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Sometimes, the best way to find your perfect piece of jewelry is to design it yourself. Whether you have a vision for a custom engagement ring, want to make a nesting wedding band to fit flush with your engagement ring, or would like to design a new setting for an old stone, our expert jeweler will work with you every step of the way to ensure you get the one-of-a-kind treasure you’re dreaming of.
There are two main methods for designing custom wedding rings, custom engagement rings, and custom jewelry. The first is using computer-aided design (CAD) software (click to see the process in photos). In this method, a designer works with you to turn an idea or sketch into a detailed and precise design on the computer, using software especially designed for jewelers. This method works well if you’re trying to copy an image you’ve seen, if you have an idea sketched out, or if you’re trying to design a new setting for a current stone. The CAD schematics are then sent to a master jeweler to create a ring based on your vision. At Smithworks, a dedicated staff member will work alongside each customer to bring your unique design ideas to life. We partner with you throughout the entire process to ensure your vision for the perfect piece of custom jewelry comes to life.
The other method of custom ring design is the lost-wax method (click to see the process in photos). This is a truly hands-on, crafted method of designing a ring, especially one that needs to be a certain size or shape. The lost-wax method works especially well when you want to create a nesting wedding band or stacked band to match an engagement ring.
Creating a custom engagement ring through computer-aided design (CAD) allows you to seamlessly translate your idea from screen to final product. The steps below show a recent Smithworks’ customer’s creation of a unique sapphire ring, in which she worked with the Smithworks team to design the band to perfectly suit her gemstone.
These are pictures of several views of a CAD rendering of a custom sapphire ring. The precision and exacting detail makes this our go-to method for precise design tasks when the channel and setting areas need to be perfect. The jewelry designer can perfect the measurements of the ring down to 100ths of millimeters.
The wax used to create the cast of the ring is actually grown from the CAD in two different waxes. The red wax is for support, and the blue wax is the actual wax to be cast for the ring.
The wax is put into an ultrasonic machine, which works like a vibrating bath to remove the red (support) wax.
The ring emerges from the bath with only blue wax. This wax will then be put in plaster to make a cavity. The cavity is then filled with metal (white gold was used for this piece) to make the ring structure.
At this point, the rough casting of the ring has been produced in white gold. Note the precision of the lines and the detail right down to the milgrain edge on the center channel.
The stone (in this piece, a sapphire) is hand set as the center stone by a trained jeweler.
As it nears completion, the ring receives a final round of cleaning and polishing.
The finished piece shows a beautiful, personally designed custom sapphire ring, made to the exact specifications of the customer, envisioned via computer-aided design.
Smithworks’ on-site jeweler, Allen Lipscomb, trained in England and has more than 40 years’ experience designing and creating jewelry. He can create a piece of jewelry by carving it out of wax and then using the lost-wax method. This method is ideal for creating a diamond wedding band to fit flush to a diamond engagement ring (allowing the two rings to match perfectly and fit together snugly).
1. The process begins with a block of wax cut from a large tube to match the engagement ring.
2. The ring is melted in the wax to ensure a perfect fit.
3. The wax is then carved out to make an exact mould of the ring so that the band will fit flush and match exactly.
4. The wax is cleaned up. A this point, the wax is slightly larger to allow for polishing and refinishing.
5. The stones are set in the wax to ensure proper fit and alignment with the engagement ring.
6. Finishing touches are made to the wax.
7. The wax is sprued and placed in a flask filled with plaster. Using the lost-wax method, the wax is burned out and the gold (or other metal) is vacuumed into the cavity.
8. Raw casting is complete.
9. The ring is cleaned up, polished and ready for stones to be set.
10. The finished band emerges as a perfect match!
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Smithworks Fine Jewelry