Each piece starts life as rough sketches. Through the latest 3-D CAD programs these ideas are refined until a final design is reached. This design is then produced as a resin by computer aided manufacture. Many designs are created in two parts to allow for detailed polishing and combining metals.
Making the Master Model
The resins are fixed to a tree with other models ready for casting in silver. When the models have all been correctly positioned a casting flask is placed over the tree. Investment powder is mixed with water under vacuum to form a smooth slurry. This is poured into the flask and left for 3 hours to set. Once set, the flask is placed in a furnace overnight. During this time, the wax burns away, creating cavities ready for the metal. The flask is then removed from the furnace.The casting takes place in a vacuum pressure casting machine. The metal is superheated within a graphite crucible using an induction coil. When the correct temperature is reached the casting process is initiated. The casting chamber flushes with argon to remove any foreign gases. A vacuum is then applied to the lower chamber, allowing metal to flow into the mould through the process of gravity and the negative pressure caused by the vacuum. This sequence of events is determined by preset programs to ensure that each stage is activated at the exact time to achieve perfect results. When complete the vacuum is released and the chamber can be opened. The flask is removed and immersed in water to cool and liquify the investment, revealing the metal tree inside. Sandblasting is used to remove the excess investment material from the tree.
The master model is cut from the tree and refined and finished by standard bench techniques such as filing, sanding and polishing. The model is than sprued ready to be moulded in silicone rubber. When vulcanised under heat and pressure the flexible mould is cut open to remove the silver model. The mould can then be injected with wax which when cooled forms wax replicas. These waxes are then treed ready for investment.
The same casting procedure as before is repeated but now in the desired final metal. Each metal type is cast seperately. Each alloy has a different melting temperature depending on it’s density and material. We cast 950 Platinum, 18ct white, yellow and rose gold and silver.
The casting practice is the industry standard method of production. We are unusal in that we do all these processes inhouse. This allows us to control and maintain the quality of our work.
The castings are cut from the tree and finished on the inside ready for hallmarking. Hallmarking is done independently at the Sheffield Assay office. The UK is one of the only countries where Hallmarking is a compulsory statutory requirement. This means that all items we sell must have been tested by a third party Assay Office to guarantee its quality.
The assaying and hallmarking processes are relatively simple and involve testing (assaying) the metal by X-Ray to ensure the metal is the quality stated and then stamping (hallmarking) the item appropriately. If the piece is particularly small or cannot be stamped the assay office may laser engrave the hallmark.
Finishing and Stone setting
Once returned from hallmarking the ring is filed and sanded. At this stage it is usually assembled and sized by soldering or laser welding. Then it is pre-polished ready for stone setting.
Our talented stone setter, working under a microscope, precisely cuts and shapes the setting ready to hold the diamonds and gemstones. Once the stones are in place and alligned correctly a hammer action handpiece is utilised to gently push the metal over the stone holding it securely in place. Any final adjustments are made ,(including assembly in this example as our setter needed access to the stone setting before the parts could be joined). Use of a laser welder allows for strong joins even after stone setting. Even platinum can be melted and joined at one point on the ring without damaging our burning the gemstones.
The ring is finally sanded, buffed and polished to achieve its brilliant shine and sparkle.
Although we carry out constant quality control throughout, our final inspections ensure the piece is in perfect condition to be put on display or collected by the customer. Rings, earrings, pendants and bangles are all inspected with a loupe. If the piece is diamond set, the integrity and strength of the setting is tested to ensure the stones are secure. Finally, we photograph the item using a high quality macro lens so we can be absolutely sure there are no imperfections. This photograph will also be used on the valuation for insurance provided with every order over £1000.
Collection or Display
Only now is the item ready to go on display, or be collected or packaged and sent out the customer. Our order manager contacts every customer personally to confirm if they would like the item posted to them or they wish to collect in person. We do this accommodate the customers needs and ensure someone is in to receive the parcel as all of our postal methods require a signature.
Start your journey with us today. Whether you’re looking for the perfect Engagement ring, Wedding rings or piece of diamond dress jewellery, you’ll find something perfect within our beautiful collections. Or if you’d prefer something a little more personal, book a bespoke consultation and design your perfect piece with our designer.