The art of a halo cluster
Have you ever wondered how the very popular halo cluster engagement rings are hand made?
This month, we share one of our champagne diamond engagement rings, carefully designed by Nicholas to meet every need of the discerning customer, and handmade by Matthew to make sure that every tiny detail was translated to the finished ring. Not all halo rings are hand made – there are many that are cast with all of the stones in them (often very fine, and prone to damage) and some are made of component, mass-produced parts that are simply soldered together. The difference with a halo ring made at PIKE, is that every single piece of the ring is hand made, using techniques that have been used for hundreds of years. And this is how:
Every one starts with a lump of metal – this one is 18ct white gold, shown here with the brilliant cut Champagne diamond that is the main feature of this beautiful ring.
The first step of this design involves making a ‘top plate’ for the halo part of the ring – the part where the diamonds will be set. Matthew starts with a square of metal rolled out from the lump above, saw pierces out a square carefully,
and then shapes the square into a very soft curve using a doming block, so that it resembles the curve of the finger.
The outer edge of the square is then filed to become the shape that the finished halo needs to be – in this case a soft cushion shape – and Matthew drills a hole in the centre so he can start to cut out the middle of the plate.
The middle of the top plate is saw pierced out by hand into a cushion shape too.
This ring design involves a four-claw setting in the middle that holds the central Champagne diamond, as well as a four piece undercarriage feature. This is the metal that sits in between the diamond section and the finger. All of these pieces have to be hand made individually and meticulously. The pieces below are the beginnings of the four undercarriage ‘pillars’ of the design,
and this is how it looks finished, ready to be soldered to the top section of the halo. Matthew has also made the four individual claws that keep the Champagne diamond in the ring and soldered them onto the top plate here.
And then it’s time to carefully solder them together.
This is the almost finished setting, ready to be soldered to the band of the ring.
And now time to make the yellow gold band of the ring. After rolling out and shaping the raw yellow gold into a basic ring shape,
Matthew hammers it on the ring stick to make it completely round, and to make sure it’s the correct finger size for the customer’s finger,
and solders it together.
Then Matthew starts to file the gold away to create the delicate shape that is an important part of this design – as you can see, he always needs to start with more gold because of the process needed to create the finished design.
He replaces the file with an emery stick to make some finer adjustments to where the setting will be soldered to the band – this is an extremely important part of the process because if he takes away too much, the setting won’t fit perfectly and he’ll have to start again.
Now the band is ready, the claws have been trimmed back, and the two parts are ready to be soldered together.
Once the ring is soldered together, it’s time for a careful hand polish and ready for the diamonds to be set – exciting!
Once the diamonds are all set, the ring still needs some work. As you can see, the white gold is still a dull grey colour and and any sharp bits need to be removed from the claws and tiny beads of metal holding the stones.
It’s time for the last three stages: polishing, masking and rhodium plating.
Polishing to remove any tiny marks,
carefully masking any yellow gold so that the rhodium plating only adheres where Matthew wants it to be,
and rhodium plating the diamonds sections to make them brilliantly white.
And the beautiful finished result.
As you can see, every piece Matthew makes at PIKE is hand made with a meticulous eye for detail, symmetry and craftsmanship to make sure that our customers are thrilled with the finished piece. Nicholas and Matthew are committed to retaining the age-old jewellery traditions they both love, especially at a time when mass-produced jewellery is so prominent. We would love to make a piece of you. Please contact us on 8338 3109, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we would love to help.
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