A goldsmith can face a number of different challenges in their line of work; they may have to fix pieces of jewelry that appear, on the surface, to be beyond repair, for example. When metalworker Jordan got his hands on a mangled wedding ring, however, he did his best to restore it. And not only that, but he also documented every step of the intriguing process.
For many people, items of jewelry can hold a lot of personal importance. And whether those earrings or rings, say, are gifts or heirlooms handed down for generations, they often possess substantial sentimental value for their owners. With that said, then, any goldsmith attempting to work on such pieces really ought to know what they are doing.
Fortunately for those who put their trust in metalworker Jordan, though, the Vancouver, Washington-based man has plenty of experience in his chosen field. And, in fact, those years of honing his trade have led him to set up his own company Modern Goldsmith.
Naturally, Modern Goldsmith has its own website, too, at which potential customers can find out more about Jordan and his background in his chosen trade. And there Jordan has revealed that he had wanted to reach more people than just those local to Vancouver.
“Hi! I’m Jordan, the goldsmith and founder of this company,” the metalworker wrote on the Modern Goldsmith website. “Modern Goldsmith is the culmination of many years of skill-crafting and experience.” He added, however, “Rather than limit my work and scope to a single brick and mortar store, I’ve set out on a mission to be the goldsmith for people around the world!”
Jordan continued, “This means the start of many great relationships and a lot of stunning jewelry as well.” And as a means of showing just how eye-catching that jewelry really is, he also provided a link to the website’s portfolio page.
Jordan has posted close to 50 instances of his previous work on that page, in fact – among them examples of custom jewelry, engagement rings and repairs. Not only that, but he has also written up detailed reports for each of these cases. But such snapshots of his craft aren’t solely restricted to the Modern Goldsmith website.
Yes, Jordan has posted samples of his work on the company’s social media pages as well. And in the process, he may very well have boosted the number of followers of Modern Goldsmith’s Instagram account; as of March 2019, there are more than 3,000.
Plus, of course, social media offers Jordan a handy way in which to show off the fruits of his labor. And he did just that in March 2019, when he posted a photo of a stunning, bespoke two-carat moissanite ring. That image ultimately earned more than 150 likes on Instagram, too, as well as close to 50 likes on Facebook.
And although Jordan certainly demonstrates his talent through crafting one-off pieces, the same could probably be said with his work fixing broken items. On one occasion, for example, the goldsmith was tasked to repair a mangled wedding ring; before getting to work, however, he snapped a picture of the damaged band.
“I always welcome the chance to restore or remake a destroyed wedding ring,” Jordan added of the piece on Modern Goldsmith’s website. “There is something super fun about taking on a project like this.” But that wasn’t all the metalworker had to say on the matter.
“Many people wonder if a ring can be fixed after it has been smashed or sustained a lot of damage,” Jordan continued. “This post will detail the process of how to remake a destroyed piece of jewelry.” Still, the method he had originally intended to use wasn’t entirely successful.
As Jordan tried to open up the mangled ring, you see, a section of the piece of jewelry broke off. This unexpected development led him to come up with a new plan of action – and one, perhaps, that would prove a little more labor-intensive.
“My original plan was to just melt the ring down and roll it out, then bend it to a ring shape,” Jordan recalled on the company’s website. “This could have worked, but I wanted to create something seamless and perfect – something that was nearly identical to the original [piece].”
“I determined that due to the extensive damage the ring sustained, it would be best to cast a whole new ring using the existing materials,” Jordan added. And, of course, that new piece needed to bear some resemblance to the original.
With that in mind, then, Jordan had to work out “the exact dimensions” of the existing item of jewelry. He explained, however, “In this case, the destroyed ring had plenty of areas where I could measure the exact width and thickness of the ring. Once the measurements had been taken, the ring was redesigned.”
Then, Jordan related, he needed to decide what method he would use to create a wax model of the old ring. “Typically this can be done with CAD [computer-aided design] or by carving a wax by hand,” the metalworker continued. “I prefer CAD due to the exactness you can achieve.”
And from there, Jordan posted a picture of the wax model before sharing some alternative methods to get to that stage. “Whether you carve a ring model by hand, use a milling machine or print the jewelry model with a 3D printer, the final wax model should be ready for casting,” he explained.
However, at this stage, the wax model looked somewhat different to the envisioned ring, thanks to the inclusion of a “sprue” on the outer side. Nevertheless, Jordan revealed, this particular addition would ultimately play an important role.
“A sprue is attached to the ring that jets out from the surface,” Jordan wrote. “This will be used to attach the ring to a base or casting tree. The wax model is attached to a base – or ‘sprued up’ as is casting terminology. A wax pen is used to melt the wax and fuse the sprue and the ring model together.”
