1. Sketch

The beginning of every piece of jewelry is the inspiration of a jewelry designer or the defined wish of a customer. In the first step, the designer then sketches the piece of jewelry, thereby forming the basis for the manufacturing process. Today, the sketch is either done in the classic way as a drawing on paper or directly as a CAD 3D construction on the computer. In particularly complex cases, both steps can be chosen, so that the basic structure can first be determined using the sketch and then a complete and rotatable view of it can be obtained using the CAD 3D construction.

2. Making a model

The second step in the creative process of jewelry making is the creation of a detailed model (master model). Materials are used that can withstand temperatures of up to approx. 200°C. However, file wax is usually used because although the material is significantly softer than the precious metal of the finished piece of jewelry, it is still sufficiently dimensionally stable and is well suited for processing. The wax can be processed with a cutter, file or graver. The desired piece of jewelry is gradually carved out of the material.

Depending on your dexterity and experience, all sorts of ideas can be realized, from very simple models to elaborate and delicate variants. For rings, the inner diameter is filed to the correct ring size in this step. If the model was designed in the CAD 3D program, it is created in wax in a plotter (an output device that creates vector graphics on various materials). There are different processes, which in turn are based on different technologies. The model can be created, for example, by a robot that builds up the wax model using the finest droplets of wax or by means of a laser beam that hardens wafer-thin layers of wax layer by layer. This wax model can then be used for casting and can only be used once. However, if a piece of jewelry is to be produced more than once, an intermediate step is added to the production process and a silicone or hot rubber mold is made. This can be used multiple times. To produce a casting model, the sprue must then be attached manually. In some cases there are also several sprues to ensure that the material gets everywhere easily and that no air bubbles remain.

3. Vulcanizing a rubber mold

For regular production of a model, it makes sense to make the rubber or silicone mold. The manufactories that specialize in jewelry blanks always have a large stock of these shapes, as a design requires a corresponding number of models in order to be able to reflect the variety of ring sizes and setting sizes.

The rubber molds are made using the following steps. The model of the ring (either made of wax or a simpler metal - often silver) is embedded in an aluminum frame between scraps of raw rubber or in plates and covered with pressed plates. In a specially designed vulcanizing press, the rubber pieces are connected under pressure and heat (at 150-165°C, in about 45 minutes).

After cooling, the rubber mold is cut or torn open with a scalpel. The rubber mold can be reworked with the scalpel. This is followed by attaching a sprue. With the help of the resulting rubber mold, appropriate wax models can be made.

4. Wax injections

Wax is injected into the rubber mold at a temperature of 50-60 °C and a pressure of approx. 0.4 bar. The more complicated the parts, the higher the injection pressure is set. After a short time, the wax model can be removed and placed on a wax tree.

5. Place on the wax tree

To “grow up”, a thick stick of model wax is inserted into the hole in a specially shaped rubber plate. The wax models are attached to this using a kind of soldering iron using the melting process, so that a tree or grape-shaped structure is created. The wax models can be bent into shape and cleaned with a scraper before melting. When placing the wax models, which can have the same or quite different shapes and sizes, you must work with enough distance between the parts and also from the flask placed over the entire wax tree. To complete the amount of metal required for casting, the wax tree is weighed and the casting weight is calculated after deducting the rubber plate weight.

6. Embed

The cuvette, a thin metal tube, is placed over the wax tree. It must be ensured that the cuvette does not touch the wax. So it has to be big enough. The previously mixed fireproof, plaster-like investment material (consists of molding sand that is bound by the plaster) is then poured into the flask. So that the mass fits closely to all wax models of the wax tree down to the last corners and branches without any air bubbles, the whole thing is placed on an electrically operated shaking table and at the same time the air is sucked out under the associated vacuum bell. The investment material fits completely around the wax tree in the cuvette. Embedding is always done the day before casting, as a lot of time is required - especially to avoid air bubbles.

7. Melt out wax, burn it out

Once the cuvette has been stored for about 1 to 2 hours without being shaken and the investment has set (let it solidify), the wax is usually first melted out in a special annealing oven before the investment is given the necessary strength in the burnout oven and the rest of the wax is burned out. The temperature for burning out is around 730° Celsius. The entire burnout cycle takes approximately 12 hours. The casting begins quickly the next morning.

8. Melt and pour

For casting, the cuvette is cooled down to around 600° C and metal is melted in a crucible at 950 - 1050° C. The molten metal is then poured into the cuvette. There it fills the cavities due to its gravity. The temperature during casting depends on the casting metal and the fineness of the castings (the finer, the higher). The whole thing happens in the cast iron oven. There are two possible methods: With the vacuum system, the liquid metal is pressed into the cuvette using vacuum and pressure. In the centrifugal casting system, this is done by centrifugal force as the flask is clamped into a rotating casting arm and spun.

