SWAPPING CARROTS FOR CARATS - How Jewellery is Made
Have you ever wondered how the jewellery you are wearing came into being? Let us enlighten you...
There are various ways in which a piece is produced but the main ways used now-days are 3D print and cast, wax mould and cast, or hand manufactured as all Ralstons bespoke pieces are. In this article we are going to explain how an engagement ring is hand manufactured.
The process begins with the jeweller meeting the client to discuss their ideas. The client’s budget is disclosed as a guideline to the size of the stones they can afford. The consultation comprises of getting the correct ring size, choosing the various stones, and designing a ring that is in proportion to the client’s hand. Sketches are produced so the final design is agreed upon by all.
All jewellery starts as granulated metal namely gold, silver, copper, and palladium. The granules are added to a crucible in the correct quantities to obtain the correct caratage which is required for the piece. These granules are then smelted down into and poured into an ingot for hand manufacture.
The metal is then drawn through a roller to obtain the required dimensions for the ring and the wires for the manufacture of the setting of the stones. The fist part of the ring that is made is the setting or the collet. The collet is made up of six wires to create a conical basket for the centre stone. The metal is bent to make the band or shank which is then filed and worked to obtain the final size and shape to hold the collet. The collet is then soldered into place. You now have a basic solitaire ring. Parvé settings on either side of the centre collet are added for the small stones.
The entire piece is polished and thoroughly cleaned. The ring is now ready to have the stones set that have been selected by the client. All small diamonds or semi-precious stones are graded so that they are uniform in colour and size. The small stones are set on either side of the ring first, in order to protect the main or centre stone from being accidently damaged while working the ring. The centre stone is then set. The final touch ups and finishes are done to the setting before being sent for final polishing and quality inspection.
The ring is then boxed and the valuation certificate for insurance purposes produced. All relevant documentation for the stones and ring is handed over to the client upon collection.
Although this whole process sounds simple and quick it is however not the case. The entire process will take a jeweller approximately six hours from inception to completion.