Recycled Engagement Ring

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I was recently asked to remodel a shop bought engagement ring. It was made in a design which just didn’t suit the customers lifestyle and as a result of this the diamond had come out the setting. The customer wanted to continue to wear the sentimental stone but felt that it would simply break again if I repaired the current ring.

Now this lady freely admits to being heavy handed so the new ring had to be super sturdy, low (to avoid catching on things) and needed to suit her other rings. The metal that I had to work with was 18ct White Gold but the customer has a soft spot for red gold and wanted to incorporate some of that too.

We worked out a design with a stripe of red gold, which would add a splash of colour but still match the rest of her white gold wedding set. She also loved the idea of a really handmade finish so hammering the surface was a good way of achieving this.

Recycling the Old Ring:

I began work by sawing the old 18ct white gold ring in two and rolling these halves into new pieces of wire. I bought square, 9ct Red Gold wire, and rolled that down to match the white gold. I bent these wires round into rings, soldered up the joints and was left with three rather thin new rings:

Making the New Ring:

I layered these thin rings up (double and then triple checking that I had the red one in the middle!) before clamping them with cotter pins. These held everything in place while I soldered the stack together. You can just see in the photo that I’ve lined up the solder joints in all three of the narrow rings so that I can find it again. I’ll cut the final ring here to add the setting for the diamond.

Once the ring had cooled and I’d cleaned it up I filed the surface smooth and could begin to see neat stripes of colour appearing.

I textured the ring by gently hammering it against a steel mandrel. Using the ball head of a hammer I built up a texture of small, round hammer marks which catch the light beautifully.

From here I cut through the ring and filed out a gap to fit a tapered circular tube. This will form the new setting for the diamond. I soldered this into place (conveniently forgot to take a photo) and the main structure of the ring was done. From there I polished it, sent it off for hallmarking in Birmingham and set the stone.

Finished Ring – Recycled 18ct White Gold, 9ct Red Gold & Diamond:

The resulting ring is a really nice blend of the old and the new. Using the original gold and a sentimental diamond keeps a connection to the past but provides and new ring that can be worn and enjoyed.

 

 

Inherited Pearl Ring

posted in: Commissions 1

This ring began when a client brought me a row of pearls that she’d inherited. I work with pearls a lot, I trained as pearl stringer after university and so I have a good understanding of them and an appreciation for their qualities.

The main issue with any pearl taken from a row of pearls is that it has a hole drilled all the way through it. This usually makes it unsuitable for setting into rings or studs, as you’re restricted by the visibility of the hole.

However, this client wanted a ring to allow her to keep one of the inherited pearls close to her and after a little thought we came up with a design that would allow this.

Design:

Her saltwater pearls are a wonderfully warm, creamy colour so while the bulk of the ring would be silver I added a touch of 9ct red gold to bring out this warmth. The high sides of the setting are designed to protect the relatively soft pearl which is riveted into the ring using the existing drill hole.

In the end we opted for a fusion of designs A & B, squaring the corners of the box holding the pearl and making the setting entirely out of red gold.

Making:

Soldering the gold setting onto the silver ring was a tricky process. The whole thing needed to be kept square and parallel or the two sides wouldn’t grip the pearl correctly. After a bit of trial and error I rigged something up on a honeycomb soldering block that kept it all in line so that I could solder the two metals together.

A bit of cleaning up followed that before I could polish the ring (to bring out the hammer marks on the silver) and check the fit of the pearl with a piece of wire:

Once it was riveted into place the pearl sat perfectly within the red gold ‘box’ setting and balanced the ring nicely. It’s a neat, geometric solution to using a pearl from a necklace and I love that I’m allowing inherited jewellery to continue to be used and enjoyed.

Finished Ring:

Snowflake Diamond Engagement Ring

Sketching the Ring:

This ring evolved from a request for a classic, dainty ring with lots of sparkle and a contemporary twist. A lot of sketching ensued and I eventually narrowed it down to an asymmetric, cluster style ring using a mixture of diamond shapes. I love pear shaped stones, so being able to use a few of those was a bonus:

 

My very accommodating customer gave me free rein to chose the diamonds themselves and I found a beautiful, clear D colour stone for the centre. I matched the outer stones to this for a unified feel and set to work drawing the final design up in CAD.

Making the Ring:

With the ring rendered fully on a computer I printed it in casting resin, a process which allows a 3D printed piece to be put through traditional lost wax casting production. The result was a perfect replica of my original drawing, cast in platinum. I checked it for size (as shrinkage occurs during the casting process) and stretched it a little to make it a size I.

The 3D printing and casting process left a rough texture on the surface of the ring so I filed and sanded it gently, removing marks and smoothing out the profile of the knife edged section on the band of the ring. After that I polished the whole piece, bringing the platinum up to a bright shine:

Finished Ring:

Fully set the final ring is pretty stunning and has a beautiful, delicate sparkle. The polished platinum sets off the diamonds beautifully and the asymmetric layout of stones really works. This ring has now gone off to it’s new home:

Morganite & Yellow Gold Ring

On the left is a costume jewellery ring and, on the right, a 9ct yellow gold, morganite and white sapphire ‘copy’ made to order for a client who loved the feel of this ring but not the materials!

