Claudia's Heirloom

Background & Brief

The rings Claudia had been given by her grandmothers.

Claudia had been given these rings from both of her grandmothers. She wanted to have the rings melted down and remodeled into a new design, something modern that she could wear every day but also something that maintained the sentimental value of the rings.

Claudia wanted to use all the gemstones and also use the gold from the original rings.


Challenges

 Beginning the melting process by heating up the ingot mold.

Beginning the melting process by heating up the ingot mold.

The main challenge was the risk involved in using the original white gold. There was a potential for the metal to crack when I started re working it after it had been melted down. The really tricky thing is that you can't tell whether the metal will crack before you do it so there was going to be a financial risk involved if it didn't work and, of course, the sentimental risk of possibly losing the metal.

 The badly damaged rubies.

The badly damaged rubies.

The other issue was with the very scratched rubies. These were very old rings and had seen a lot of wear. I suggested having them re-polished to bring them back to life. Claudia was going to lose some carat weight but I couldn't see any point in making a beautiful new ring with shabby old stones that looked worn out.


Process

 First step is to cut out the gemstones. This can take a surprising long time.

First step is to cut out the gemstones. This can take a surprising long time.

 The melted down white gold forming an ingot bar.

The melted down white gold forming an ingot bar.

 Rolled out to form the beginnings of a ring. Black oxide build up from annealing process. (heated to soften).

Rolled out to form the beginnings of a ring. Black oxide build up from annealing process. (heated to soften).

 Rough filed ring

Rough filed ring

 Polished ring.

Polished ring.


Outcome

The metal did indeed crack and I had to melt it twice but we were able to work around the issues. You can see a tiny crack mark in the 'Polished ring' photograph above but we were able to set one of the gemstones there so it was effectively removed. There was also a lateral crack but it was shallow and I was able to put it on the inside of the band and Claudia was happy with that.

 The newly polished rubies.

The newly polished rubies.

 The finished article.

The finished article.

 The happy customer.

The happy customer.

The rubies polished up beautifully and so did the ring. Claudia now had a ring that protected her gemstones (as much as is possible), that she could wear every day, made from the original metal her grandmothers had bequeathed her.