9. Disvesting, cleaning, cutting off

After the casting has solidified, the flask is immediately quenched in cold water. The investment material bursts and the cast tree can be removed. The cleaning is first carried out with a water jet under high pressure, then the cast trees are dipped in hydrofluoric acid or further cleaned in sandblasting cabins with blasting media and water. Finally, the individual castings are cut off by hand or by machine.

10. Finishing touches

After casting, there are still protuberances on the cast model - the so-called sprues - through which the metal had previously flowed into the mold. These are now removed using a fine saw. Now the burr remaining from the sprue (the rest of the sprue attachment on the piece of jewelry) must be ground and polished.

11. The polish

Mechanical surface processing plays a large part in jewelry production. The process begins in the sanding room with removing the cast skin on the jewelry pieces (a rough and quite porous top layer on the jewelry piece that is marked by the investment material). Depending on the material and structure of the model, the surface is processed with different and increasingly fine files/sandpaper in order to achieve a particularly high shine at the end with the polish.

12. Setting the gemstones

The gem setter attaches the diamonds or gemstones to the setting. There are different types of settings such as the prong setting, channel setting, rubbed setting or grain setting. In some cases, the setting or the stone support is refinished in advance with a fine milling cutter so that the stone lies evenly before the edge of the setting is then driven with a hammer and punch. The metal is driven closer to the stone with careful blows so that it sits firmly in the setting. It is very important here that the barreler has a good sense of proportion and strikes sensitively. Otherwise, hitting the girdle of the diamond could cause damage to this very thin and sensitive area. Read more about the different types of barreling here.

12.1 Driving

With this technique, material from the frames is moved towards the stone round base using targeted blows. This is done using punches that are used to apply the necessary blows in exactly the right place and in a measured manner. This technique is used for the following types of settings: Heavy and lighter frames, recessed settings - for example in heavy band rings - and sometimes also in prong settings if the prongs are particularly thick.

12.2 Bar and channel setting

The bar setting is a subtype of the powered setting and is usually found on wedding rings. Here, the holes for the stones are filed out on the sides so that the stones are free on the sides. A bar of material always remains between the drill hole and the drill hole, which is used to fasten the stones by driving. This is not a recommended type of barrel, as the stones usually become loose after a short time due to the free position of the stone rounders at the sides. The same procedure is also used for channel recording. Here several diamonds sit next to each other.

12.3 Chaton and prong setting

Usually an open wire frame consisting of eyelets and prongs. With this type of setting, the stones usually sit free-standing above the top eyelet, in prongs that the setter notches manually. By sliding sideways along the stone girdle, the prongs are clamped into the barrel and finally rounded off with a hollow cutter. There are many variations of this - probably the most decorative - type of frame.

12.4 Collecting

This type of setting is used when inserting stones into a smooth surface. It is also known as a “blurred version”. The stones are inserted into precisely fitting drill holes. Using a needle, the very narrow drill hole in which the stone is inserted slightly above the girdle is rubbed under pressure along the edges, along the girdle. This causes the material to deform, creating both a ridge that holds the stone and a shiny facet around the stone. This type of frame has the advantage that surfaces do not have to be damaged.

12.5 mille handles

These are decorations on frame edges along the edge of the barrel. Mille handles used to be made with a pointed graver ground on the side. The edge of the frame was pierced to form a grain, onto which the burin was placed to pierce the next grain and so on. The time-consuming and laborious rounding of the grains was no longer necessary with the advent of small embossing wheels with which the desired structure could be rolled up.

The name suggests the visual impression: Millegriffes looks as if a thousand small handles were holding the stone. A type of decoration that was primarily used from the 1920s to the 1950s. This is primarily found in jewelry designs with many stones surrounded by gold decorations. Today this type is only carried out on special request.

12.6 Pavee version

The term comes from French and means that the stones are arranged in a setting area - like the paving stones of a road surface. This type of setting has experienced a renaissance in recent years, as the techniques have been significantly refined with the advent of air- or motor-driven burin handpieces. The workload has also been greatly reduced thanks to the newer tools. Holes are drilled into an area, stone by stone, at the appropriate distance, and the stones are embedded in them. Since round stones always have material left over from the surface, this is used to continue the stones. The material is cut away in the narrowest places, the rest is used as a grain (prong) to attach the stone. There are always two grains on each stone, so this type is a two-point setting. The cleared grains are rounded off with a so-called grain iron after they have been placed on the stones. You can do the same thing with four grains, i.e. a four-point mount. This has the advantage that the stone holds up better against impact forces.

Another approach requires less stone: the stones are distributed arbitrarily over the surface and the appropriate holes are made in the desired places. Then criss-cross grooves are made so that only facets can be seen on the surface. Now the stones are placed in the holes and the remaining ribs on the surface are pierced into grains with a wedge-shaped sickle. Each stone can have more than two grains; you cut as many grains out of the ribs as you get. The remaining ribs are then cut into grains and rounded off with a grain iron. This is the oldest type of pavement setting.

Pave settings in a row are called thread settings; they differ from surface pave in that a glossy cut facet is created on all sides.

