The age of the modest engagement ring. Part 1 of 2
9th January 2016
For many that were married in the last century (that sounds a long time ago) the engagement ring was far more modest than what we see today. In the next couple of posts I am going to share with you two engagement ring rebirths, one changing very little and another changing a lot.
This ring belongs to a couple that have been married for 40 years. To mark the occasion they want to restore it to as close to new as possible changing as little as possible.
The main areas of concern are the amount of wear that the white gold setting of the engagement ring has experienced and also the band has thinned at the base to a point where it needs to be replaced.
The first thing I did was remove the bottom section of the band from the head of the ring putting the yellow gold to one side to be used later in the remake of the band.
I next removed the diamonds from the top section and created a mould of it. Once the mould had been cured and cut I could inject wax into the cavity giving me a perfect copy of the ring top.
In the photo below the section of the wax circled in red is the wax impression of the ring head and the rest are vents for the wax to flow into the mould.
Using the wax impression of the ring head I could now build up the worn areas in wax, re-carve in lost detail and with the repairs complete use the lost wax casting method to create a new white gold top adding in some fresh gold to the existing.
The reason I took a pattern of the ring top without removing the yellow gold section was that the white gold section alone had become too thin to mould on its own. Once the mould was created I then separated the old white gold from the yellow and once again set them aside for use later.
The band of this ring is a quite simple tapered design so once I had created the new white gold head it was a case of adding some new yellow gold to the existing, remaking the band and then joining the two together.
But wait there is more.
As you can imagine if the engagement ring had worn out the wedding ring that sits next to it had also become pretty worn. The wedding ring pictured above was remade at the same time.
Remaking a wedding ring such as this one is straight forward, however preserving the custom hand engraved message inside it is not. Hand engraving is very much a dying art so we had to come up with a workaround.
Before I melted down the wedding ring for remaking I cut it open and unrolled it. I then took a photo of the engraving from which I digitally traced the wording and then used a computer numerically controlled (CNC) engraver to replicate it on the new wedding ring.
There is no doubt that with these two rings we went to a lot of trouble that we would not have done so had they not been symbols representing 40 years of marriage. Congratulations to this couple on this wonderful milestone. It was a great pleasure to work on these rings with you.
In Part 2 of The age of the modest engagement ring we will look at the rebirth of another ring, but this time we change quite a bit but still retain the main aspects of the design.