Citrine Flower Ring

Many of us don’t understand the value of handmade jewelry. This is because we don’t know how much time, material and work goes into finishing a single piece. We are used to everything being machine made or mass produced and we drift towards less pricey items. To give you an idea of why handmade jewelry is priced higher than mass produced items, I will show you the steps I took to make a sterling silver flower ring.

Steps:

1. After making a brass prototype of the flower petals, the band, and the bezel, I proceed to make molds of each individual piece and inject them with wax. The ring consists of 3 parts making it more time consuming and challenging.

wax models

wax models

2. I cast the wax models in Sterling Silver.

Castings ready to be cut and finished.

Castings ready to be cut and finished.

3. Cut, file, sand, and polish the castings. Assemble the 3 part flower ring (band, bezel, & petals) and solder.

Ring ready to be soldered.

Ring ready to be soldered.

4. Once all 3 parts are soldered and connected, its time to set the stone. I melt dop wax in a ring clamp, insert the ring in it and place the citrine in the bezel. Then with an electrical hammer, I hammer the bezel down so that the metal covers the stone completely. This has to be done very carefully or else you could break or chip the stone. Can you see the hammer marks on the metal around the stone?

Ring in dop wax after hammering the bezel.

Ring in dop wax after hammering the bezel.

5. File and sand the hammer marks off.

notice the metal around the stone is smooth now.

Notice the metal around the stone is smooth now.

6. Remove from ring clamp and soak in paint thinner to get rid of residual wax. Clean. Do a final polish if needed, and Done!

Finished flower ring.

Finished flower ring.

As you can see, this  its not a piece that can be finished in one day. It requires time, patience and lots, and I mean LOTS of work. 🙂

If you liked what you just saw, leave me a comment below!

Adri

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Making 14k wedding bands

After 5 and a half years of dating, my big brother is finally getting married to the most beautiful and sweetest girl in the world. As the jeweler of the family, they came to me for help with their wedding bands, of course. They didn’t want “normal” bands, no, they wanted one another’s fingerprints inside their rings.

The happy couple

The happy couple

My thoughts were: Gulp. Yikes. Whaa…? Not having the slightest idea of how I was going to get the job done, I said “Sure! No problem, I’ll do your wedding bands!” What did I get myself into? I had never done anything like it before so I went to the books. Read about etching, but the acid solution for gold was too dangerous so that was a no-go.  Thought about warming up some wax and pressing on it but I ended up burning my husband’s fingers, so, another no-go. Finally, I went to my mentor, Marc Thurn. He gave me some sheets of black beeswax he had saved from his years in Germany and gave them to me. I saw the light again.

black beeswax with prints

I had them come to the AWL workshop and test the experiment. They went crazy and fingerprinted the entire sheet

After getting the fingerprint impressions, I carved the rings. I carved a groove inside both of the rings so that I could insert the black wax without damaging their  prints. The black wax is very soft and marks with ease. It feels almost like silly putty.

wax sprue of rings

Once the wax models were ready I made a wax tree, crucial step for lost wax casting. Then I covered it with an aluminum flask and filled it with investment. The investment needs to cure so it is placed in the kiln for a 5-hour burnout procedure. Once the burnout is done, you cast. In my case I use a centrifugal casting machine at Miami Jewelry School because I don’t have one yet. These suckers cost about $650!


After the casting is done, you still have lots left to do. Filing and sanding take F.O.R.E.V.E.R.  White gold is super tough!

But hey, it’s all worth it. Today I showed the bride to be a preview of her band and she loved it.

almost done

Thank you Monica and Bro for trusting me with such an important aspect of your wedding. It meant a lot to me to work on this special project and I did it with all my heart.

With love always,

AWL