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I have made two rings - one an 18kt yellow gold ring and the other a silver ring, fused with 14ct gold. These type of rings are very good sellers for me, and in fact whether fused work is used in pendants, rings, earrings or bracelets, the results are very popular.

 

 

I start with a piece of rolled out metal, silver on the left and gold on the right. The silver is 2mm thick and the gold is 1.5mm thick. It is quite alright to bend the ring round now and then do the fusing, but I prefer to bend them round after the reticulating is finished. If I have to form the metal extensively, I will do that first, because the reticulating makes the surface porous and the metal somewhat brittle. Especially thin metal, like .7mm

 

This is the flame I  reticulate with, set with plenty of oxygen. This technique is all about the type of flame and how it is controlled. More oxygen causes the outside metal to 'freeze' because of the oxide layer and with more gas, a reducing flame causes the metal to run and flow on the outside. A bit like the skin on boiled milk

 

 

Notice how the silver starts becoming 'crishy'. This is just before it melts, but since the flame is set with too much oxygen, the surface forms an oxide layer and the silver melts and moves under this layer, causing the typical wrinkles of reticulated work.

 

 

 

This is the 18kt being melted. I will pull my flame away at this precise instant, and move to the next section of the gold.


 

 

 

 

The result then looks like this.


 

 

 

 

 

And this is what my metal looks like after it is pickled.



 

 

 

 

And this is what it looks like after a light polish, with the polish not cleaned off, to show the texture more clearly. I now bend the rings round. Generally, the metal is not too brittle and the bending is easy.



 

 

 

Like this. I am not worried about the joints, because I am going to fuse them closed.

 

 

 

I fuse them closed with a 1mm piece of wire, used exactly like a brazing rod. I don't use any flux, because I want the surface to be rough. I use a hot flame, but with a bit more propane gas, to allow the metal to flow just a little bit easier. The trick is to heat the thicker metal first, just under the melting point, and then to apply the wire at the right time. This does take a little practice to get right but hey, if you make a mistake, you simple melt it all down and start again. It is only on your fifth attempt that you are allowed to start cussing.

 

 

There was, in this case, no cussing needed. So now , the next thing is to add some 14kt gold to the silver ring and some 18kt gold to the 18ct ring. It is not possible to add 18kt gold to the silver ring for instance, because the 18kt's melting temperature is higher than the silver. For the purposes of this project, it is better to fuse with metals that are of a lower melting point than the 'parent' metal.

 

 

 

Here I am about to start fusing 18kt wire. The ring is already very hot.


 

 

 

 

 

Now I fuse both metals together.



 

 

 

 

 

 

And I remove the wire at the right time.

 

 

 

 

 

Further fusing of the 18kt ring. Notice the flame is 'normal'. Not to much oxygen, nor to much gas.


 

 

 

Fusing 14kt gold onto the silver ring. One thing is that if the ring is over heated, the 14kt will sink in the silver, basically making a form of solder. That screws the job up. Careful heat control is necessary.



 

 

Adding some more in a different spot.-- Just as a matter of technique, my left hand is resting lightly with my pinkie extended on my third arm. That makes my gold wire steady. Also, I am sitting comfortably, with my elbows in an easy position.

 

 

From a different angle. The torch flame is at about 45 degrees and the ring is very hot, but because the silver has a higher melting temperature, it is brought up to the 14kt's melting temperature. But not above. Otherwise the 14kt will either run around and flood large areas of the ring. This is not what I want. So it is better to brush your flame on the piece, then away, then on the piece, then away. Close, then further away. It allows for a more controlled heating of the piece. If the gold melts before the silver, it meant that I was impatient in heating up my silver piece. Which has the bigger mass, so therefore it takes longer to heat. And when I say longer I mean less than five seconds.


These are the two rings that have been freshly fused. The silver ring was fused closed with silver and you can see the joint at 12 o 'clock The 18kt ring has a little bumple at 11o'clock that needs to be filed out and the silver ring has a big wart at six o' clock that will suffer the same fate.

 

 

 

Six o'clock bumple filed down.



 

 

 

 

 

Six o' clock bumple re- fused.

 

 

 

This is the silver ring with a light polish on the outside and the inside finished off. The first picture in the Hidi is the ring with liver of sulphur applied. Liver of sulphur is potassium polysulphide and is available at most jewellery tools suppliers. Also, one can use  calcium polysulphide which is sold in gardening shops as 'lime-sulphur', and is used as a fungicide. Much cheaper and much easier to obtain.

 

 

 

Here is the unset 18kt ring. I like this type of ring 'as is' but I did put the bumples on to set diamonds in.

 



 

 

 

So this is the final model. Cute, in' it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

A set of three 'stackable' rings that are so popular these days. The centre ring is white gold.

 

 

 

 

If you have any questions or comments please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hans Meevis

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