platinum wedding band, 18k yellow gold miracle accent

do not try this at home….unless of course you absolutely love stressing about really expensive precious metals…melting and contaminating each other… ruthless.

this platinum wedding band with 18k yellow gold was the final piece in a client’s wedding ensemble.  i had already created her engagement ring and her wedding band.

and while forging his wedding band, was finishing a handmade chain with all the colors of 18k gold and diamonds in platinum.

so this ring was not the thing to, mess up, shall we say….

apparently, i did not think this all through when kris came to me with his wedding band design.  while i love mixing gold and platinum, do it all the time, i have never been quite so ambitious in my endeavors to join such a large surface area of gold to platinum.   these two metals have very different properties and when one joins them, the different temperatures at which these metals become liquid, (read, MELT!!!), combined with the radically different tensile strengths of gold and platinum make joining the metals extraordinarily difficult. top it off with the only drawback to working with platinum, it’s susceptibility to contamination from other metals at temperature…

oy

let me put it this way.  in conversation with three different jewellers, each one said they would have turned the job away.  well now they know where to turn… smile

i had forged the whole platinum band, made the gold band to fit perfectly next to the plat, and proceeded to join the gold to the platinum with solder.   proceeded being the wrong word…

in a flash, the gold covered the platinum (like a cheap suit) and the platinum took on the appearance of a clinker, in the bottom of your coal fire.  sorta like a heavy piece of lava rock.

lovely…

without boring you with the rest of the details, let it suffice to say that after lighting a candle, shedding a few tears, lighting another candle and saying a hail mary for good measure, i somehow managed to save the whole ring and weld the gold to the platinum.

i have always had a knack for “forge welding” and in desperation, i treated the gold and platinum just as i would treat steel. i hammered the gold onto the platinum before i even let it cool.  and no, it did not stress fracture!

the reason i write about this experience is because it literally is what keeps my craft so invigorating…best way to learn, the big challenging jobs that defy traditional smithing techniques.

this photo shows the inside of the band, i opted not to mess with it, keeps me humble…

and at the end of the day, fire transforms and lives are joined.

be so well,

heather

price of platinum versus 18k palladium white gold

one of the questions that people shopping for custom platinum engagement rings often ask is “given the price of platinum, what is a good alternative for platinum engagement rings or platinum wedding bands?”

my answer in a particular alloy of gold that i love to forge: 18k palladium white gold.

palladium is a member of the platinum family, but unlike platinum, palladium is extremely affordable. when alloyed with 18k white gold, we have a metal that is intrinsically as close to the color and weight of platinum as anything one could custom create.

so unlike regular 14 and 18 karat white golds, palladium white does not need to be rhodium plated to create its fabulous deep color and so will wear beautifully over time.

to give an idea of its versatility, color and luster, here are some photos of different custom jewelry i have designed and created in 18k palladium white gold.

18k palladium white gold pendant, ring and bangle

18k white gold anniversary ring
18k white gold anniversary ring
18k palladium white gold engagement ring
18k palladium white gold engagement ring

silver & gold bangles

I hadn’t made any bangles for a relatively long time, until the old hand forged sterling silver bangle on the

hand forged sterling silver bangle with diamonds
hand forged sterling silver bangle with diamonds


fortunately for my readers, the bangle (even at the really good price through the end of August!) hasn’t sold yet, and you could still get the deal of the year if you like this piece.

fortunately for me, posting this piece up for sale inspired a custom order for a little bit different bangle, which I just finished yesterday in this last round of bench work before packing up the studio for Pittsburgh.

John took a bunch of pictures of all the pieces getting their final polish yesterday, including the platinum ring I posted this morning; here’s the new bangle: solid gold but hammered very thin,with a couple of little 8 point diamonds flush set in the rim near the top:


new custom 14k yellow gold handforged bangle
new custom 14k yellow gold handforged bangle

platinum rolling rings

This is a really cool challenge I had recently from a new client: create the classic “rollling ring” design in platinum, with each of the three joined rings a different finish: a smooth, polished (shiny) platinum ringjoined to a smooth brushed platinum ring (“matte” finish) joined to a third platinum ring with my trademark hammered and burnished finish.


platinum rolling rings

Not having done a custom ring quite like this, I was somewhat anxiously awaiting my client’s reaction to the finished product, so imagine how ecstatic I was to receive this email yesterday!

“Heather,

Thank you for making my gorgeous ring. I know the rolling movement of the three individual rings was a challenge. But, the finished ring is perfect!

I love the weight of the ring and the way the rings roll over each over – it’s very soothing. Some how, you made a ring that feels like it was always meant to be on my hand.

You rock!!!”

-Susan Evans