Having found my website online, a client contacted me to make a unique eco-friendly engagement ring for his girlfriend. After they were engaged, he had another special request: could I make him a wedding ring out of his grandfather's gold ring? I was thrilled to do this for him!
Once he decided on the style of ring he wanted, which was a 4mm flat band with beveled edges and a brushed finish, I set to work carving this ring out of wax. You can see the wax ring I carved for him on the left in the photo below, and his grandfather's original ring on the right.
Next step was to melt down the gold ring.
Here it is totally melted and still glowing orange with heat! This is such a fun process.
Here is the gold once it cooled off.
Next I set up the wax ring in preparation for the casting process. The pink wax is the "sprue", which will maintain the space needed allow the molten metal to flow into the ring.
A steel cylinder is put around the carvings, into which I pour the "investment" (a plaster-like material), that hardens and creates the mold for the metal, once the wax is melted out. This is called the "flask".
After mixing and pouring the investment into the cylinder around the wax ring, the investment is given time to dry. After a night in the kiln, the wax ring melts out, leaving a ring-shaped space in which to pour the molten gold! The kiln also brings the flask up to the correct temperature for casting - hot enough so that the molten metal can flow all the way in. After heating the gold to casting temperature, 1850 degrees Fahrenheit, in a crucible, I pour it into the flask while it's atop a vacuum table.
After allowing the gold to cool for about 15 minutes, I quench the flask in a bucket of water and break up the investment to reveal the gold ring. Notice it still needs quite a bit of work!
After cleaning up the sprue attachment point (that lump on the inside of the ring above), and further filing, sanding, and texturing, I'm finally finished!
It was a true joy to create this special ring, and I'm so glad that my client loves it, even saying "It's perfect!"