An aspiring jewellery designer herself the client had an existing mold, made a few years ago, which she had never used to produce a ring. I was able to use that mold to produce wax copies and then modify them to suit the styles of stone setting that we had chosen.

I filled in the top of the ring with extra wax and carved new setting faces onto the inner slopes. This provided a better surface to set the beautiful, cushion cut, Morganite that we’d chosen.

Once cast the ring looked quite rough so I set about cleaning it up at the bench, taking off harsh marks left from adding wax and removing the fine, matt texture that had been left by the lost wax casting process. After fully sanding the ring I polished it, bringing the whole surface up to a uniform finish. With the central stone selected I matched up nearly 30 small, white, sapphires to form a glittering band around the top edge of the ring.

After setting the ring with the cushion cut Morganite, and a band of white sapphires, I plated the top face with bright, white rhodiumm. This pale canvas really brings out the colour of the Morganite and makes the peachy tones of it pop:

 

Tanzanite & Silver Constellation Bangle

This lovely little commission was designed to celebrate a 45th Birthday. It’s patterned with a scattering of 45 tiny blue tanzanites and a myriad of small drill holes:

 

Bracelet Sketch Silver
Bangle Sketch

 

It began as a simple, oval wire bangle which I polished and then matt finished with a heavy, stippled texture. After that I marked out the pattern of the constellation before drilling it and marking the bangle up for setting. A mixture of 1mm, 1.5mm and 2mm tanzanites are set around it, flush with the surface of the silver.

The final piece is a subtle collection of silvery blue shades. The blue of the tanzanites matches beautifully with the soft gleam of the silver:

Silver and tanzanite bangle

 

 

New Jewellery: Riverside

posted in: Jewellery 0

Those who follow me on Instagram will know that I’ve been working on some brand new pieces lately, using the leaf motifs from my Riverside series and building them into larger, more complex pieces.

I’ve also sought out an unusual collection of semi-precious stones to work with and had lots of fun incorporating them into some show pieces for the winter season:

Silver and Ryolite Necklace
Seedling Silver and Ryolite Necklace

Commission: Recycled Diamond Earrings

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Sometimes I get asked to recycle old family jewellery into something new and these earrings are a great example of this:.25 carat diamond studs

They’re simple, classic diamond studs but they’re made from one new diamond and one old one, taken from a client’s unworn engagement ring. It seemed a shame to leave this sentimental stone in a box so I matched another diamond to it and now she has a great pair of wearable earrings with a personal story.

 

Original Engagement Ring shank with the brand new Diamond Earrings
Original Engagement Ring shank with the brand new diamond earrings

Commission: Palladium and Ruby Engagement Ring

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Ruby Palladium Engagement Ring

This palladium engagement ring is designed to sit as a pair with the diamond one that I made last year, for a couple of ladies who are getting married this summer. I was a joy to make the ‘other half’ of their engagement rings so that they have a set with such similar characters.

This ring needed to be very practical and include a favourite gem of the bride to be: rubies. With that in mind it seemed that using small, flush set stones would be best as she’ll be able to leave it on all day at work without worry.

Palladium and Ruby Engagement Ring Sketches

The original ring had a twisted, raised ‘edge’ which ran all the way around it, highlighted by a bright polish against the matt finish on the body of the ring. I’ve accentuated this twist at the front of the new ring, widening it to give me space to add a little thread of rubies that sit within the curve and ‘flow’ around the ring.

We’ve kept the same, durable matt finish on this ring which really shows off the polished edge of the wave and the sparkle of the subtle sparkle of the stones:Ruby Palladium Engagement Ring by Becca Williams Jewellery Designer

 

New Stockist: John Lewis Birmingham

posted in: Events 0

This week sees the opening of the new John Lewis store in central Birmingham, right above the remodeled New Street Station and Grand Central shopping centre.

It’s not normally the kind of thing that I’d blog about (despite the architectural interest of the building) but John Lewis have done something pretty special with this store. Working in conjunction with local business groups they’ve set aside space in the Jewellery Department for a Jewellery Quarter concession of sorts, featuring the work of six Jewellery Quarter makers.

I was selected to take part earlier in the year and have had to keep pretty quiet about it until now but, with the store finished and opening tomorrow here are a few images from last night’s preview:

They’ll be selling my Flotsam and Estuary ranges, from now until after Christmas.

Estuary Rings

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Back in September, at the Malvern Autumn Show, I got asked to make some smaller earrings for my Estuary range and, when I did, it became pretty obvious that they’d look really cute on rings too!

So here they are:

Becca WIlliams Mini Estuary Earrings Etched Silver Ring 72dpi

 

… and here’s how they came together:

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