The Craft Involved in Making A Ring – From the House Of Mad Tungsten
The trend of exchanging rings started more than six thousand years ago. However it was the Egyptians who gave a new meaning to the wearing of finger rings in the form of intricate and beautiful designs. This fashion was emulated by the Romans and the Greeks who wore rings of bronze and silver at first and later wore rings of gold. Wedding rings, as we all know are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand in almost all the parts of the world.
Again, it was the ancient Egyptians who started this trend affirming that a vein in this finger was directly connected to the heart hence ‘vena amoris’ or ‘vein of love’ and hence the fourth finger. The craft involved in the making of rings is a highly complex albeit challenging one.
The commercial worth of a ring depends on the material, the design and of course the craftsmen who create the rings. The making of rings is a tasteful craft which involves various techniques.
** The ‘Hand Wrought’ technique, as the name suggests, involves making the ornament completely by hand. From melting the metal in a receptacle to moulding it into the preferred shape, boring the requisite holes in the right spots and the usage of special tools when a name needs to be engraved on the metal to the final process of melding the ring to perfection and polishing, it is one onerous activity.
** The ‘Cast’ technique is resorted to in the case of making large quantities. At first, the model is created in wax and later placed in a flask. Plaster is poured into this for removal of bubbles, if any and the wax is left to harden. The flask is now kept in a centrifugal casting machine. The molten metal is put into the cavity. The ‘Artistic’ technique involves making preliminary sketches and models. The craftsman can use a range of processes depending on the kind of ring which has been ordered.
** The technique of ‘Die Struck’ involves using unhardened steel to form a hub. Well processed machine ‘dies’ are designed and created as requested. The hub, after being hardened is merged with another unhardened steel piece to make a ‘sunken die’. The metal is shaped accordingly between these two dies, a process involving immense pressure.
** For rings ordered with semi-precious or real gems, the stones are set inside the wall of the metal. This is popularly known as the ‘Bezel’ setting. A similar process is used in the case of using beads to be embedded within the ring.
** ‘Pave’ is a setting which involves many tiny diamonds set very close to each other. Such rings are normally made in platinum or white gold. By far, the ‘Prong’ setting is the most common when it comes to creating rings for the fairer sex.
A crucial aspect to be considered in the crafting of rings is the mountings. These should be really strong to make the rings stand out in perfection. The setting for the stones/gems is a process which involves drilling that should be flawless. The underside of the ring shank should be polished well to give the ring a uniform and impeccable finish. In the case of a Prong setting, the craftsmen have to ensure that the prongs are in close proximity to the stones/gems to hold them firmly in place. The stones have to be set accuracy and the craftsman should leave no room for any erroneous tilting in this part of the process.
Technology has made it extremely convenient to make designer rings of different metals, designs and engravings. Different machines are used for the various processes involved in creating beautiful rings. Each of these machines play an important role from start to finish e.g. ‘Ring Sizing’ machines as the name suggests is exclusively to craft the ring in the size ordered. Casting machines are used to set the appropriate cast after which the metal is thrown in to process it into the desired product.
Amongst the innumerable notable machines, each of which are specialized to make rings of different metals like gold, platinum, silver, nickel and others, the Liaocheng Longtai Laser Equipment Co. which helps in creating laser engraving on finger rings. Reputed for its quality, the machine comes with a warranty of a year during which if the machine is in need of any repairs or replacements, the organization does it for free.
All technical support is resolved with their highly professional staff via email, Skype across the world. The Electroplating machine is ideal when it comes to deciding on the type of plating required on a ring whether in silver, gold or another metal. It is handy in Electro-cleaning as well. When it comes to drilling holes into the metal of any ring with precision, the ‘Jewellers Mini Drill Press’ machine is a piece of art.
The Shaft machine assists in the fastening of semi-precious stones/gems within the wall / surface of the. This in tandem with the ‘Jewel Scope’ microscope ensures a guarantee to the perfect setting – strong and long-lasting. The other machines which play an important part are the scales which are utilized as they authenticate the weight of the metals, Rolling machines, ideally used for wedding bands, Steam cleaning machines – easy to use and clean your ‘art d’object’!
Finally, the most indispensable machine every craftsman has is the Polishing machine. These are used for polishing jewellery and most of them have an inbuilt dust-extracting device which helps in making the task so simple leaving you with your jewellery sparkling, new as ever.
Wearing jewellery, especially rings, is an aesthetic art and one tastefully worn jewellery by a celebrity, sets a trend across for all to follow and envy. Jewellery designing is a much sought after vocation with myriads of creative original designs offered by the professionals in this industry. Each jewellery designer sets her/his own footprint by specializing in a niche craft be it resin, pearls, diamond, platinum, silver, gold and creating jewellery for select audiences.
Today, there are technical & creative courses for those who wish to pursue a career in this craft. Modern jewellery designers are well-versed in the art of metal-‘smithing’ (creation of jewellery by deploying, a range of metals and techniques) gems and how to flavour the classic with the contemporary. Trends in jewellery, especially in rings changes with every new generation.
