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I made this about 6 months ago now, and I love it!  It was a great project with lots of challenges (mainly due to working with sterling silver and its limitations for soldering and also because of the difficulty in putting crisp details into the design) but I think it was worth it.  

I’m only going to cover the fabricating of the ring and explain setting in another article.  It’s not a simple project; I haven’t described the more basic techniques as this tutorial is intended for jewellers with some experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first step was to make the gallery for the ring (the lotus flower above). Starting with a round disk of 2mm thick sterling silver, I domed it, making a deep enough dome to ensure the culet of the stone would not stick through the bottom of the setting.  Then I marked out the flower to be cut out and pierced and refined it using a saw, files and 3m paper loaded into a saw frame.  

The second step was making the bezel/upper gallery.  I created this from 2.5mm square wire, bending it to fit the stone, and doming it very slightly. The stone should sit just above the gallery at this point.  I then used a file to sink the stone perfectly into place, so the girdle of the stone sat just below the edge of the bezel. This is a time consuming process and requires constant checking; there should be no obvious gaps between the stone and the bezel.

After perfecting the fit of the stone into the bezel, I then added the 2mm round prongs. I wanted sturdy prongs as I was using silver and the stone was so big, but I could have probably got away with the prongs being slightly smaller.  Using a Kraus burr, I cut out recesses for the prongs so that they sat half in the bezel and soldered them in place.  After completing both sections of the head, they needed to be thoroughly cleaned and polished before soldering them together.  The lower gallery had to be refined so that it can sat securely and allowed a large enough contact area for soldering to the upper gallery.  I used binding wire to hold the two sections together and soldered using medium solder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The complete head of the ring was now made and I needed to move on and create the ring shank.

I made a very simple shank for this ring, as my plan was to pave it, but unfortunately I haven’t got around to that :)  

Anyway – using a nice sturdy size of half round wire I made a simple wedding band style ring to the correct size.  Once the ring is perfectly round, I used a saw and round burrs to cut into the shank to allow the head of the ring to sit flush into the shank – thus allowing maximum contact for soldering.  Again using binding wire, I ensured the perfect alignment of the head and the shank before soldering, again with medium solder, but being very cautious about where the heat was directed, and using heat sinks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ring was now finished and ready to be set.

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