Reused gold. Projects and stories.

Pearl and gold setting that was originally an engagement ring given by a WWI Doughboy.

Barbara purchased the opal for this necklace on a recent trip to Australia. But the gold for the pendant comes from three rings that she has had for many years. When Barbara was nine years old, her mother's best friend, Iona,  gave her a little pearl ring. Iona had been engaged when she was 18 years old, but her fiancÚ died in WWI before they could marry.  To make this necklace, the front of the pearl ring was cut away and straightened to make the top right section of the frame. The rest of the ring was melted along with the setting from Barbara's original engagement ring and an opal ring that had originally been a gift to her grandmother, purchased by her uncle at the San Francisco World's Fair in 1915. That ring had lost a stone on August 15, 1945, "VJ Day". The old gold was cast to make the frame for this necklace and the remainder saved for a future project for Barbara's grandchildren.  Lots of memories in this piece.


Jeanne's engagement ring. Incorporating gold left from her grandmother Barbara's project on the left. Click for details.

 Legacy Gold

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Rory and Deborah celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with new rings. After choosing designs, Stephen Walker prepared the lost wax molds for casting so that the couple was able to arrive at the workshop wearing their original rings. These were then remelted and cast while they watched. Soon their new rings were cooled, filed and polished so that they left wearing new rings,  recycled from the original material from their wedding.

Watch similar rings being made on YouTube

Homemade engagement ring tricked out with a diamond and gold trim after 35 years.

When Joe was 19 years old he made a ring by braiding stainless steel wire and gave this to Liz as an engagement ring. The ring broke, but the marriage was a great success. 35 years later Joe brought some old gold rings to Walker Metalsmiths. A diamond was added and the original homemade ring was rebuilt.

Listen to Liz tell her story on YouTube

Before:

Original engagement ring from 1980s

For their 25th anniversary this couple had us take the quarter carat diamond from their original engagement ring and make it into a necklace for their daughter. The gold was then used to cast the ring shown on the right, which is a custom setting built to hold three cushion cut diamonds. 2.10 carats total weight.

New ring from Walker Metalsmiths

Doug and Juanita panned for gold on trips to South Carolina. After Juanita passed away Doug had Walker Metalsmiths take the stone from one of her rings and set it in a ring cast from the gold that they found together.

The natural gold tested at 22K. The shank of the 14K ring and  some additional metal was added to make the final alloy 14K.

Lost Wax Casting
How it is done

Watch it on YouTube!

1. Old gold is tested and weighed. New gold or alloy material is added as needed.

2. The design of the ring is modeled in wax. In the illustration the waxes are multiples made in rubber molds. The original carving for each design is either carved in a special carving wax or made directly in metal. The two wax rings in the front will be cast together remelting old gold.

3. The wax is enclosed in a steel flask and filled with a plaster investment material. This is heated in a kiln to melt and burn out the wax leaving a cavity the exact same shape as the wax.

 

4. The flask is put in a centrifugal casting machine while it is still hot from the kiln. The gold is melted with a torch and the spun into the investment mold.

 

 

Spinning the cast. A blur of motion
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5. The flask is allowed to cool for several minutes and then quenched in water. It is still hot enough that the thermal shock explodes the investment away from the castings.

(The picture is actually a different casting than the wax illustrated, but you get the idea)

6. The casting gates are cut off and saved for future projects and the pieces are filed and polished.

The final product.

Discover the design possibilities at Walker Metalsmiths