Monday, September 19, 2011

A Special Project

When my sister announced she was going to get married, I immediately offered to make the rings. It is, after all, what I do and making things for others is one of my ways of showing love and support. I was thrilled when both of them accepted.

And so the fun began. The original plan quickly grew. Her fiance's aunt heard that I was planning to make their rings and wanted to contribute to the project. She sent a lovely old key chain, in an amazing shade of gold. My sister also wanted to incorporate a ring which our parents had given her for her 18th birthday, with a lovely diamond. And there was also a bit of new gold, which they had bought as an investment.

My challenge was to incorporate all the elements into a beautiful pair of rings, which would also be a symbol of their union. Oh, dear.

The first step was to prepare the metal. I melted the key chain and the ring, carefully poured into an ingot mold and laminated it down to a long strip measuring 1.6mm by 2.2mm wide. Since the mill is hand operated, my muscles got quite a nice workout. I also prepared some yellow gold wire, from the fresh investment gold.

The metal was then cut and shaped into rings. I didn't want to solder them, since a wedding ring should be a perfect circle, with no beginning, no end and no weak spot, like a solder joint. The alternative was to fuse them together, by carefully heating them just up to the melting temperature, so the ends would melt together, but removing the heat before the whole ring collapsed into a shining puddle.

For the diamond ring, I also fused the wires for the prongs onto the shank. And, let me tell you all, I am not fusing prongs again! It is too nerve wrecking, since the prongs tend to melt before the shank is hot enough to fuse.

The rings were then carefully sanded and polished. Once the surface was perfect, I gave them a matte, brushed finished, which looks very elegant and modern.

Here they are! Wedding rings without beginning or end. The gold represents the union of the two families, merged together by their marriage. From this, their own efforts shape their future, represented by the yellow gold, which is a fruit of their labor together. And everything is joined together seamlessly, supporting one another.

2.2mm 18k rose gold ring, 0.25ct diamond on 18k yellow gold prongs
Pair of 18k rose gold wedding rings

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