Sunday, September 04, 2011

GS: Fingerprints, Part 2

When the palladium rings were returned to me, I was pleased to find that the finger prints survived the casting process. But I knew I had to handle the rings with the utmost care during the finishing/polishing process so not to disturb the fingerprints. Normally, I would use various types of files, emery and rubber wheels inside the rings to take off the top surface after casting (to remove any surface pitting, texture, etc) to create a smooth surface for polishing. But in this case, I had to clean lightly around the fingerprints, not touching them at all, and then I tumbled the rings for an extended period of time.

By tumbling the rings, it would not only remove any rough/sharp areas in the fingerprints while still retaining the pattern, but prepare the rest of the metal for final polishing.

And these are the final pieces.

When off, the finger print is clearly visible. But when worn, nobody else needs to know that they are there. The perfect little secret... more personal than most engravings.

And I was thrilled that my experiment worked!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

GS: Fingerprints, Part 1

I have had so many inquiries about "Fingerprint" rings, which is the person's fingerprint imbedded into the ring (normally on the outside of the band.) But after I explain the process, nobody seems to want to go through with it. Until now.

There are a few different ways that jewelers make fingerprint bands. You can scan in a fingerprint and laser engrave the fingerprint, but I this process too mechanical and perfect. You can have the client sink their finger into clay and once the clay hardens, use that as a mold to melt wax into, but that can leave a rather faint imprint in the final piece. And then there is the way I decided to do it...

First, I lined the hard green (high melting temp) wax with a purple repair wax (low melting temp). Then I cut the rings in half (because they wanted to have the fingerprints on the inside of the rings.) And then I burned my fingers holding the wax over an alcohol flame to soften it up...

...for my client to SINK HIS FINGER INTO THE HOT WAX!

... e Voila! Wax imprint! (That is the fingerprint of the groom to be on the inside of the band of the bride to be.)

And then I make the bride to be repeat the process...

Then I had to reconnect the bands in the wax, do some light cleaning and have them cast. We actually did practice waxes to make sure the process was going to work, so if the casting didn't come out, I had backups.

Final ring photos later!
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