An amazing ring for an amazing customer
Hello, my name is Matthew Pike, and I am the manufacturing jeweller at PIKE. This is my first blog post, so go easy!
I recently had the pleasure of making an amazing ring for an amazing customer.
She has been a customer for over 30 years and has always commissioned very bold adventurous and challenging pieces. This ring was no exception.
The first challenge was using her stones. Tapered baguette diamonds always provide some nervous moments due to their sharp and fine corners, so it was interesting integrating them into the channel setting- it meant having to add a minimal taper to the originally-designed parallel setting, so that to the eye it was almost unnoticeable.
I tackled the settings first so that I knew what the head of the ring would look like before making the two-tone shank (the band). The yellow gold setting was pretty straight forward being made from a solid piece of 18ct yellow gold, profiled, marked out, and drilled to seat the stones.
The white gold setting was the difficult one because of the taper mentioned earlier, but also having to bend such a thick strip of metal without damaging it was really hard. My idea was to manipulate the metal so there was limited cleaning up to be done.
I made a bearing for all the diamonds in the white gold channel setting to add extra strength to the overall ring because a channel setting only uses two parallel sides to hold the stones, and with open ends I wanted to make sure there was no risk to the diamonds.
I soldered the two settings together at the desired height with a slight step down to the yellow gold to provide a visual break between the two channel setting edges.
Now it was onto the shank…….
A pretty straight forward white gold side but the yellow gold side had to be split into a V-shape. Most shanks are made from bending a strip of metal into a circle and soldering the join. Then rounded up on a ring mandrel to achieve the perfect round ring. To make a two-tone shank with one side in a V-shape was certainly a challenge. That is honestly what I love about my job, that I am constantly challenged by Nicholas’ designs but ready and able to step up to them.
The next step, which I find one of the most difficult, was to fit and solder the settings into the shank. The difficulty is making sure that everything is level, lined up and looking straight, if this isn’t the case it can ruin the overall look of the ring or piece I am making. After a lot of heat and lack of breath from blowing through my bench torch, the ring was together as a wearable piece of jewellery. And here’s the finished ring:
The sense of achievement and satisfaction when I have successfully made a new piece of jewellery is a very emotional experience for me. Our customer was almost speechless when she saw the ring for the first time – she was not expecting to see it as a wearable piece, only in a stage of manufacture – so to get that sort of reaction is amazing. The finished ring absolutely blew her away and she couldn’t stop saying ‘thank you’ and ‘oh, it’s just so beautiful’. She is a very trusting customer, but to exceed her expectations in that way is why I love my job so much.
Thank you for reading and stay tuned for another blog soon.
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