We use both 24K Fairtrade Gold and recycled gold to make our designs with our own hands and tools.
These days, we are among very the very few jewelers who have the ability to fabricate rings using old world techiques. We actually make the majority of our Reflective Jewelry gold over silver and two tone gold rings entirely by hand.
Additionally, rings that are created from our customer's old gold and gems that do not require CAD drawings are also made in the same method illustrated below.
This means that the energy, love and devotion to craft excellent that our jewelers have developed over decades is actually infused in the process of making the ring itself.
Our customers can feel the difference and appreciate knowing that, even in the case of a classic comfort fit flat topped wedding band, each version is going to be slightly different.
We start with 24K gold and make our own wire and sheet from which we then fabricate our rings — working on cottonwood stump benches, using hand-forged anvils, hammers made of steel and cow horn, and a huge variety of tools we made ourselves. Based in Santa Fe, NM, where we learned to make jewelry, our techniques date back to the old-style artisanal methods of the Spanish Conquistadors.
This two minute video below takes you into our workshop and shows you some of the tools and techniques we employ.
So, here's the bottom line:
If you order a classic wedding band, or a gold/silver two tone ring, our jewelers will be making it in our Santa Fe workshop.
Below we’ve broken down this process into 11 steps. The end product is a gorgeous 4mm Flat Topped Classic Comfort Fit Wedding Band, pictured below and available for sale here.
1. We start out with 24K Fairtrade Gold, which is formed into small grains.
2. This is weighed out in the amount needed for ring.
3. The pure gold is mixed with an alloy, to make it either 14K or 18K and a particular color—such as white gold or rose gold.
4. Gold and alloy are then melted down with a torch.
5. Now, we have a round 18K gold nugget.
6. The next step is to roll out the nugget into a wire, using a rolling mill as shown.
7. Here’s what the gold looks like after its gone through the rolling mill. If we are making a ring that is a combination of gold and silver, we do the same process with the gold element in the ring.
With the silver elements, we purchase the wire or sheet in order to keep the costs down.
8. The wire is formed into a ring using hand tools.
9. The ring is shaped using a hammer and a mandrill. Though our jewelers make this look easy, it take alot of skill--particularly when we have to line up a complicated Celtic knot pattern so the join is bairly noticeable even when you look for it.
10. Then, we polish the gold ring on our polishing wheel. This is where we make the ring comfort fit. We also can add a matt, hammer or various other types of finishes on the surface of the ring.
11. And, this is what the ring looks like once it is off the wheel.
Curious what else our jewelers can do? Discover our Custom Jewelry here!
With over 80 years of combined bench experience in old-world artisan techniques, our jewelers are capable of anything and everything. We'll even use your old gold and gems to make new jewelry out of old. Learn more about how we can work together. We can definitely show you How to repurpose old jewelry to create a totally new design that you'll love!
Just get in touch here.
Marc Choyt is president of Reflective Jewelry, a designer jewelry company founded in 1995. He pioneered the ethical sourcing movement in North America and is also the only certified Fairtrade Gold jeweler in the United States. Choyt’s company was named Santa Fe New Mexico’s Green Business of the Year in 2019, and he has been honored with several awards for his efforts to support ethical jewelry. His ebook, Ethical Jewelry Exposé: Lies, Damn Lies and Conflict Free Diamonds, is available online. Choyt can be reached on Twitter at @Circlemanifesto or by email at marc(at)reflectivejewelry.com.