The jade ring! I photograghed it in progress.
Creating the bezel. It’s roughly the right height, and now I’m cutting and filing it to the right circumference (above).
Cut and filed so the two ends will be a tight fit. I’ve sanded the ends so they are clean for the solder.
Soldered. Now it needs to go into the pickle to remove oxidation. Oxidation must be removed before more soldering, or the surface will not take the solder. Pickling removes oxidation without removing gold.
While the bezel is in the pickle, I work on the band for the ring. I hammer in one direction, then anneal, then hammer the other. I do this until the bezel is the right gauge and shape.
Annealing (above) is necessary to reduce the stress on the gold. As gold is worked, its crystalline structure becomes fractured. If the metal is worked too long it will crack. Annealing is the process of heating the metal to a high enough temperature that the crystals reform. The white material is pumice.
The band is formed into shape, and it’s gone in the pickle. I’m ready to solder the bezel to its base. I make sure the bezel fits the stone, and all edges are clean and smooth. The syringe holds paste solder. It’s a bit more expensive than standard solder, but I feel it allows me to work more precisely.
Bezel on backing, with solder at its base. For me, this is the trickiest part of a ring! I often ruin things at this stage by getting things a bit too hot and melty, and then I have to yell really loudly. You can see the bezel has become a bit misshapen. Right before I took this picture I was pressing down on it to ensure a tight connection, and at such a high temperature the metal was a bit malleable. Once it cools I will need to be sure it is set in the right shape.
The bezel shape was sound after a bit of fine tuning. I cut it from its backing, and sanded and pickled it. After cutting, forming, and sanding the band, I soldered it to the bezel. Before I go further, I need to even out the top of the bezel, leaving enough gold to press over the stone to hold it in.
Pickled, and then added a gold granule on the top of both sides of the band where it joins with the bezel.
The jade is set, and now the ring is ready to be finished.
Finished. First, I gave this ring a satin, sanded finish, and it just didn’t sing for me. The high-polish was a much, much better choice, and pulled everything together.