In my last post you saw the actual casting process take place. Once I confirm the button is in place I let the flask cool for a few minutes and then quench it in water. The hot investment will break away from the mold, exposing my ring. I then remove all the investment from the flask and the ring. The investment is very hazardous to breathe when dry so it’s important that I get every piece of it off.
Now that the ring has been casted into metal, the laborious process of finishing will begin. Believe it or not, this can actually take more time than carving the ring because I’ll need to clean up any porosity marks that happened and make sure the ring is exactly perfect. I’ll first get the ring out of the investment and clean away any old investment.
I’ll begin by sawing off the sprue that I created so that I’m just working on the ring. It looks like the casting came out great for this ring. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case and that means I would need to start the entire process of carving the ring all over again. Then I will remove any uneven textures that could have been created by porosity. This requires a lot of filing and sanding with very careful detail. If I file too much away then I will lose the shape of the ring or there will be uneven places. So I carefully file in just the places I need to clean the ring.
I’m not quite sure how to convey exactly how much work finishing a piece of jewelry is because photos can’t quite do justice in showing the amount of time, work and rework it takes. Suffice it to say that now is the moment to make sure the ring looks exactly as I would want it to look when I hand it to the client so it needs to be perfect. You can imagine there is a lot of work to get the ring to a final product from the original photo you see.
I also need to double check to make sure the stones will fit into place. Everything looks good on that end so I’ll continue filing and shaping the ring until it’s absolutely perfect. Once I have the texture exactly as I would want it finished I take the ring and stones to a specialty stone setter who sets the stones by hand. Most rings are set by laser these days but it will be set by hand for my work.
Then I have the honor of giving the ring to it’s very happy owner. I always love it when I can give a piece to the owner in person so I can see their face when they put it on. It makes all the work that went into the piece totally worth it.