IT’S FINALLY TIME to talk about the awesome project I got to work on earlier this year…you know, that time I made custom rings using PANNED GOLD and MINED SAPPHIRES.
What makes this so special? Here it is: The gold and sapphires were supplied to me by a happy couple that panned for and mined these materials themselves!
Yes. They got their hands dirty. They got low to the ground, whispered sweet nothings into the earth’s crust, and yielded precious treasures.
In all seriousness though, I’m a goldsmith and even I have never had the opportunity to do something that cool. The closest I’ve come is probably that time I told my little computer game civilization to get me some golds because I couldn’t grow a proper civilization without it. (Age of Empires anyone?)
It was decided that the most important aspect of the design would be to have the rings match each other; to make a proper set. The sapphires they mined were sent out to a stone-cutter and were cut and shaped into 3 stones; two matching rounds and a single cushion cut stone. There were also a few vials filled with water and floating gold flakes, as well as small cases filled with bigger nuggets.
There were a lot of gold flakes, but not quite enough to make a ring. The panned gold was approximately 22kt, and while this is certainly close to pure gold, it is generally a bit too soft to wear as a wedding ring.
14kt gold is the industry standard for gold jewelry.
We decided it would be really neat to inlay the 22kt gold flakes into a 14kt white gold ring. The gold inlay, along with sapphires set in each ring, would be the signature element of both rings to truly bring them together.
The gents ring was designed to be a bit squared for style and comfort. As you can see, there is also a recessed area in the center, which would serve as the canal to inlay the gold flakes. The cushion cut sapphire would be bead-set in the center. Having the stone sit flush with the top of the band was an important element of the design. After the ring was complete, a brush finish would be applied to make the gold less shiny.
I am beyond thrilled with the finished product.
With the crafting of this ring, I claimed the experience points necessary to “level up” my goldsmithing skill.
Doesn’t it feel great to “level up” in life? Whether it be in our careers or hobbies, there is no replacement for putting in the TIME required to improve and progress.
Beyond goldsmithing, I am currently trying to level up my “cat food pouring” ability. I can never seem to pour dry food without a pesky piece or two escaping the outer rim of the bowl.
Let’s carry on.
This ring has a number of elements that I simply love in jewelry. A half carat diamond would be bezel set into the center of the ring, and the ring’s width would be nearly as wide as the center bezel. Two matching sapphires would be bead-set into the ring, one on each side of the center stone. Gold flakes would be inlayed into the center to give a pop of color and also match the design of the gents ring.
Another ring I am completely thrilled with.
This ring was designed for a nurse. She wanted to design something that had a low profile and would not interfere with her work or scratch her patients. (Rings can also scratch babies!)
Having the center stone bezel set and the side stones bead-set, with the gold flakes inlayed into the channel, ensured that her ring would be work-safe.
I am beyond tickled that I was able to use their materials, collected from our beautiful earth, to create matching rings that they both can cherish.
Thanks friends! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
I will see you again next week with a new Q&A series I’ve been working on.
M O D E R N G O L D S M I T H