Do you have diamonds gathering dust in a drawer? Perhaps you have a piece of jewelry which has lovely stones, but which are set in a design that is not really something you would wear? Use the stones to have a custom piece made which you will truly enjoy! I recently had the pleasure of working on just such a project. A customer inherited a ring in which the center diamond was not only a fantastic gem, but which had tremendous sentimental value. However, she did not care for the design.
To begin, I created some rough drawings of my design ideas to show the customer. After she selected the one she wanted, I got to work at my jewelry bench. The first step was to remove the diamonds from the original setting. The ring was 14kt white gold, and the prongs were quite thick, so bending them back to release the stone was not an option. Instead, I used a gentle abrasive wheel attachment on my flexshaft to grind away the tips of the prongs.
I decided to make this ring using traditional fabrication techniques (as opposed to creating a wax model and having it cast). This meant I would be working directly with the metal, and that each component of the new piece would be made by sawing various forms of white gold stock and joining the individual components by soldering. All in all, there would be 15 solder joints needed. Here’s one of the soldering set-ups.
After all the fabrication work was completed, the piece was polished. Then I needed to cut the seats for the diamonds. This is done with a specially shaped steel burr (again using the flexshaft tool), carefully grinding away enough metal so the stone could slide inside the small tube settings, just low enough to allow the top edge to be compressed over the girdle of the stone to hold it in place. And then, even more CAREFULLY, push the metal down around the diamonds to hold them securely.
And here is the finished piece – now a pendant – in white gold.