Monday, 21 April 2014

Platinum Engagement Ring v2
- a platinum ring recycled from existing metal and Asscher diamond

Recently a client came to my studio with a conundrum. Her engagement ring from her husband had the perfect diamond (a beautiful Asscher cut stone), but was set in a traditional basket platinum design that was not quite her style. She was after something more contemporary and bold. With obvious mixed sentiment, she wanted to know if anything could be done to achieve this look. She clearly loved the stone and all the ring signified, but sought a design that more accurately reflected her own personality and style.

Original ring with 'basket' stone setting.

I assured her that we could remake her existing ring, and even reuse the existing platinum. This suggestion provided comfort that no physical or sentimental part of the ring would be lost. We would not be erasing any of the ring's past, just allowing it to metamorphosis into a new design that would better suit her personal aesthetic and style.

In addition to being more contemporary, she wanted a design that would allow the stone to sit closer to her finger - e.g. not stick out so prominently as the stone was being lifted a few extra millimeters in the basket setting. The ring should also compliment and sit comfortably alongside her existing channel set diamond wedding band. She also felt the current setting's arrangment constricted the beauty of the diamond (e.g. it was boxed in); so the new setting should try to free up the diamond somehow.

Sketches:
chunky, contemporary, and a lower stone setting
Together we came up with a 5mm wide D-shaped wedding band with a four prong setting. The prongs would allow the diamond to float above the band. We would reuse the existing metal and add only what was required to create this second version of her ring.

To confirm the design, I made a sterling silver sample for her to see in person and try on. I often make samples for my clients, as no sketch or rendering can ever replace a 3-d object. Having a mock-up allows us to make any necessary adjustments and also confirms that the client and I share the same vision. It also ensures I know what techniques a skills are needed to make the final piece to eliminate any surprises.

Mock up in sterling silver with cubic zirconia.
(NOTE: the exaggerated  'antenna' look is because
the prongs have not yet been pushed over the stone.)
Although she lived abroad, she was in London to try on the sample in person (otherwise, we would have had to post it). She approved it at once and, with both nervousness and excitement, she left her ring with me to remake it into the agreed design. The rest was now up to me!

To help ease any separation anxiety she might have been experiencing, I took many photos during the ring's evolution and shared them with her and her husband via Dropbox. I enjoy being able to take and share photos of the process, as it is wonderful be able to engage my clients in a piece's transformation, even if they live abroad. Pictured below a selection of images (and one video) showing what the ring when through, from unseating the stone to the final piece.

Version 2 of the ring is now complete, and happily resides on my client’s finger (photos below)! And for the finished photos of the ring, please visit our online boutique.


Ready for melting:
original ring + additional platinum.
Unseated stone & original ring (left);
silver sample of final design (right).
Melting the platinum
platinum ingot 
Milling down the platinum.
Annealing the metal  to white heat.
(Caution to those sensitive to motion sickness:
this video was taken with a camera phone in one hand,
 while holding a torch in the other...)
Flattened metal strip.
Trimming the ends.
Turning up the ring.
Messy bench.
Shaping the ring's curved top.
Marking out the holes for the prongs.
Preparing the stone seat.
Piercing out the stone seat.
Soldering the prongs.
Ready for setting.
Finished.
Happy reunion!
Finished piece.

Remaking a piece of jewellery can be a fun and rewarding process. If you have an existing piece you want to consider giving a new lease of life to, please do not hesitate to contact Amanda to discuss your thoughts and ideas. Contact details can be found here.

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