Making jewelry is still more like creating a work of art than it is an automated manufacturing process. Rings come in an endless selection of styles and help us celebrate memorable milestones of our lives - or can be bought just because they strike a chord or are the perfect accessory. Technology has certainly allowed for more complex designs, however the basic art of jewelry manufacture harks back to yesteryear.
Most of the unique designs in the Kelly Herd Jewelry Collection were created by Master Jeweler Kelly Herd himself. The first step from an idea to concept is first drawn by hand, or is set up in a CAD (Computer Assisted Design) Program - or a combination of them both.
The next step is likely one that most people are not aware of - the wax model. This part is where the true artistry begins and is still a hands-on part of the ring creation if the CAD has not been used. When complete, the wax mold is an exact replica of the ring to be made. Each ring begins its life in a mold. A master jeweler like Kelly Herd will have thousands of unique molds that have been created over a lifetime’s work.
The amount of metal needed to cast the ring is determined then the the wax is mounted to a rubber conical base and enclosed in a hollow stainless steel tube. The hollow space is then filled with plaster of Paris and put in a vacuum chamber to remove all air from the mold. After the plaster is vacuumed, it is then allowed to set for at least 5 hours.
Once the plaster is cured, the burnout begins. Burnout is the removal of the wax in the mold through vaporization. Once the correct kiln temperature is met, the metal for the ring is melted in a crucible to a liquid state.
The cylinder is then removed from the kiln and placed in either a vacuum extractor or a centrifuge and the liquid gold is injected into the plaster mold and allowed to cool for a short time. To remove the ring from the mold, the cylinder is put into a bucket of water. This shatters the plaster, freeing the ring and hardening the metal.
The ring is then inspected for defects, final filing and shaping is done. The ring is polished and, In addition, any stones will be set. If any final adjustments needs to be done on the size of the ring. Each ring will need from 2 - 8 hours of additional work, depending on the number of stones and the complexity of the design. Some rings will need assembly and two tone rings are cast in parts and then assembled. No wonder rings have seemingly always played such a special part of our lives - let a Kelly Herd ring play a special part of yours!