How to make gold rings: 9 stages of creating a masterpiece
Creating jewelry is a complex, responsible, but incredibly interesting process. To an uninitiated person, he seems akin to magic, because few of us know the stages of creating a masterpiece, and it seems that to make a subtle and refined piece of jewelry from an unremarkable bar of gold is real magic.
Meanwhile, the knowledge of how to make jewelry is not magic at all, but a real daily human feat, which consists of the theoretical knowledge of the master and his skillful hands. Only if you have never encountered the process of obtaining a ring of gold, it may seem to you that this is a dusty, calm work, saying, “don’t turn over the bags.” In fact, this is a complex and responsible profession, in which the master must be both bold and gentle, strong and delicate, creative and “scientific”. There is no other way. Only such is the way of birth of a real jewelry masterpiece.
The magic of ancient rings
Today, it seems, there is no more familiar jewelry than a ring. Most people wear it, regardless of age, gender, social status, style of dress. But in the old days, when they did not even know how to make jewelry, they already wanted to decorate themselves. Thus appears the first ring made … of grass. The fragility of this accessory made our ancestors look for options, and now the flexible branches of trees and shrubs have already replaced the grass.
Metal processing – a push in the development of the jewelry industry
And later (frankly, much later), our distant ancestors met with metal. Then they learned how to smel metal from ore. It is this skill that is considered the impetus for the flourishing of jewelry craftsmanship – practically in the form in which we imagine it. How to make jewelry, our ancestor understood exactly when he learned to work with metals. There were a lot of processing methods:
Interestingly, most of these methods are actively used by modern jewelers.
Historians of antiquity recall what tricks the goldsmiths used to make jewelry from precious metals. So, for example, because of the high cost of gold, jewelers tried to minimize its consumption for the manufacture of each item. The method they invented then seems very logical and is also used to this day. As you probably know, gold is a very ductile material. Therefore, by heating it, it was possible to achieve the transformation of a piece of rock into a thin sheet of foil. This foil masters pasted over base metals. The accessory looked gold in appearance, but it was really, as we would say now, gilded. That is, what jewelry is made of? From copper. What are they covered with? In gold. Very economical!
Foiling. Reminiscences of the Roman historian Pliny that the ancient jewelers had the power to “stretch” 30 g of gold to 750 square sheets of gold foil four fingers wide were preserved. The foil, of course, was terribly thin, but it was gold, and that is what matters most. To be honest, there was no creativity in this work. It was hard work, and it was performed by slaves, and the masters only looked to see if everything was going according to plan.
Amalgamation. From a modern point of view, amalgamation looks no less terrible process. This is another way to “get rich” surfaces, especially those with a large area. The beautiful word “amalgam” means gold moistened with mercury. Still remember that mercury is a toxic substance? So here. To cover the copper accessory with amalgam, it was sent to the furnace and heated. The mercury vapor evaporated, and the gold stuck to the copper surface. It sounds great if you forget about the poison that mercury vapor emits. Of course, the unfortunate workers did not receive milk for harm, but rather quickly died a painful death.
Golden wire. Another popular way that ancient jewelers made jewelry was the production of gold wire.
Ancient Egypt. When excavating tombs in ancient Egypt, a bracelet was found with a wire diameter of 0.3 mm. Can you imagine this thickness? If it’s weak, then here’s for you to compare: on average, human hair has exactly this thickness.
Mesopotamia. Similar beauties were found in Mesopotamia. So, the tomb of Queen Shubad is considered the most “precious” one. When archaeologists unearthed the burial, they discovered many jewelry made of gold and precious stones. Particular attention of scientists was attracted by the impressive headdress of the queen. In this massive construction, one could find a golden diadem, a wreath of leaves, rings and flowers (of course, also made of gold). The skill of the ancient Mesopotamian jewelers was amazing: the diameter of the wire from which the diadem was made barely reached the 0.3 mm you already knew. This wire was twisted into a spiral – the technique is just on the verge of science fiction, given that it was made about five thousand years ago.