Sunday, January 22, 2012

Custom Wedding Rings

I was honored to make rings for my friends Reba and Andy. Reba's was easy, we came up with the design quickly together... little retro stars engraved into a slightly rounded band, inspired by the 'name necklaces' I had recently started making, and with a bit of a classic 50's look. And once we decided on the size and details it was done just as soon as we started the design process.

Reba's rings are the thinner ones on the right, 2mm yellow and white gold half round bands. The wider set to the left have gone off to a store in San Francisco as part of their wedding ring sample inventory. Orders are welcome on both.
This necklace is an example of the original design that inspired the rings, sold here on Etsy.

Andy's ring on the other hand was a much longer design and making process. They wanted a ring that incorporated gold that Reba found on her birthday the year before on a trip to Maine (where she is from). We came up with a design that was mostly silver with a band of gold running through it. The process of making the ring is documented here...

step 1: Melting the pure gold nuggets that they supplied (in the little vial) with some scrap added to bring the karat closer to 18k, see what a tiny nugget it turns into sitting here on a charcoal block!

step 2: The gold nugget is prepared to be drawn down into wire by adding a silver 'pull' wire onto it, before the drawing process it is hammered some to get the elongated shape started.

step 3: A draw bench is used to pull the wire through the draw plate (a steel plate with many small graduated holes), this wire was pulled about 20 times to get it down to a 18 gauge, it was annealed twice in between (heated to soften). The result is a wire that is about 6" long. Half is the gold side that we will use and half is the silver side that will be recycled.

step 4: The ring shank is made by soldering two pieces of half round sterling silver wire together, this makes for a groove that the gold round wire sits in, the wire is then soldered in the groove.

step 5: The piece is then rolled down through a rolling mill, this flattens the surfaces and elongates them. A few passes are made to get the correct flatness.

step 6: The flat wire is then bent into a almost round band, soldered, hammered round and cleaned up...


And now they are married! It really was such a special honor to attend their wedding and witness them exchange the rings I had made custom for them.

November 5th, 2011 - Rodeo Beach, Sausalito, CaliforniaMore photos from their wedding can be seen here on photographer Alison Yin's blog