Natural ruby engagement ring from recycled gold

I have been very remiss in my posts here lately, but rather than start from where I left off I intend to jump forward in time and tell you about a recent engagement ring remodel that is now adorning one happily engaged finger.

Ruby engagement ring remodel

Nuala and Caolan approached me before Christmas to see whether I could take some of their old gold and turn it into their wedding rings and also source them a ruby for Nuala's engagement ring. Happily they were in no rush so I suggested I would source the stone in Germany while at the Inhorgenta trade fair in February - the selection of stones there is second to none and as it was important to them that the stone be ethically sourced this allowed for a more vigorous questioning of suppliers!

Initially I was tasked with finding a deep red ruby similar in size and shape to that of my own emerald cut diamond engagement ring, however finding said stone proved more difficult than imagined and so we widened the search to include larger oval rubies too! There was a bit of toing and froing before we settled on a real beauty from Tanzania weighing in at a hefty 1.82cts.

 A spot of wax carving

A spot of wax carving

The change in shape and size of stone meant a slight rejig of the overall ring design making it curvy rather than angular and indeed quite a bit heavier than originally anticipated. When I got back to the workshop I set about melting enough metal to make the ring and started to forge out the shape using the rolling mills.

However, as is sometimes the case with remelted metal, the resulting nugget was incredibly hard and unbending so having enlisted Dave's help in a vain attempt to bend it I had no choice but to reconsider how it would be made and start carving a wax model from which to cast the ring instead.

The trick to creating a symmetrical design in wax is to lay out guidelines before removing any wax and thereafter to reestablish the guidelines as you go. Wax is much faster to work than metal so it is very easy to go too far and remove too much material, but I'd recommend giving it a whirl if you're at all crafty.

 Ruby solitaire engagement ring

Ruby solitaire engagement ring

The blue wax master was then sprued before undergoing a lost wax casting process during which the old gold was melted and poured into the ring shaped cavity left by burning out the wax. It's always necessary to use more metal than required and you can see a big nugget of additional metal on the side of the ring which has since become a matching wedding band.

There followed a spot of assaying, sprue removal, emerying and polishing before the ruby was ultimately set across the finger to create a lovely contemporary ruby engagement ring.

If you have a project you'd like to explore please feel free to drop me a line here or pick up the phone and give me a bell on 0877956321.