31 August 2016
Chris, goldsmith and general raconteur, has been documenting some of the processes from his day to day workshop life. Here is a round up of some of his films, hope you enjoy them.
This is the view I've got looking through my green protective goggles when I'm soldering platinum. The solder melts at about 1450 degrees C, which is way too bright to look at with the naked eye. The design is a 'Three Section' wedding ring for a chap getting married in August. It's quite involved to make; three separate rings which go square-round-square, each hand-made individually, matched in size, size-checked by the customer, 90% finished, then painstakingly lined up and soldered, finally polished and then sent to assay to get lazer hallmarked at The London Assay Office. You might think that's a lot of trouble for a man's wedding ring, but his bride-to-be got one of our lovely marquise diamond engagement rings and our end-set diamond wedding ring, so I think he deserves it... ttfn Chris #hotstuff #intheloupe #platinum #jondibben
Some designs (like wedding rings) lend themselves to being hand forged from bullion, but casting is better suited to the more sculptural designs, like this 'Four Claw' solitaire ring. I shot this video this morning; I'm melting an extra piece into the back of a wax model of the ring to increase the finger size. The wax is rather fragile, but easy to file and carve, and easy to join by melting with a hot tool (in this case a flattened bit of silver held in tweezers). Next step is to cast the ring into18ct gold... ttfn Chris #waxonwaxoff #intheloupe #jondibben
My abrasive rubber wheel is in action this morning, on a very sparkly 1.67ct cushion cut diamond ring in 18ct yellow gold. I've gouged out three different radiused profiles in the wheel with an old file, and use it as an extra stage between filing and emery-papering the shanks of rings. ttfn Chris #itsallinthewrist#intheloupe #jondibben
Jewellers have been into recycling since way before it was fashionable - I've been melting up some saved bits of platinum for a diamond eternity ring today. It melts at 1,770 C, which is too bright to look at without green goggles. For comparison, gold melts at around 1.060 C, lava from a volcano is 700 - 1200 C, glass melts at 1,500 C, and daddy bear's porridge is 2,043 C... ttfn, Chris #workshopwarmer #intheloupe #jondibben#platinum #recycling
Some people have asked me whether I stick the stones into our jewellery with glue. After a brief period of suppressing the vague feeling that the very suggestion I might use glue is slightly offensive, my answer is that glue is unlikely to survive the decades for which we envisage our pieces lasting, and also glue would make optical contact with the surface of the stone, and as the reflection and refraction of light relies on a stone/air interface at the rear surfaces of the stone, glue would spoil the sparkle. This very zoomed-in video shows the beginning of me pushing down a little rim of platinum around a 1.90mm treated green diamond. I'm pressing the sharp, polished burnisher down onto the top edge of the hole quite hard while trying not to slip and make a big scratch in the surface of the ring. ttfn Chris