.
Even after thousands of years of making rings, there are only two main methods of crafting the band – the ancient art of wax casting and the more rugged method of shaping the metal by hand.
They are both perfectly valid methods of crafting custom made engagement rings but involve very different processes.
With wax casting, the creator first makes an exact wax replica of the final design before embedding this replica in a metal container filled up with plaster. This is then put into an oven at extremely high temperatures, burning away the wax and leaving behind a mold of the exact dimensions required.
The chosen metal is then ready to be melted and poured into the mold, where it will cool and solidify. It’s then a case of carefully extracting the newly-set ring, at which point it will be painstakingly polished to achieve the perfect finish.
Stone setting can then take place, finalizing the process and having your stunning engagement ring ready for shipment.
Shaping by hand
While wax casting involves melting, pouring, and setting, shaping by hand is an altogether more rugged process that nevertheless ends with the same flawless results.
For this process, a number of tools are required depending on the intended finished result – mallets and hammers will provide different effects when used to shape the metal.
Triblets are another crucial component, as they enable jewelers to accurately shape the band to fit the wearer’s finger. While wooden and plastic triblets can be used, steel triblets provide a sturdier and more reliable shape.
Once the wearer’s desired metal has been selected, it will be cut to size and then shaped using a triblet and a jewelry hammer. It’s then a case of creating the ‘claw’, or the holder for gems that will be set into the ring.
The shape of the claw is entirely dependent on the stone due to being embedded, but this will be soldered, filed, and carefully lipped to ensure the stones are firmly encased.
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