12.7 Waste

This usually refers to the processing of pavé. The term is used as a collective name for pavé frames. This is because these frames are cut out of the solid material using gravers.

12.8 Presetting

This refers to the insertion of stones into settings that are not yet part of a piece of jewelry at this point.

Widely used in industry, this offers the opportunity to dispense with skilled personnel and use the stones mechanically by using similar work approaches. The settings that have already been set with stones can easily be used by unskilled workers or even by machines if the pieces of jewelry are constructed accordingly. A principle that is often used in mass production.

12.9 Frame setting

A frame setting is a stone setting made from a sheet metal strip with a step-like structure with a support for the stone to be set. This is then attached by driving.

12.10 Karmoization

Karmoization is a very rare type of frame. It is, so to speak, something between an offcut version and a chaton. Usually different stones were set into a so-called “A-Joure” around a center stone. This was a strip of metal (usually platinum) running around the center stone, into which the holes for the stones were drilled. The stones were then precisely leveled until their table surfaces were parallel or aligned at the exact angle. The outer edge of the metal strip was then removed corresponding to the drill holes, so that in principle only a strong ring of eyelets remained. However, the edge often remained so that an offcut version could be created. Next, a surrounding frame was made, which was refined in the manner of a bow chaton setting. The top was placed on this openwork frame. Sometimes this was also embedded in the setting, creating a kind of prong setting. The possibilities for implementation are almost endless.

It was always a center stone with surrounding smaller stones on a ring. These rings were usually of extremely high quality craftsmanship, as in all cases they were precious rings that were made with corresponding effort.

13. Fine polish

Finally, the jewelry is polished to a high shine on rotating brushes, disks and mandrels using special grinding and polishing pastes. After this process, the processed pieces of jewelry are taken to the electroplating shop for cleaning and degreasing.

14. The embossing stamp

Each piece of jewelry is stamped with two stamps: the stamp of origin of the manufacturer or goldsmith and the stamp that confirms the authenticity of the precious metal.

15. Electroplating

The prerequisite for the production of modern, high-quality jewelry is a technically well-equipped galvanic system and a highly qualified galvanist who knows how to deal with very toxic substances. Electroplating is the last stop for every piece of jewelry before it goes on sale. Here the jewelry is polished again to a high shine if necessary and then cleaned and degreased using ultrasound. For platinum. This completes the electroplating process for yellow and red gold jewelry, unlike white gold jewelry, which undergoes a special surface refinement. When it comes to white gold jewelry, a layer of rhodinium is applied in a galvanic bath, which gives the piece of jewelry an even brighter white.

16. Engraving

There are different methods to engrave a ring. Yorxs primarily uses diamond engraving in a script font. In individual cases, we can also use laser engraving and vary the font even more easily if desired. You can read about other procedures below.

16.1 Diamond engraving

It is the most frequently used type of engraving and can also be implemented at short notice. With this technique, the ring is clamped into a mechanical engraving machine and the engraved text is rewritten using a typesetting device. The diamond tip is controlled via the joints and writes the text into the ring. In this process, a fine diamond tip displaces the metal of the ring, leaving no chips. Because the diamond is very sharp, the lines are always very thin. This can be compensated for by using a double-line writing set.

16.2 Laser engraving

Rings that you order from Yorxs are, among other things, engraved using a laser. For laser engraving, the ring is clamped into a holder and the engraving machine's computer is provided with the text and symbol data. The special laser is then guided like a small robot and engraves the text into the ring band with the highest precision.

16.3 Hand engraving

The oldest form of all engraving methods is hand engraving. This is how rings have been written into for thousands of years - entirely by hand. In this process, the engraver uses a burr freehand. This means he can influence the engraving image through different angles and depths. A steady hand, a lot of concentration and experience are essential. Hand engraving allows for a particularly high level of individuality. Today there are only a few hand engravers left and prices are now very high. Hand engraving is now used less for the inside of rings, but rather for engraving coats of arms or similar.

16.4 Intarsia engraving

Intarsia engraving is by far the most complex engraving. This method creates a unique combination of two precious metals in the form of an engraving. It is a type of engraving in which it is possible to seamlessly insert any gold content into a ring. After forging the ring, the desired contents are first removed from the ring. The depth is up to 1mm so that there is enough space. The resulting depressions are now filled with liquid gold. It is particularly important to ensure that no pores or cracks form. In the last step, the engraving is cleaned and the ring is given the so-called finish, the final polish. This process is most likely used on the outside of wedding rings. It requires a lot of experience.

17. Final inspection

Every piece of jewelry you order from Yorxs is of course subjected to a final inspection at the end. The final inspection is ultimately a close look at the setting (so that the stone sits well), the surface of the material (that it is free of scratches and polish streaks) and of course the diamond again. The stamps and possibly the engraving are checked in the same way. This is done with the naked eye and with a magnifying glass. Finally, the jewelry is cleaned with a microfiber cloth and then placed in the jewelry box in which the piece of jewelry is delivered to you.