Making A Fairtrade Gold Wedding Ring By Hand In 11 Steps

Making A Fairtrade Gold Wedding Ring By Hand In 11 Steps

Author: Marc Choyt | Monday, May 23, 2022

We use both 24K Fairtrade Gold and recycled gold to make our designs with our own hands and tools. 



Looking to work with an awesome small artisan studio with excellent cred? Call us at our shop at 888-733-5238 or email info (at) for a FREE, no-pressure consultation.  —Marc Choyt, co-owner

We're proud of our five star reviews at Reflective Jewelry


These days, we are among the very few jewelers who have the ability to fabricate rings using old-world handmaking 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/CAM drawings are also made in the same method illustrated below.  

This means that the energy, love, and devotion to craft excellence that our jewelers have developed over decades is actually infused in the process of making the ring itself! You will be able to feel the difference — and, I'm sure — appreciate knowing that, even in the case of a classic comfort fit flat topped wedding band, each and every ring is going to be inherently unique.

We start with either your gold (from repurposed old jewelry) or our 24K gold. We make our own wire and sheet from which we then fabricate our rings — working on cottonwood stump benches, and using hand-forged anvils, hammers made of steel and cow horn, and a huge variety of tools we created ourselves. 

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, it will be made by one of our jewelers Santa Fe, NM — often using Southwestern fabrication techniques date back to the old-world style artisanal methods of the Spanish Conquistadors.  

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 just below and available for sale here.

A simple wedding band like this flat topped comfort fit wedding ring can be made by hand, using Fairtrade Gold, in our small Santa Fe studio.


1.   If we're making a ring from Fairtrade gold, we start with 24K Fairtrade Gold — which is formed into small grains. If we're making a ring from your material, we start out at Step 4: melting the gold to make an ingot.


When creating a Fairtrade Gold wedding ring by hand, the first step is to weigh out the 24K gold grain to be used in the ring.


2. The gold is weighed out in the amount needed for your ring:


24K Fairtrade Gold grain being weighed out before it is formed into a wedding ring.


3. The 24K (pure) gold is mixed with an alloy to create either 14K or 18K and a particular color — such as white gold or rose gold:


24K gold must be alloyed before it is formed into a ring. Here, proper alloy is added to create an 18K yellow gold ring.


4. Gold and alloy are then melted down with a torch:


Once properly weighed out, gold and alloy are melted together in the beginning stages of creating a wedding band by hand.


5. Now, we have a round gold nugget:


Here, the gold and alloy have been melted down and formed into an ingot—shown here red-hot.


6. The next step is to roll out the nugget into a wire, using a rolling mill as shown:


This rolling mill takes the gold ingot shown in the picture above and transforms it into gold wire.


7. Below is what the gold looks like after it's gone through the rolling mill. This process may look easy, but it's not — just ask our apprentice jeweler! It takes a lot of practice to make wire that is the exact right width and thickness for your ring. 

If we are making a ring that is a combination of gold and silver (typically a gold design over a silver band), we go through the same process with the gold element of the ring. (FYI: with the silver elements, we purchase recycled silver to keep costs down.) 


This gold wire is what emerges from the rolling mill shown in the picture above.


8. The wire is formed into a ring using hand tools:


Once the gold wire is formed, it is shaped using hand tools into a simple wedding ring shape!


9. The ring is shaped using a hammer and a mandrel. Though our jewelers make this look easy, again, it is not — particularly when we have to line up a complicated knot pattern so the joint is barely noticeable even when you look for it.


After a basic ring is formed, a hammer and mandrill are used to further shape the Fairtrade Gold wedding band.


10. Next, we polish the gold ring on our polishing wheel. This step is where your ring becomes "comfort fit" —  which essentially means that the underside of the ring is curved away from your ring, to reduce friction. We also can add a matte, hammered, or various other types of finishes on the surface of the ring:


After the ring is hammered into shape, it is polished on our polishing wheel.


11. And finally, this is what the ring looks like once it is off the wheel:


Here, the beautiful end product—an 18K Fairtrade Gold comfort fit wedding band!


[Curious what else our jewelers can do? Discover our Custom Jewelry here!]


Next Steps for Your Handmade Repurposed Gold or Fairtrade Gold Wedding

With over 80 years of combined bench experience in old-world artisan techniques, our jewelers are capable of anything and everything. We'll even reuse your old or inherited gold and gems to make new jewelry out of old

If you’re ready to order a handmade wedding ring, or have any questions, I'm here to help! Browse our website, stop by our gallery in Santa Fe NM, call 888-733-5238, or email me at info (at) If what you really want is a custom gold ring, I’ll be happy to answer all your questions with absolutely no obligation. You can find more info here — but get in touch, and we can set up a phone or Zoom consultation.

Happy shopping!


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. Reflective Jewelry 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. Marc can be reached by email at marc(at)

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Comments ( 6)

Posted by: chris parkhurst on Jun 02, 2019
Hello, I would like to have a pair of wedding rings crafted from gold that I would supply. Could someone please contact me to discuss the possibilities? Thx in advance, Chris Parkhurst
Posted by: Marc Choyt on Jun 11, 2019
Hi Chris, The best thing would be for you to contact us directly at 888-733-5238 or email info(AT) That's the easiest way. Thanks!
Posted by: Judy katz on Dec 05, 2020
Can this design be made in a square ring rather than round?
Posted by: Marc Choyt on Dec 05, 2020
Hi Judy, We can certainly do this. Please contact us with details of how many mm you'd like the square to be.
Posted by: Thomas Kelly on Feb 05, 2022
I would like to get a ring sizer
Posted by: Marc Choyt on Feb 05, 2022
Hi Thomas, We can certainly send you one for free. Just contact us at any of the emails on this site with your address and we'll get one off to you!

Only Fairtrade Gold Jeweler in the USA 
since 2015

Santa Fe, NM Green Business of the Year

Catalyzing the Ethical Jewelry Movement

Winner of MJSA Responsibly Sourced Design Challenge

Founder of First-Ever Ethical Jewelry Blog

Collaborators of USAID Zahabu Safi (Clean Gold) Project