Oricalcum

Making an Engagement Ring

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  Evening, looking for a bit of advice on a bit of an issue I have - an engagement ring for my girl. I could go out and buy one, but what I'd like to do is take the money I'd spend on the ring and spend it on a much nicer stone, and try to set it myself in either a stainless or titanium ring of my own making. I've never made a ring before, but it doesn't seem too difficult, and I've got plenty of stock to practice with. What I'm more concerned about is the actually setting of the stone in the metal. Any advice you guys have for the project? I'm a rather novice blacksmith, and anticipate doing hundreds of trial runs with many cheap practice stones, so any sage advice would be appreciated.

 

  My apologies if this isn't the correct section to post this in, it seemed appropriate. 

 

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White gold and platinum are cheap compared to diamonds. My advice would be to purchase the nicest ring you can afford and then spend the first year of your happy marriage honing your skills as an aspiring jeweler and make her something for your first anniversary. Starting from a point of no experience on a project of that importance seems like performing open heart surgery with no medical training. If you have found the one woman in a generation who whole heartedly believes it's the thought that counts then go for it. My money says that no matter how understanding she is she will still appreciate a proper ring set by an experienced jeweler.

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29 minutes ago, TwistedCustoms said:

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  I've always thought that a hand-made gift is more valuable than one bought, and her family is of the same belief. I must've deleted this from the post, but I would plan on using a stainless steel or titanium for the actual ring, just because she has a track record of breaking rings made of softer materials, and it kinda stresses her out to wear them now. 

 

  I agree though, and I want to make her something extremely special. We have two years before she gets out of school, so I'd like to use that time refining my abilities in this regard.

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OK, the additional information changes the way your idea is perceived, by me at least, so here are a few more suggestions. Working with non ferrous metals is not blacksmithing, though many blacksmiths do work with non ferrous metals. Forging copper, silver, bronze and brass alloys is a lot of fun and has its own challenges. Cold work, whether by hand or machining requires a distinct and extensive set of skills too. The more information you can provide will greatly influence the kind of replies you will get. Stainless is of course ferrous but I mention the others because stainless may not be the best material for setting a stone. If the ring is turned I would assume any filigree work would have to be brazed on. If you're not familiar with it already do a search on Damasteal. It's a brand of commercially available pattern welded stainless you can buy in rounds. I've seen some really pretty rings turned out of that material but never with a stone setting. I look forward to seeing what new information pops up on this thread! Good Luck!

PS Lower carrot gold is durable enough for most mens rings. White yellow or rose, doesn't matter, 10 to 12 carrot is much tougher than 14, 18 etc. Gold can be brazed with gold for the filler so there is no visual difference between the filler and the two parts being brazed. I have personally never seen a brazing rod that  exactly matched the material I was brazing because it is not the same material. Maybe don't give up on silver or low carrot gold just yet? Again, I hope this moves forward.

   Regards, -M-

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  Yeah, I didn't know if I should post this somewhere else for that reason, but I was thinking about stainless - just wasn't certain how well stainless would work out. That Damasteel looks mighty fine though, and I'm more familiar with steel than I am with titanium or other metals, so I'll have to do some more research on it. 

 

  Silver and gold seem like they'd be much easier to make some kind of a setting with, seeing as your can just solder/braze the setting, so that is tempting. Will have to play around a bit and post some pictures in a few days with my first few prototypes, appreciate the information so far!

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. Stainless can be a real bear to work with and I don't know how well stones would last in it. I suppose it'd depend on how they were set. 

The wedding rings my wife and I wear are Mokume Gane: red gold, white gold, yellow gold and silver. It's a simple twist pattern billet that was sawn lengthways and made into our rings. The patterns of the mokume are mirror images, like sawn boards. Unfortunately the profile of the rings we chose are different enough the patterns no longer match though the rings do.

The fire opal I had set in mine didn't last 6 months but opal is fragile, unlike gemstones. 

The learning curve for mokume gane isn't too long nor steep. It's not easy, don't get me wrong you'd be working at it to gain the skills to make a nice set or rings. What it is though is something a guy can work with without extensive equipment and skills. Check out James Binnion's Mokume Gane site. it comes right up on a search or I'd be posting a commercial link. Jim's who mad our rings, good guy seriously excellent artist.

Tell him Frosty sent you, you might be able to buy rings with findings you can set the stones in yourself. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I take my sterling silver wedding ring out to the shop and plannish it over a mandrel with a polished ball peen when it starts to feel tight on my finger. Breaking does not seem to be an issue.  NOTE however that you can cleave a diamond just hitting wrong on the sink while washing dishes.

If you want to do a Ti ring: forge the ring and have a professional set the stone---unless you won't care if it gets lost at some point.

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  Mokune Gane is pretty cool - had seen it in the past, but didn't know it had a name. Will have to look into it more!

 

  I was thinking about having a professional set the stone for me, but that seemed like cheating, so I bought a bunch of low-grade gemstones cut nicely to practice on. That is good to know about diamonds (and presumably all gemstones in general), though it seems odd to me that they'd break so easily. I guess it makes sense, seeing how brittle they are.

 

  Had a bit of success with Ti so far, will post pictures in a few days of my first attempt at just the ring. Maybe I'll have set the stone if it works out, I don't know. Appreciate the help and suggestions so far, it's been invaluable! 

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Here's a follow-up question, rather than creating a new thread: 

How do most blacksmiths size their rings? I am new to the world of jewelry, but it seems like there are standard sizes (6,7,8,9,10 etc). Are there mandrels with the sizes on them? 

I'd like to start making rings, but I do not know where to begin on the size issue.

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+1 for Damasteel, I haven't worked with the Austenitic "version" of it as I make knives and not jewelry, but definitely worth consideration.

Ross.

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1 hour ago, Ridgewayforge said:

Here's a follow-up question, rather than creating a new thread: 

How do most blacksmiths size their rings? I am new to the world of jewelry, but it seems like there are standard sizes (6,7,8,9,10 etc). Are there mandrels with the sizes on them? 

I'd like to start making rings, but I do not know where to begin on the size issue.

Yes there are ring mandrels. Check with a jewelry supply.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I take a ring that fits and slide it on a bullpin and mark where it stops with a sharpie.  I have a number of bullpins and really don't do that many rings...I did however pickup a bracelet mandrel at the scrapyard once...

 

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Definitely considering Damasteel. Having trouble sizing the rings properly, will have to search online and see if there's some formula for figuring it out.

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They make a set of plastic rings for the common sizes; you try them on till you get one that fits and read the number off it.

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