How Every Trent West Piece Is Made

Melting

I start by melting 2 buttons of platinum on a specially chiseled high fired ceramic brick. The first button will be to use for a (20 mm 7/8″) diameter x (1.75 mm 1/8″) thick disc for making the top cone of the ring using approximately (50 DWT 2.5 OZ) of platinum. The second will be used for the shank section of the ring and this will start with approximately (80 DWT 4 OZ) of platinum to fabricate a (14 mm 1/2″) wide x (100mm 4″) long x (2.25mm 1/8″) thick plate. This process uses a highly specialized welding torch that uses propane gas and compressed oxygen. This torch can reach temperatures of over 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

First Platinum melting of beads
Melting platinum into button.

After laying the fresh new platinum beads and scrap platinum in the chiseled out area of the firebrick, the torch is applied from the outside edges into the center while being very careful not to blow the platinum beads away.
Once the melt is completed on the first side, then a steel chisel and hammer are used to dislodge the nearly molten platinum button from it’s melted spot on the brick and then turned over to be “washed smooth via a torch” on the other side.

While the washed platinum button is still red hot, I use steel pliers to transfer my button over to a steel anvil and hammer the button into the desired shape needed for the top of the ring. The (20 mm 7/8″) disc, the sheet of platinum that is at least (21 mm 7/8″) wide is rolled into a thickness of (1.75 mm 1/8″), then the plate is sawed into a round shape that renders a (20 mm 7/8″) diameter disc.

Torch washing platinum smooth.

Forging

Forging platinum bar prior to rolling.

The second larger piece of platinum is used for the shank section of the platinum ring. After melting the (80 DWT 4 OZ) button and washing, it is transferred red hot to the anvil for forging.

The already wide button (roughly 25 mm 1″ diameter) x approximately (7 mm 1/4″) thick and then held with pliers and forged while still red hot using a heavy dead blow hammer into a more rectangular shape that looks like the edges are smashed into the disc.

This rectangular shaped smashed button is then washed again, creating a more uniform looking approximately (22 mm 7/8″) wide rectangle, then forged again narrower into an approximately (18 mm 3/4″) wide rectangle and washed again and finally hammered again into an approximately (14 mm 1/2″) wide bar of platinum that is again washed smooth on the edges. At this point, the bar is rolled via my rolling mill into a final (2.25 mm 1/8″) thick plate of platinum. The plate is then annealed to make the metal malleable again.

Rolling platinum ingot into a bar

Assembly

Filing finger shape into platinum cone.

Start with the (20 mm 7/8″) disc to forge a cone and then scribe a graph layout on the cone with vertical and horizontal lines in 1 mm increments in order to achieve accurate segment markings on the cone to determine where to file the cone for the ring shape design. Then I saw the top off of the cone in order to mount it (via soldering) on a brass rod. This allows the cone to be inverted and filed with the radius shape of the finger size that was determined earlier as a size seven.

After carefully filing the finger radius, I will cut off the top of the cone with the brass mounting rod (which exposed the top of the inverted cone and the stone setting surface area).

Next is to fabricate the extra wide and thick platinum bar I just formed into a wide flat band. First I will take the roughly formed platinum flat bar and layout an exact rectangle of the (14 mm 1/2″) wide by 2.25 mm 1/8″) bar and saw off excess material and file into the exact dimensional shape.

Sawing ring shank top off before soldering.
Soldering top cone onto ring shank.
Filing platinum and 22K ring smooth.

This is done by calculating the needed length, based on the radius for a size 7 finger. Then I would form the bar into a circular shape and weld the platinum band into one piece and pound it round on a ring mandrel.

The cone is already formed and filed with the segment lines showing so now is the time to file the shank (band) into having a flat top section that fits below the platinum cone, this section is now about 70% of the originally formed wide band. After fitting the two parts, I will solder them together with very high temperature platinum solder.

Inlay

This ring is now one part that is very bulky and needs to be filed down to a slightly tapered shank. Then a series of lines are drawn out in permanent ink fine marker to denote where the 22K gold inlay will be in the platinum ring.

Pen layout of 22K inlay design pattern.
Fusing 22K gold inlay into platinum ring.

After laying out the inlay design, I will fuse the gold directly into the grooves in the platinum that were made with a saw. This is a very unique way of doing inlay as the one metal, 22K gold is melted into the platinum surface due to the fact that 22K gold melts at around 1,800 degrees and the platinum melts at 3,200 degrees.

Finishing

The bearing for the tungsten faceted stone needs to be carefully ground into the top on the cone for what I call a pre-fit seat. Then set the tungsten stone into the top of the ring using a hammering tool.

Setting tungsten gemstone into ring.
Sanding platinum bezel around gemstone.
Final Polishing of platinum and 22K ring.

Then a great deal of time is spent on finishing all of the surfaces of the ring (inside and out) being careful not to damage the Faceted Tungsten Stone, for this protection I will cover the stone with epoxy, which will be dissolved after the finishing of the ring is complete.

The Finished Faceted Tungsten Ring by Trent West.

The Finished Faceted Tungsten Ring by Trent West.