I love seeing other people’s processes, so I thought it was time I shared the process that goes into creating one of my gemstone rings with you!
First, I cut a strip of .6mm sterling silver sheet to form the bezel for the gemstone.
I file one end of the strip flat.
I heat the strip to the point that the metal ‘relaxes’ and the molecules line up so that the metal is malleable. This is known as annealing.
After it cools, I immerse the strip into a slightly heated 1/10 sulphuric acid/water mixture. This mixture is known as pickle, and cleans any oxidisation, dirt, or flux from the metal.
After a good rinse and dry, I bend the strip to conform to the shape of the stone.
I cut the strip to the correct length.
I file the other end of the strip flat, so that there is a seamless join where the two ends meet.
I solder the strip together to form the bezel.
After another bath in the pickle, I hammer the bezel on a mandrel to form the correct shape, and flatten the join.
I check that the gemstone fits well inside the bezel.
I emery the bottom of the bezel flat.
From a sheet of 1.0mm sterling silver, I cut a plate to form the base of the bezel.
I make sure the bezel and plate fit smoothly together.
I coat the silver with flux (borax), and place paillons of solder inside the bezel.
I solder the bezel to the plate.
After it cools, the soldered parts go through the pickle procedure again.
Once the bezel setting is clean and dry, I cut the excess material from the base.
I file most of the excess metal from the bezel setting.
I anneal a strip of metal around 1.0mm-1.2mm thick to form the ring shank.
I bend the ring shank to the correct size and shape.
I cut the excess metal from the shank.
I file the top of the shank to fit snugly against the bezel plate.
I solder the shank to the bezel plate, and pickle again.
I stamp 925 and my maker’s mark into the shank.
I file the remaining excess material flush with the bezel base.
I mark the bezel.
I file the bezel down to fit the stone.
I emery the top of the bezel.
I emery the entire ring with coarse emery.
I emery the entire ring with fine emery.
I place the gemstone inside the setting.
I place the ring in my engraver’s block.
Using my setting hammer and a punch, I set the stone.
A final cleanup and a polish with tripoli and then rouge using my flex drive (which I haven’t shown you here), and the ring is ready to go to a new home!