Single Origin Rose Gold Ring - A Very Special Order

When it comes to custom orders, you never know who might call or what project a customer might have in mind. I was recently thrown one of these exciting jewellery curve balls by a lovely client who had named her son Tanami after the Australian desert. Located on the border of Western Australia and the Northern Territory, the vast Tanami desert is known for its iconic red dirt as well as its gold. My client loved the idea of presenting her son with a single origin Tanami gold ring in a rich rose colour to symbolise the landscape he was named after. The whole concept sounded like a wonderful challenge and so I got started.


As a jeweller, I use a variety of suppliers who mainly deal in recycled metals so knowing where to start to find gold from a specific region required a lot of detective work. Through my research, I found a few metal refining companies who source freshly mined gold from the Tanami. Unfortunately, they also purchase their gold from other mines to keep up with demand. During refining, the Tanami gold would probably be mixed with other gold from elsewhere and they couldn’t guarantee that it would be of single origin. 


I needed to take a step back in the supply chain and decided to contact the mines directly. Given that they don’t usually deal with jewellers or the public, they thought I was a little nuts and couldn’t really give me much information. I persevered for days and finally found a company who was willing to help me which was music to my ears. 


The time had come to start the project. I went to make my order at which point the company informed me that the entire mine was closing! Panic ensued but luckily I had a brainwave which saved the day… Gold nuggets! 

A handful of single origin Tanami gold nuggets.

A handful of single origin Tanami gold nuggets.

Now you may think I am crazy for melting down gold nuggets, given that their value as a specimen will often exceed their value in terms of gold content, however, I can assure you that no spectacular gold nuggets were harmed in the process of making this piece. After more research, I managed to find a hidden gem of a supplier, my new friend Wally. Wally had been fossicking for gold back in the 90’s and managed to find himself quite the collection which he released for sale from time to time. The stars must have aligned and at the very moment I was looking for a Tanami gold nugget, he was selling some.


Wally had an array of large gold nuggets for sale but I didn’t want to melt down such a beautiful specimen. I gave him a call and discovered that in his private collection he also had quite a few small nuggets which he would sometimes sell to metal refining companies around Australia. Finally, I had some single origin Tanami gold but what to do with it?

The best kind of certification!

The best kind of certification!


Australian nuggets are some of the most pure in the world but they still need to be refined to ensure that that the metal contains 99.9% fine gold which can then be alloyed. I couldn’t send them to my usual suppliers as they would mix it in with the rest of their gold, defeating the purpose of the whole exercise. I searched far and wide, finding an amazing company who agreed to help me by refining my gold individually. When their work was done, I was left with a lovely fine gold ingot which I then made into an elegant rose gold band.

My freshly melted Tanami gold ingot.

My freshly melted Tanami gold ingot.

The beautiful ring all clean with a matte finish.

The beautiful ring all clean with a matte finish.

My delightful customer received her beautiful ring and presented the keepsake to her son, Tanami. Finding single origin Tanami gold was a tricky but rewarding process. It taught me a lot about the origin of my materials and made me think about part of the jewellery making process that I had always taken for granted. I was so happy that the project came together in the end and was really honoured to be able to produce a custom ring which was so meaningful to my client.

 

Want to have your own bespoke piece of jewellery made? Contact me to make an appointment.

The Eternity Band Remake

Since working for a jeweller I have seen many old and sometimes neglected wedding rings come through the door to be repaired. Years of everyday wear tend to reduce protruding details of the pieces such as claws and delicate filigree.

Unfortunately for my lovely mum, her fifteen year old eternity band was in a bit of a state as hand making ceramics is not all that compatible with her desire to wear fine jewellery. Clay is a dusty material and the tiny little particles seemed to be wearing away at the surface of her glasses and her jewellery at a fast rate. Luckily I was up to the challenge of repairing the jewellery but maybe not the glasses.

The piece came to me missing diamonds and slightly squished. On closer inspection with a jeweller’s loupe, my jewellery friend Kristy and I were astonished to see that even though it was bought as a new ring, it had already been reshanked (a new band had been attached) and was falling apart so badly that it wouldn't have lasted much longer.

I had two options with this piece; I could try to salvage the remaining ring that, given the state of it, would probably still fall apart later or remake the whole thing to the same design. Considering that she works with her hands so much, Mum decided that she would have the ring remade using slightly thicker gold to make it more durable.

I wasn't sure how good the quality of the original gold would be, so I decided to make the piece out of new gold, using the old ring as a reference. I rolled down a piece for the shank and hand pierced the pattern. As suspected, the original ring snapped apart with no pressure at all. Lucky she asked me to fix it when she did!

I wasn't sure how good the quality of the original gold would be, so I decided to make the piece out of new gold, using the old ring as a reference. I rolled down a piece for the shank and hand pierced the pattern. As suspected, the original ring snapped apart with no pressure at all. Lucky she asked me to fix it when she did!

I had to source some beautiful rose cut diamonds to replace the ones which were missing and remove the rest from the existing ring. I then prepared the setting and soldered it together.

I had to source some beautiful rose cut diamonds to replace the ones which were missing and remove the rest from the existing ring. I then prepared the setting and soldered it together.

I set the diamonds and hand carved the band.

I set the diamonds and hand carved the band.

Then finished polishing it and set the ruby. Its not a bad match!

Then finished polishing it and set the ruby. Its not a bad match!

All shiny and finished!

All shiny and finished!

Michael's Wedding Ring

After twenty years of service and three years of it cutting his finger, my Step Father, Michael, decided to finally bite the bullet and have his wedding ring refurbished. Though it looked beautiful and ornate to begin with, the 9ct gold ‘rope’ inlay on Michael’s original ring wore away over time and would regularly come apart leaving sharp bits of metal exposed.

Normally, a much easier and more economical way to go about fixing a ring like this would be to remelt it and start again with a less fragile design. In Michael’s case though, the ring had an important and sentimental message engraved inside that he wanted to keep. The solution? A technique that I have been known to have had bad dreams about: the gold inlay.

The original ring complete with engraving and sharp bit of gold 'rope' sticking out

The original ring complete with engraving and sharp bit of gold 'rope' sticking out

To start with I had to remove the original 'rope' inlay. Luckily not all of it was soldered down so I was able to pull it apart with pliers

To start with I had to remove the original 'rope' inlay. Luckily not all of it was soldered down so I was able to pull it apart with pliers

The bits that were soldered down needed to be completely filed away, leaving the very thin engraved ring underneath

The bits that were soldered down needed to be completely filed away, leaving the very thin engraved ring underneath

I then made a half round ring that fit perfectly into the channel of the original ring

I then made a half round ring that fit perfectly into the channel of the original ring

I soldered the two together ensuring that there were no holes in the solder then filed away excess once it was cooled.

I soldered the two together ensuring that there were no holes in the solder then filed away excess once it was cooled.

I then sanded and polished the ring. It was offensively shiny which isn't really Michael's style (or mine!!) so I masked the ring off and dulled the inlay down to a slightly matte finish while leaving the edges polished. Much better!

I then sanded and polished the ring. It was offensively shiny which isn't really Michael's style (or mine!!) so I masked the ring off and dulled the inlay down to a slightly matte finish while leaving the edges polished. Much better!

The finished ring all ready for sending. Now that has been refurbished, he should get at least another 20 years out of it.

The finished ring all ready for sending. Now that has been refurbished, he should get at least another 20 years out of it.