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Got It Made

This Is How a Diamond Ring Gets Made

Got It Made 03/17/2017

 

Here’s how Urte Tyalite of Stillhouse turns carbon into a diamond ring like this—one pencil sketch at a time.

 

 

Step One: Draw It Out

“Everything starts in my sketchbook. I show my work in two seasons, fall and spring, which means that I always have to be designing new pieces. Over time, I’ve gotten better at predicting what’s going to work and what’s not going to work, structurally. With the Lita ring, I really wanted to do something challenging and to hide the setting itself so it seems like the diamond is floating inside a circle.”

Small step one

Step Two: Go Digital

“After the drawing, I will make a 3-D CAD drawing to see if the piece has real potential and if it’s worth making in metal. I will also make little tweaks for a more precise and clean look.”

Small step two

Step Three: 3-D Print

“After the CAD drawing is done, I send it to a 3-D printer to get a master copy made in plastic. The company that makes them has print minimums, so I have to wait until I have a big enough batch of new tests to send them. Then I get back a plastic model, which I will use to make a mold.”

Small step three

Step Four: Cast and Polish

“A professional casting house makes the mold in wax and then casts the model in metal. I get a silver model made first to make sure everything is working before using more expensive materials like gold. The castings can come back pretty rough, so I polish them to make sure they looks really nice and smooth.”

Small step four

Step Five: Select Stones

“I have a few stone suppliers that I work with from the Jewelry District that I really trust. They work with just one diamond mine and one diamond-cutting house—and they travel to those diamond mines in person—so I know exactly where those stones are coming from. Since all of my work is so clean and precise, I have to be really specific about my diamond diameter. A 1.35 millimeter stone and a 1.45 millimeter stone are worlds apart.”

Small step five

Step Six: Get Set

“I work with an outside stone-setter to figure out if the actual piece can hold the diamond in place securely and whether it looks nice. It took us three takes to figure out the proportions for the Lita ring. I tend to make everything way too light and delicate, and my setter always wants me to make everything as heavy and sturdy as possible. The baguette diamond in the Lita is actually a little bit longer than the inside diameter of the circle, so the ends are inset. The entire job has to be done really, really cleanly so it looks seamless.”

Small step six

 All ready for a finger! (Yours??)

 

💍

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