The various types of rings include religious, birthstone, friendship, anniversary, championship (sports), wedding, engagement, Doctoral (Worn by scholars holding doctoral qualifications – very common in Sweden and Denmark) and even rings to ward off evil. The rich and the famous get their wedding rings not only exclusively crafted but also patented to the effect that anyone who tries to imitate their rings could be sued in court!
Jewellery designers make jewellery using a range of materials. These include silver, precious stones, gold, rhodium and others. A designer of rings must have an insight into his client’s desire for a certain kind of ring and should be able to deliver the same with the message it needs to convey – this could be sentimental, protective or simply symbolic. Designers can choose to design rings exclusively for celebrities, politicians, sports personalities or just for all and sundry with each category of rings requiring a different set of skills and design.
Jewellery designers like the late Suzanne Belerron, Paloma Picasso, Jade Jagger and Jennifer Mayer are authorities on an international platform. Though one may think that designing is restricted to women some of the most successful designers include men like John Hardy, David Yurman and Jacob J Morris. Today men are as much into wearing jewellery, especially rings as women.
‘Cartier’, the French luxury jewellery is seen on many a member of the royal family and celebrities abroad. Hong Kong – based, ‘Charriol’ founded by Philippe Charriol includes a mix of the classy and the informal, the rings in particular, which are often created in warped cable designs are inspired from the ancient ‘Celts’. American born jeweller, Eddie Borgo tends to create his jewellery, especially the rings, with music in mind. A complete ‘swinging and rocking’ creation! Canada born jeweller, John Hardy set up his jewellery design organisation in Hong Kong. Inspired by the enigma of the Asian continent and even Nature, his creations bear a touch of the mystic. On the extreme end, we also have Belgian designer, Martin Margiela who has a reputation of making very eccentric and absolutely ‘out-of-the-box’ yet creative designs. The rings come in ‘never seen before’ designs and are much pursued by both, the adventurous at heart and the ones who want to simply stand out in the crowd.
The big names in the world of ‘Ring jewellery’ range from Tiffany’s, Cartier, DeBeers, Orra, Jewellery designing has set a new trend to the extent that designs are showcased at fashion awards where they are worn by well-known celebrities, models and socialites. This platform gives the designers a grand opportunity to get engaged by clientele which could be in the form of film stars, eminent socialites and even individuals. The growing need for designer jewellery has resulted in a range of ‘Design Award’ functions which recognize the most stunning and unique designs for that said year. Very often Jewellery Retailers across the nation play an important role in voting for the most creative products launching the designer well into the limelight. Such award functions and exhibitions are featured in exclusive ‘jewellery magazines’ which further help augment the aesthetic skills and craftsmanship of the designers and the products they create flawlessly.
Some classic examples of a lavish display of extravaganza in finger rings dates back to 1953, that American president John F. Kennedy, who spent $1.5 million on the engagement ring for his lady love, the beautiful Jackie. The ring had a 2.88 carat diamond and 2.84 carat emerald with tapered baguette (diamond cut in a long rectangular shape).
Donald Trump proposed to his third wife, Melania Knauss with a ring priced at $2 million. It was a 15-carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring aptly titled as ‘The lord of the rings’ and was rated as the most expensive engagement ring of that time. In 2004, noted actress and celebrity, Paris Hilton was the proud owner of the second most expensive engagement ring in the world. Her fiancé, Paris Latsis, gave her a 24-carat diamond ring. Unfortunately the engagement was short-lived and Paris Hilton later put the ring on auction. She got a whopping $4.7 million!
But if hers was the second most expensive engagement ring, then who may you think was the envious owner of the most expensive engagement ring? Well, it is none other than the gorgeous, successful and beautiful singer Beyoncé. It was in the year 2008, when she became the proud owner of an 18-carat diamond ring. Designed by Lorraine Schwartz, it is still considered as the most expensive engagement ring valued at $5 million!
The year 2013 saw a host of extremely expensive rings which ranged from $125, 400 to $ 8 million! These were from Avian & Co, De Beers, House of Taylor, Tiffany & Co. and of course Lorraine Schwartz whose ring (still under debate) priced at $8 million was given by American singer Kanye West to his celebrity and socialite girlfriend, Kim Kardashian.
While rings have dominated the jewellery space as symbols of enduring relationships the trend for classic gold and diamond-based rings has seen a wane in demand. Though one of the reasons for this is the steep increase in both, the prices of gold and diamonds, the other reason is an increasing shift in the choice of the urbane crowd. Couples, individuals and people at large would rather have rings expressing an emotion – something unique, in the form of an engraving, a symbol or a simple band but with the respective initials on the band. Rings are often preferred which are as enduring as they would like their relationships to be. Expensive and delicate rings have given way to tough rings like Tungsten rings whose metal can withstand the harshest conditions, can be customised as desired and are also affordable.
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