Making of Custom Square 1 Rings

I am working on a custom order for a engagement/ wedding ring set from the Square 1 collection. The rings are to be done in 18k white gold with yellow gold settings and 4 to 5 rough diamonds instead of 1. They still include the rings with the orange and green sapphire.
The square settings I usually use with the silver rings are only available in 14k gold and making them by hand did not work out so well without having a square bezel punch set.  I did a couple tries with silver bezel but I could just not get them perfect enough to be happy about them. Since the rings will be done in such an expensive metal, I want them to be absolutely perfect and not wast any gold in making them.

I decided to use some of my still very limited 3d modeling skills that I gained through the RAW challenge and modeled the rings and settings in Rhino3D.

The advantage is that especially the underside of long setting now matches exactly the curve of the ring and fits like a charm. And the seats for the faceted stones in the small square settings are perfectly even. I did model a couple alternate settings for 3 or 4 rough diamonds to be able to play around with the design a bit more and offer more choices in the future.

Then had them 3d printed on one of those really high resolution wax printers. It cost a lot more than the printing available through firms like Shapeways or Ponoko, but it's worth it since it requires less sanding to get the parts smooth. And I needed very crisp edges. Thats how they look in printed wax.

Glad the diamonds and sapphires actually fit in there. 

The longer settings are really fragile in this state and break easily as one can see. I should have modeled the casting sprues (gates) already on them to be able to handle them better. Lesson learned.

After smoothing the sides of the rings a bit with fine sand paper they went off to my local caster. I can't cast Palladium White gold in my studio as the equipment does not go up to high enough temperatures. I also did not want to take a chance with the yellow gold settings and sent them out too. 
Luckily it only took 2 days for Precious Metals West to get them back to me. They got most of the settings cast without braking them, yeah! That is how they look after casting without being polished. 

Now I will spend my weekend with filing off the rest of the casting sprues, cleaning and sanding all parts and soldering the settings to the rings. Then stone setting and final polish. I will post the final rings when they are done. 

More photos can be seen on Flickr.

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