In the last few months I have been commissioned to re-work several pieces of heirloom jewellery. The most recent an inherited gold ring with a Rubelite stone. The ring had belonged to the customers father who had worn all the time. After inheriting the ring it was stored in a drawer for many years and not worn. The customer was looking to incorporate some of the gold from his fathers ring with his own wedding ring.
The gold ring to be re-worked was in bad shape, it was worn and the metal cracked. Looking at the style and the marks it probably dates from the 1930s. The customer thinks it came from overseas and it does not have a UK hallmark. It was stamped 9ct but I suspect the gold content to be slightly less as the metal was very brittle and had a greenish tinge on the inside suggesting a higher amount of copper.
After a consultation with the customer and examining the ring I made a plan to melt the ring into usable wire and to form a slim band that could then be soldered to the customers palladium wedding band.
The first step is to remove the stone, the rubelite stone, it was set in a white metal bezel. the bezel is very worn with hardly any metal remaining.
With the stone and bezel removed I was able to remove the solder from the gold and clean it ready to be melted down and cast.
I use a propane torch to heat the metal, once molten it is then cast in a ingot mold. This creates a piece of rough wire.
I then shape and lengthen the wire using my rolling mill. The wire needs regularly heated and cooled during this process to prevent it over hardening and cracking, this is called annealing.
Once I had the wire at the right gauge I made it into a gold ring band to match the wedding ring. The band was then soldered onto the ring.
After some filing and tiding up the ring just needed polishing.
The customer was very happy with the result. I made the remaining gold into a pendant set with the gemstone and the rest into a gold heart charm. These pieces were given to other family members keeping the ring in the family. ( I forgot to take pictures of these!)
I love these projects, they are so personal and symbolic. Thank you for joining me on my Jewellery Adventure, please subscribe for more adventures, news and exclusive offers.