My dog ate my home work! Really!

| |
I was working tonight on a wedding ring design. This will be the wedding ring to fit my first CAD CAM ring created last year.

The wedding ring will fit snug in the waves of the engagement ring. It will have five 3mm Sapphires mounted flush on the eternity band. This way it does not overpower the marquise shaped blue sapphire in the engagement ring. Here a quick sketch. I know I am not good at hand sketching. I worked for too long in CAD as an Architect.  When I create jewelry, I just start modeling without ever sketching the idea before. It's just more fun this way.  
Anyways, to communicate with the customer I had at least to give it a try. 

The challenge was now to replicate the waves of the engagement ring without using CAD. I needed to figure out how to model this ring by hand and still provide a perfect fit. I used a copy of the engagement ring as a mold, wrapped tape around and poured hot wax over it. Then I separated it and had basically half of the wedding ring. I cleaned it up a bit and mixed some silicone mold compound to make a second half. I left the mold with half of the wax ring on the kitchen counter to dry. Half an hour later I checked and it was gone. I found a piece of wax in my dogs Lena's mouth. Still haven't found the silicone mold. I might see it tomorrow on our morning walk:) 

Gosh, why are dogs so destructive. This gets dangerous once she starts to develop a sweet tooth for wax models.
I guess tomorrow night I am trying the same procedure again. This time I will put the model high up where she can't reach it. Will write an update when the ring is finished. Stay tuned.

BTW: Lena is really cute and I can never be mad at her for long. And since I have two dogs there is always a change that the other one was the destroyer. I can never be sure.

Ice and Fire - Or do you like it hot or cold?

| |
I added an new ring to the Tetra ring line on Etsy. 

I had my Ice Tetra Ring up for a couple month now. It already sold a few times. The Ice Tetra ring is a Sterling Silver ring with a trillion shaped faceted Swiss Blue Topaz gem stone. The gem is mounted in a heavy bezel setting that is flush with the stone surface. 

In contrast, the new Volcano ring is all about fire. It has a similar shank design but the stone is a deep orange Citrine stone that is mounted upside down. With that it creates a mountain like appearance. Since the orange represents fire, this resembles a volcano pretty much.

So do you like it hot or cold?

Bad Days Happen

| |
Yesterday was a bad day. I picked up castings from my local caster and a few had major problems. 

One ring lost it's stone during casting. This one had a beautiful marquise shaped sapphire set directly into the wax. Apparently it fell out during the casting process and never was seen again. Now it will be a real challenge to hand set another similar stone in the impression. Marquise shapes are so tough to set flush into the metal. They break really easy and its hard to get the fit right.

Another ring with a beautiful black diamond was at least fixable. Some silver covered the surface of the diamond, hiding the black beauty underneath. Thankfully silver is so much softer than a diamond, so the silver can be carefully polished away without scratching the diamond. 

But the real bummer was the casting of a rough diamond stacking ring. A quarter of the silver ring is totally messed up. It is porous and has pits all over. Something that can not be fixed. I will have to redo this again. Hopefully I get all the diamonds out of this screwed up ring. The really bad thing is that last week 2 more people ordered those raw diamond rings and one even has to be done in 18 karat gold.  Now I am rally terrified that all those 5 rings will go wrong when I try it again next week. If all goes well it should come out like this ring did. 

It is always a challenge using this method. I had some rings come out great and some others were ready for the scrap bin. It seems to be a 50/50 chance. I really wish I could afford my own casting setup to be able to experiment with this more. Unfortunately this equipment is really expensive and needs a large ventilated space. It also eats a lot of energy, so for my low production runs it would be not very sustainable.

The stone in place casting method allows to create some settings that would be almost impossible to get otherwise using the hand set method after the casting is done. Stone-in-place casting dramatically reduces labor costs associated with manually setting tiny gems.

In stone-in-place casting, a wax model of the jewelry piece is created, and the stones are set into the wax prior to casting. The wax model is placed into a flask and a fine-grained, heat-resistant plaster called "investment" is poured around it. Once the plaster has set, the flask is placed into an oven and heated until the wax burns off, leaving behind an empty cavity and the stones, which are held in place in the cavity by the investment. The burn out timing has to be adjusted slightly when stones are in the casting. The temperature changes have to be more gradually as temperature shocks can damage even the hardest stones.

The jewelry metal — normally gold or silver, since platinum's melting temperature is higher than most stones can tolerate — is melted and poured into the cavity, filling the space left by the wax. After the flask cools, an almost finished, stone-set jewelry piece is removed from the investment. Once the sprue is cut off and metal is smoothened, it just needs to be polished.
There are still limitations to what can be done with stone-in-place casting. For example, only certain stones can be used in this technique. Since the melting temperature of gold is 1,700 F to 1,800 F (927 C to 982 C), stones must be able to tolerate fairly high temperatures. Stones that change color when exposed to high temperatures, such as amethyst or blue topaz, or which will burn at these temperatures, such as pearl and turquoise, are not suitable for stone-in-place casting. The most popular choices, unsurprisingly, are diamonds, ruby and sapphire and synthetic stones, which are durable stones with a high tolerance for heat.

Related Posts with Thumbnails