So, with the wax model ready to go, Jordan then went through the next step needed to recreate the band. In particular, he poured out some investment powder – which is used to cast several different metals – onto a scale. “This measurement will be used to fill the flask which holds the ring,” the goldsmith explained.
After achieving the required quantity of investment powder, Jordan subsequently poured the material into a black bowl and mixed in some water. The goldsmith also placed the wax replica at the bottom of a flask – making it ready for the next step.
And after that, Jordan proceeded to tip the investment powder and water mixture into the flask and over the model at the flask’s base. Then, though, a little patience was required, as the flask’s contents needed to dry out and harden over the next several hours.
“Once the investment has completely hardened, the rubber base is removed and the flask is put into the oven,” Jordan went on to explain on the Modern Goldsmith website. He added, “What happens next is called the ‘burnout cycle.’ During the burnout cycle, the temperature inside the oven ramps up in increments.”
“During this time, the wax ring model completely melts and burns out of the flask,” Jordan continued. “Any residual wax is emptied into the wax tray below the flask. [Then,] once the burnout cycle is complete, the flask is brought to casting temperature and is placed in a vacuum casting machine.”
So, with the contents of the flask ready to go, Jordan then grabbed the two broken pieces of the old ring and placed them inside his crucible. And, as it happens, the Modern Goldsmith founder decided to attach some additional material to the mangled band.
“To ensure the new cast is clean and free of defect, ‘fresh’ refined gold is added to the original destroyed ring,” Jordan explained. “It’s always a good idea to add at least 50 percent refined gold when doing a new casting with existing metal. A hot flame is [then] applied to the gold sitting in the crucible.”
And from there, Jordan detailed the next step of the process. “Once the gold melts to liquid form, it is then poured into the flask!” he continued. “Remember the wax model that used to be in the flask? Well, that was burned out, leaving a cavity in the investment for the gold to flow into!”
Some of the photos that Jordan provided, too, show the melted-down ring being tipped in the flask; the molten material is also seen sitting in the dried investment powder. But, of course, that didn’t mark the end of the goldsmith’s work on this particular item.
“Molten gold is poured into the flask, perfectly fills the void and assumes the shape of the original wax ring model,” Jordan wrote. “A bit of excess gold is needed to fill the sprue portion. The rest forms a ‘button.’ It’s always good to use a bit [of] extra metal when casting to ensure [that] the jewelry piece comes out as a complete cast.”
Then, with the casting complete, Jordan began to clean up the new ring – starting with the sprue. After grabbing a jeweler’s saw, he placed the band on top of a wooden block and proceeded to cut through the additional piece of metal.
At this stage, however, the recreated wedding band still lacked the polished finish of the old one. Jordan therefore started to smooth the jewelry out; and for this part of the job, he used an inside ring grinder, moving the tool around the piece.
“A fine sanding disc is used on the outside to smooth the gold and bring the casting out of its rough state,” Jordan explained of this process. He added, “A hand tool is used to bring the ring to a semi-polish before it goes to the polishing machine.”
In particular, Jordan continued, two separate tools were required to continue the process. “A lapidary is used to create nice crisp edges on the sides of the ring,” the goldsmith revealed. “The inside ring finger [then] creates a smooth and comfortable surface on the inside of the ring.”
And after that, all that was required was some buffing. “The final polishing wheel smooths out the entire piece and brings it to a high shine,” Jordan wrote alongside a picture of the tool in action. The work was done, then – and suffice to say, the new ring was a vast improvement.
Jordan seemed to be proud of the end product, too – as well he should be. “The completed ring!” he wrote on the Modern Goldsmith website, accompanied by a picture of the gleaming new piece of jewelry. “It’s always such a joy to take a destroyed wedding ring and make it new again.”
“It doesn’t matter if your ring is smashed, destroyed or broken,” Jordan added. “As long as it was made with precious metals such as gold, there’s always hope!” The new band garnered its fair share of fans, too, when it was unveiled in January 2019.
Indeed, a post about the finished ring ultimately earned more than 70 likes on Instagram. Several commenters hailed Jordan’s work, too. “So cool!” one Instagram user wrote in response to the update. “Loved seeing the step-by-step process [of creating the ring].”
Meanwhile, another poster said of Jordan, “You do such wonderful work, and I love reading your how-tos and journey of craftsmanship. You put a lot of heart and soul into each of your projects, no matter the complexity. I always love to see a true artisan work their magic.”
So, if you have a damaged wedding band in your possession, you shouldn’t worry, according to Jordan. “There are many ways to expertly repair jewelry,” he wrote on the Modern Goldsmith website. “Worst case scenario: stones and metal can be harvested and used to redesign or remake your ring.”