One of our couples recently brought an amazing local resource to my attention. Maria and Peter, a May Bride and Groom, were looking for something more than a simple gold band. They had some big ideas about what they wanted, and they were able to find a unique opportunity to participate in the design and creation of their own wedding bands!
TAP Studios, known for its superior-quality custom design work (some of their commissions appear above), is making this opportunity accessible to everyone. In addition to designing and forging custom commissioned pieces, TAP Studios, located at 1667 East Fortieth Street, Suite Three B in Cleveland, offers a fantastic two-day make-your-own rings workshop called “Forging Your Own Way.” Couples are able to actually forge their own gorgeous custom rings from beautiful recycled precious metals, conflict-free diamonds, and fair-trade gemstones, again reducing mining and pollution. How green of you!
This workshop is a perfect opportunity to incorporate heirlooms that may not quite fit your more modern style by restyling them into a setting that suits you better, or perhaps simply recycling cast-off of broken jewelry already in your jewelry box. Best of all, you can gift your new spouse with a unique and special reminder of your commitment to one another that you made yourself especially for him or her.
No experience with goldsmithing is necessary, though of course more advanced participants are certainly welcome. TAP Studios will provide all the tools you need, as well as advice and technical support. They offer a number of different approaches including beginning from ingots and using the lost wax technique.
For those worried about how “home made” rings will look, remember that these are professional instructors who will ensure that you achieve professional results. Rest assured that under the guidance of founders and instructors Debra Rosen and Todd Pownell, you will create couture-quality rings, extremely well-made and finished, even surpassing the quality of mass-produced rings. Just check out Maria and Peter’s process below:
It all started with a vision.
In addition to recycled gold and conflict-free diamonds, Maria and Peter had some very special stones they wanted to incorporate into their designs — a moon rock (yes, really!), a rock from mars (yes, really!), and a meteorite. Want some cool rocks from space of your own. Check out Wandering Star Meteorites online, e-mail Greg Catteron, or call 828-773-1864.
The two-day workshop begins with wax ring tube sized to fit each ring’s destination finger. To hold the delicate engraving that Maria and Peter desired, they chose the hardest grade of wax tubing. Wax tubing comes in two other grades — Purple, which is medium-hard, and Blue, which is soft and flexible. Depending upon your project, you might use one of these softer grades for your rings.
After the initial shaping, Maria and Peter checked the placement of the stones. Then, the wax ring is encased in a mold made of a fireproof material with a melting point higher than the precious metal being used, often a Chrystobolite solution. A wax “stem” is included extending from the rear of the piece in order to allow passage into the mold. The mold is then heated in a kiln until the wax itself is vaporized, and a hollow space remains. The molten metal is then poured into the mold and allowed to cool before being removed.
When the cast metal rings are removed from the mold, they often have a rough exterior and seams that still need to be finished. Holes for stones may also need to be deepened or shaped.