How I make a bespoke garnet ring

A garnet set ring.

This ring is made from recycled solid sterling silver and a garnet cabochon. To make something like this would take me around three hours, depending on how smoothly it goes!


First, I cut the length of silver needed for the band using my small handsaw, trying to be as precise as possible to reduce waste and the filing time later. I then take my stamps and engrave the requested inscription on the band.

Next, I clean up the edges, making them as straight as possible, and bend the two ends to join almost perfectly. I then clean the ring band and prepare it for soldering, a process where two pieces of metal are joined using a combination of heat and a filler metal with a lower melting point than the sterling silver band.

A handmade silver ring with the word MATILDA engraved on the inside.

I then place the ring in a pickling solution which removes the oxidisation from the soldering process and cleans the ring. Lastly, I shape the band to a perfect round, check it is the correct size and file down the solder join with hand files and various grades of sandpaper until the join is no longer visible.

To set the garnet I first measure its height. To secure a stone there must be enough silver to hold it in, but not too much so it conceals the stone. I then create a bezel cup for the stone out of two pieces of silver (a bottom and an edge piece) by soldering them together. Finally, I refine the cup using files and sandpaper and check again that the setting is the right height for the stone.

Next, I solder the cup and band together and then hand-polish the ring using a variety of papers, abrasive discs and polishing compounds.

The penultimate step is securely setting the stone which I do by carefully folding the edges of the silver cup onto the garnet. Finally, I fill in the engraved inscription with a black enamel pen and then package up the ring including a cleaning cloth and a handwritten thank you.


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