Updated: Apr 24, 2022
The making journey with tips and tricks.
A few months ago I was approached by one of you lovely lot, and tasked with hand making a #Diana (royal) style #Sapphire and #Diamond cluster ring. Contrary to the traditional version of the ring - which asks for a white gold band to complement the clarity of the diamonds - this chap requested 18ct Yellow gold to represent the (hopefully) future fiancé's sunny and shining personality. Lord am I glad he did. Along side the stunning corn flower blue oval Sapphire, the buttery yellow claws made a heart-stoppingly beautiful addition to the ring of their dreams.
This ring would prove to be wonderfully unique, timeless and with a little modern twist worthy of being their emblem of love for an eternity.
It all starts with an Email
'Ping' I received an enquiry. My absolute favourite notification sound. This gentleman would like an engagement ring making, how exciting. This would be the first cluster style ring I have ever made from scratch, it would be a fantastic challenge.
From the initial email I learnt of the basic requirements for this ring
1: They will be providing their own sapphire and diamonds, and
From there I was able to provide an initial quote which resulted in an acceptance and we got to arranging a meet up.
(Sometimes this is not necessary and we can also arrange online meetings or just converse through emails, it's completely up to the customer's preference - this gentleman was local)
Once ring size, stones, final design and date needed info was collected, I wrote and sent an invoice to the customer.
All that was left was to start making
Start your enquiry today!
Is what I tell myself as I stare at the pre-formed 18ct gold. You can go through each step over and over, worrying about what might go wrong, but once you have made that first step everything will flow. It's just that first little leap. If I can give you only one piece of advise, it would be DON'T RUSH.
I am a - run before you can walk - kinda girl so I understand how painful it is to nibble away at every step, but believe me is saves a LOT of time, frustration and errors in the end.
Making the setting
Measure your stones and mark out where they will sit (in great detail) alongside where the claws will be. you want the seats to be the exact size of the diamond's crown.
This is where I was lucky because I currently have access to an engraver in my workshop. So this involved calculating the sizes, opening a document, digitally creating the seats for the stones, putting the metal in the engraver and pressing Go. and once all that work is done, i can relax and know its super precise.
Usually, I would have to score these seats out by hand (which takes absolutely ages)
Then with a 3/0 saw blade to hand, I set to piercing it out.
Making the seats for the stones and claws.
This was the tricky bit, to burr a seat In the pierced out sheet, all to the same depth and distance. Then drill your holes for the claws to be soldered to. they want to overlap a tiny amount so the claws can be shared by two diamonds at a time.
The customer wanted the claws to be rounded and visible fro the top therefore i made the wire a nice 0.8mm gauge. not too big not too small. This will give plenty of metal to push onto the stones.
Adding the claws And making the basket
The most fiddly part is here. using the correct solder to attach the claws to the inside and outside without melting any of them. Did I mention I need to solder 24 of them In total? Pray for me..
While it’s possible to use Technoflux (I use Cookson Gold click the button to buy)
to deter the heat away from the claws to have already soldered, it’s still good practice
to take advantage of your 3 solder types - Easy, Medium and Hard.
Start with hard and finish with easy.
Each grade melts at a higher temperature allowing you to control your heat better.
Adding the setting to the shank
It's beginning to take shape and I couldn't be more excited.
To create the band the setting was to sit on, I took some D shape wire and tapered it at each end then pierced into the thicker edges to create a split (daylight) shank. The next step was to solder a tube onto the claws to act as a base to solder the setting to the shank.
Then solder the tube to the shank and file the excess away to follow the contour of the finger.
At this point I sent the darling to be hallmarked.
This is a pretty nail biting experience as
One: Will it pass the Assay? and
Two: Please let royal mail look after this precious cargo it is carrying.
Everything worked out ok, within two days I got the ring back and got to work on the scariest part...
I get asked this a lot. It is basically a certificate of authentication stamped directly onto the metal. Purposefully for trading standards across the uk.
As far as I'm aware we (the UK) are the only ones that do it (correct me if i am wrong)
We have to send any Solid gold over 1g or sterling silver over 7g to be hallmarked at one of the 4 Assay offices in the UK.
As a jeweller you register with the one that is closest to you.
Each have their own cute emblem.
By hallmarking, you're telling your customer that they have indeed purchased 9ct, 18ct, 22ct or 24ct gold, or silver and platinum, and also telling the future buyers that they're melting down the correct metal. (very important if you're a #recycler )
Setting the stones
Making sure all the claws were the right length, slightly higher in the middle and low around the edge to give the Sapphire in the middle slight hight, this would allow for a little space between the Sapphire and Diamonds for a flash of light.
I didn't take any photos or videos of this process as it was so stressful, in times like this i wish I had an onsite videographer haha, I just needed to concentrate so much.
Hitting a snag
Essentially, I didn't quite measure the claws as tight as I wanted, and this is the thing with setting. You can measure and calculate as many times and you need but in the final slog everything can change.
I now needed to figure out a way to share the Sapphire's claws with the diamonds so that the outside claws can stay as straight and uniform as possible.
I ended up burring a little nick into the side of the inner claws and hooking the diamonds under.
Then it was a case of pushing the metal on top of the stones and using a graining tool to smooth over and bead the top of the claws and that my friends is it... seems easy no?
Nope haha, that part cost me 3 hours and a frozen shoulder at the end of it. but boy was it all worth it.
See for yourself!
Thank you for reading
If you wish to enquire about purchasing an #engagement or #weddingring with me. don't hesitate to get in touch today. I respond to enquires within 24 hours.