Something a little different for this morning lovely people – a feature written by a reader of ours, who goes by the name of Gabby Young. Have you ever wondered about making your own wedding rings? Gabby visited our Little Book For Brides member, The Quarter Workshop recently with her fiancé Stephen to do just that – we hope this feature might encourage some of you to do the same.
Hello I’m Gabby, you will find me either singing, sewing or blogging on livingonashoestring.net and I am very excited to be on Love My Dress to share with you a wedding experience like no other – making our own rings.
Myself and my fiancé are getting married the first Saturday of April this year and we are trying to do as much of it DIY as possible – partly because we both love crafts and being creative and partly, of course, because our dream venue is so darn expensive!
I am sewing up 7 bridesmaid dresses and together we are making many hot air balloon models, hundreds of paper flowers – and a giant book! So yes, we have lots to do, but we are the kind of people that enjoy being creative in all aspects of our wedding – not just the decorations and clothes – so when we were looking for wedding rings and nothing was quite right it didn’t take us long to start seeking out if we could actually make them.The Quarter Workshop. The Quarter Workshop site is inviting and the rings look personal, original and beautiful.
Stephen and I were sold and willing to travel 2hrs to Birmingham to see if we could actually pull off the idea of making our own rings in a few hours with absolutely no experience.
The moment we arrived on the first frozen morning of this late winter we felt at ease. Victoria Delany, who runs the workshops, is the perfect person to guide anyone through this experience- she is relaxed, generous and smiley but at all times confident, professional and extremely good at what she does. We knew we were in very good hands – which was good as we were feeling a little nervous on the drive from London – what if we completely fail and ruin a lovely piece of white gold?!
The workshop itself is perfect – a light, inspiring, stunning place with huge arched windows, well loved wooden work surfaces and beautiful tools. Oh and Victoria had decorated the place with gorgeous spring flowers everywhere -which we thought was a lovely touch that made it and even more special place to make our rings. Straight away we felt at home and were offered tea and biscuits while I found a hundred and one things to take pictures of…
Victoria and I had already been chatting away on email about our choices of materials and the type of rings we wanted so everything was all beautifully laid out and ready to go. I had chosen a thin 2mm D shaped band (curved) of 9ct white gold and Stephen had a 5mm flat band of 9ct white gold but luckily we had lots of copper and silver to practise on first!
So the actual ring making was amazing- it was relatively straight forward and Victoria kept it all very interesting, exciting and hands on – we were making our own copper mockups within the first few minutes and that gave us loads of confidence to move onto the silver and then eventually the gold!
I’m so pleased it was Stephen making my ring and not me as my band needed to be curved to fit around my gorgeous 30s engagement ring and he is much better at this sort of thing than me. My bending, even of the copper was…well… worrying. Stephen took to it extremely well.
While Stephen was bending the shape to fit with my engagement ring I had a slightly easier job of measuring Stephen’s ring finger with a small strip of paper and then cutting his gold band to size, in fact a bit smaller than size is better as I was going to be hammering it out at the end.
When we had got the hang of shaping the front of the rings it was time to move onto heating them up with a blow torch or annealing as it is called in the silversmith world – that bit that both of us found, maybe a little too, exciting! In order get to get the metal to bend into a circle you need to heat it up till it glows red and then you can hammer it into shape (after letting it cool down and have a ‘bath’ to wash off the oxide left from the flame)
Then- the best bit – hammering it until it becomes a ring which you do with a special soft hammer around a specific round ring mandrel – we both stopped half way through doing this to heat up the gold again and finish off shaping so it wouldn’t break.
This part was majorly exciting – seeing our rings appear before our very eyes…
Soon they were rings…
As our rings now had overlapping ends we were taught to cut through both layers to have a clean gap to solder together.
And then back to the blowtorch to melt the solder and seal the gap.
After a whole a load of filing down to smooth over the solder with different types of fine files and sandpaper – Stephen just had to polish up my ring using the proper industrial polishing machine that worked its magic on the sheen of the gold making it sparkle…
Then my beautiful wedding ring was done – and it fits so unbelievably well with my engagement ring – it’s flawless!
I honestly couldn’t be happier! I was so excited and overwhelmed that I nearly forgot that my work was not quite done as I had lots of hammering to do to get a beautiful texture on Stephen’s wedding ring.
I practised to find the right hammer (there was lots of choice, all providing different surface appearances) on copper and silver before I moved onto the real thing and hammered to my heart’s content, as strong is not a word I would use to describe myself physically, I’m lucky that Stephen went for a style that didn’t require hard hammering or a consistent pattern – just an all over soft hammered texture -which I was surprisingly good at achieving, which was definitely a relief to myself! Then we had to get it to actually fit Stephen’s finger…
So Victoria carefully sized it up on the ring sizing machine between more annealing to heat it up and get as much size as we could out of it. My heart was definitely beating a little faster as each time Stephen tried it on it was too small and you can go too far and break it when upsizing but luckily Victoria was a true pro and soon it fit perfectly! Phew!
We decided not to polish Stephen’s ring as the slightly duller sheen worked well with the design but Victoria did give it a gentle clean and it came out perfect!
We were done! 3 hours before neither of us had even been near a jewellery workshop and then we were beaming with pride as we had not just made each other a stunning ring but we had made our wedding rings. This is something we will cherish and remember forever.
A huge huge thank you to Victoria for such a special, unforgettable day and to Annabel and Love My Dress for enabling us to share this experience.
If you’re considering making your own wedding rings, then I’d urge you to get in touch with Victoria and her beautiful The Quarter Workshop. Victoria also creates bespoke rings and her own collection of wedding rings is stunning – if you’re not fussed about making the rings yourself, consider, then Victoria can make you something bespoke and unique.
Love and liquid gold,
The Quarterworkshop is a member of Little Book For Brides but this feature was written and volunteered independently by our reader Gabby Young.