Here are back to back blogs just to make up for the silent treatment I’ve been giving you guys. My Instagram blog was just to promote myself on the photo sharing application. Self plugs on my own blog is always acceptable. Anyway, this blog is a good one. I’m going to share my experience making this custom men’s ring that I made from scratch.
I get an email from one of my customers saying they need a size 11 men’s ring, custom made. So we get to talking and I ask for some ideas he had in mind. He first sent me an image of this Lapis rough that he’s had in his possession for many years.
He wanted me to build a ring around this piece of rough. I asked him to send me some ideas he had in mind for the ring. He starts to send me some images and I started to get an idea of what he wanted. Most of his images that I received looked like this ring was supposed to be heavy. I received some more images of some filigree style designs you’d find on antique picture frames. So, in my head, I was like ‘Ok, this seems like a project that I’m going to enjoy’.
Jobs like this are fun because it’s on the jeweler to design freely without sacrificing the attention to detail that certain projects, like this particular ring requires. So I pull out my piece of paper and dust off the art supplies and I start to design. A little back story on how I became a so called ‘artist’. When I was a kid, my mother used to drag me to work whenever I was off from school and in order to keep myself busy, I’d animate. I was heavily involved with comics and that inspired me to duplicate drawings of Spiderman and classic characters like that. Anyway, so this is what I originally came up with as a draft for this ring.
Here’s some close up shots of the ring. I gave my client a birds eye view and a 3D view of how the ring would look like.
He loved it for the most part but he wanted to remove some filigree twirls and add some sort of pattern on each corner of the ring. He also wanted the filigree to act like a setting and just sit on the stone. So I started to design an altered version of my original sketch.
Like I said, a rough sketch. He loved the little winged sections on each corner and how I incorporated each little section to act like a ‘prong’ or a bezel so this stone could sit nice and tight.
After he approved it, I started the process of bringing this piece to life. So I started the CAD process. ‘CAD’ stands for ‘computer-aided design’. This style of designing a wax with the aid of a computer came into the business about 10 years ago. It’s more accurate and spot on with the angles. Anyone can CAD but some people that CAD, don’t really understand the jewelry side to things. You need to know why the section needs to be there versus just drawing something. You need to understand the math behind it before getting into the CAD business.
It’s such a trip seeing your drawing come together like this, in CAD form. I went with a woven look to give some life to the shank. The customer loved my idea since I started incorporating it into my sketches.
My customer loved the CAD and approved it. So my next step is to send this CAD file to the wax printing machine. These machines will grow the wax from the ground up. It lays down the foundation and starts to grow your file, layer by layer. This ring took about 23 hours to grow.
So you got the bezel with all the filigree work on the left, the gallery in the middle, and the ring itself, on the right, all ready to be casted.
I made the bezel separate in order to fit the large Lapis, that I’m going cut, into the ring without damaging the stone itself. The stone has a few natural inclusions (cracks). It’s not recommended to set into a bezel setting when you are dealing with a fragile stone.
I showed the customer the wax that I grew, just to get him excited before I sent it to casting. He loved it and gave me the ‘OK’ to cast it in 18 karat, yellow gold.
The casting came out beautiful. But before I do any work on this, I’ll need to cut that Lapis rough into a cushion cut with a high dome and a checkboard cut.
I started the process of shaping the Lapis into the Bezel.
This is the final, ‘attention to detail’ portion where I’m getting the stone down to the millimeter in order to have it fit perfectly into the bezel.
After sizing the stone into a cushion cut and shaping the domed section, I started to process of adding facets to the Lapis. This is the finished look that I had envisioned in my head when I first thought about how the stone would look like on this ring.
After doing some gold work and adding the polish and finish to this ring, I was impressed how this 35 gram, 18 karat monster of a ring, came out. It sort of looks like a ring that would of belonged to an Emperor or some sort of royalty. The woven design on the shank adds flavor to the big filigree work on the bezel. This was a fun project I must say. The customer was pleased with the results and he almost cried when he saw it. It brings joy to my heart, knowing that work like this is still appreciated.
If you have any custom ideas that you’d like to bring to life, email me at Sako@cicadajewelrydesign.com but other then that, till next time…