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Metalsmith Challenge - Make Ring in One Day 

Make Ring from Raw Metal to Polish in One Day 

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Metalsmith Challenge - Make ring in one day

It is always good to keep up metalsmithing skills in relations a realistic working environment, where productivity is measured against speed and ability to work under pressure. Quality should never be compromised, however one can set up bench challenges to practice the increase of working speed and capacity.

This free tutorial on making a the above ring from the raw gold and rough gemstone right up to completing the ring and setting the gemstones is a good challenge, which with practice is achievable. Now, not everyone has the equipment to cut their own gemstone or do their own setting which is completely okay.  This is just a personal challenge to further speed taking skill sets into account for a metalsmith.

You can set yourself similar challenges within your own working scope and experience.


Metalsmith Challenge - Raw Materials

I start at 8o' clock, one fine Sunday, with 30 grams of fine gold, the correct amount of silver and copper to make up an 18kt mix. And a lovely rough orange tourmaline I bought from Hilmar Bosch at http://africangemstones.co.za/

Metalsmith Challenge - Ring finished in seven hours

The challenge is completed in about seven hours doing the gem cutting,  melting, metal fabrication, the setting and polishing of this ring.

Metalsmith Challenge - Dop rough gem

The first thing is to pre-form the rough stone and dop it onto a dop for my gem cutting machine.

Metalsmith Challenge - Cutting gemstone on Imahashi

I cut on an Imahashi which is a fast production machine that is based on the "tang" type of traditional diamond cutting machine. And I cut standing up, not sitting.

Metalsmith Challenge - Alloy gold for ring

Then I melt the gold and silver and copper together to form 18karat gold and cast it into my Ingot,  and ( Video of How to Cast Metal Bar ).

Metalsmith Challenge - Alloy white gold for ring

I decide to set the diamonds for the ring I am going to make in white gold, so I weigh out the necessary components to make up white gold. Also, I have rolled out the shank of the ring and the flat piece for the tube that the yet uncut stone will be set in. Thirty grams of gold is much to much, so at the bottom left is the excess gold.

Metalsmith Challenge - Metal ready for ring

Okay, so now the white gold is melted and pre-rolled. The dopping glue is hard by this time, so the stone's pavilion can now be cut.

Metalsmith Challenge - Cut pavilion of gemstone

The pavilion is cut and polished. I am cutting a standard round brilliant, a cut I have done thousands of times before back in the '70's when I used to cut professionally, so I don't need any instructions---anymore :)

Metalsmith Challenge - Gemstone dopping for rough gem

The dop is set up in the transfer jig. I dop glue to glue. For a look at how this is done, check out Gemstone Transfer / Dopping It is fast and hassle free. I believe Noah used to use wax in the Ark.

Metalsmith Challenge - Make the shank

Then I bend the shank round, tap it up, file it to shape sand it down to 1200 and make sure the ring is size 'O', my pre designated size.

Metalsmith Challenge - Making bezel for the ring

Now I roll out the white gold to the right width for the diamonds to be set in. The diamonds are .7mm in diameter, tiny itsy bitsy ones. And I make the tube for the tourmaline. I can do this, because I know the diameter of the stone now, what with the pavilion finished.

Metalsmith Challenge - Solder white gold to bezel

I have made a white gold strip and soldered it to the tube.

Metalsmith Challenge  - Solder bezel to shank

Here I have filed out the tube so that it fits onto the shank. I solder it into place and then I will drill out the center.

Metalsmith Challenge - Drilling holes for setting

Drilling the holes for the diamonds takes an hour. A total of 18 diamonds to be set. Twelve in the tube and six in the shank.

Metalsmith Challenge - Micro Pavé

Those little diamonds are a mission to set. I use a GRS engraving ball to hold the ring and I set under a microscope. That makes setting more labor intensive, but the stones are well set because one can see so well with a microscope. Best tool my aging eyes were ever given.

Metalsmith Challenge - Pavé setting

Right, so now all the diamonds are set and the next thing is to cut the top of the tourmaline.

Metalsmith Challenge - The gemsonte cutting completed

The tourmaline is now finished and weighed at 1.35ct. She came out nicely, a lovely orange sunset colour. So now I will set the center stone, trim the tube, and polish and rouge the ring. Then all that is left is to clean it with the ultrasonic cleaner and do a last inspection.

Metalsmith Challenge - Raw material to ring in 7 hours

Game, set and match. Done. Six and three quarter hours. So if I had stopped for tea breaks and lunch, I would still be able to complete this ring in one full working day.

Metalsmith Challenge - Ring completed in 7 hours

Metalsmith Challenge - From raw materials to finished ring in 7 hours

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