Remount Your Diamond

By Laurie Ashbach, February 9, 2011

The freedom to create…a time of exploration.  Back at my jewelry bench doing fabrication, direct metal working.  No casting, no wax, just the raw materials ready to become something new. This is how I fell in love with metals.  Taking a sheet of silver or gold and pounding it into a wearable object.  Feeling the strength of the metal, its stability.  Heating the metal to make it soft once again – malleable.  Soldering together the parts and polishing them until the radiance of the metal comes alive.  Using tools and your hands and a glimmer of an idea.  Allowing yourself to be in the moment of creation with a beautiful element from the earth.  Au, gold.  Ag, silver.  Cu, copper.  Pt, platinum.

I begin the process with Beth by making a couple of sample rings in silver to see what she responds to.  It’s also a way for me to get in the groove, like when an artist does gesture drawings to warm up.

She liked the first try, and loved the last ring which was barely formed (above).    She was able to imagine the possibilities and liked the overlap being developed with the more linear concept, and so we have a starting point.

Next, I popped the diamond out of her engagement ring and fitted it to a 14K white gold bezel which would now hold the stone cleanly & without any prongs.   As a designer, I felt the thrill of new ideas coming to life, of a connection with a client and the responsibility to make it wonderful.  The ring reminded me of a belt…a layered, bold statement that finished the entire outfit.

Now it’s time for the real work of metalsmithing.  After annealing with an acetylene torch, and air cooling, the gold sheet was soft and ready to be rounded in an oak form.

It was important to have the sterling practice ring for comparison.  On the left is the 14K white gold ring and its sterling counterpart, the inspiration.

The second and smaller wire was soldered and further bent around the first.

With the basic ring formed and sized, it was time to place the bezel and add some interest with 14K pink gold round wire and beads.

With the bezel in place, the stone was checked for fit in the mounting before final cleaning and setting.

And so another jewelry journey comes to a close for me, but there is now the pull to develop the design and explore variations on the theme.  Bethany now has a new designer ring which is a perfect fit, just for her.

Be sure to check Bethany’s styling for ‘A Cozy Winter Engagement Shoot’ at The Sweetest Occasion, and also Bethany’s blog b*spoke.  Phototgraphy by Emily at

{images: Laurie Ashbach}

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  1. HOLY MOLY Laurie! This is amazing to see the steps of how everything came together. I LOOOOOOOooove Beth’s ring and I feel like it fits “her” so well! :) Love your work! :)

  2. Maren says:

    I found my way here from Bethany’s blog. Absolutely wonderful work. Love it!

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