The Goldsmith's Blog

The Head and the Heart of Custom Rings

Kirsten Atmekjian - Thursday, October 26, 2017
Custom Ring

A customer's mother gave his wife two rings from deceased family members, with no other instruction or comment except "If you want them, they're yours". She politely accepted the rings, not knowing anything about their history or their former wearers. Those rings still sit, unused, untouched, and unloved, in his wife's jewellery box, as she ponders what to do with them.

Rings carry more emotional weight than most other pieces of jewellery. Engagement rings and wedding bands are among our customers' most cherished possessions. Sometimes the only tangible keepsake from a loved one is a ring. Fires and other natural disasters may destroy photographs and other mementos, but rings often endure, even when the loved one who gave the ring has gone.

It's truly an honour for us to work with so many people who trust us with their most precious pieces of jewellery. We're not just molding metal - we're helping re-shape lives. Many women and men who come to us bring rings from their earlier lives and ask us to help them create a new custom ring that represents their new beginning. We see their trepidation during the initial consultations. We work with them through the design, modelling, casting and finishing process. When they get to try on their new ring for the first time, it's often a very emotional event. There's often a lot of joy mixed with sadness and gratitude for what existed before. There's a reason we keep a box of tissues in our Design Studio!

While getting a new ring made from an old one can be a very emotional decision, there's a lot of logical reasons to do so. Recycling is better for our planet. That's especially true for precious metals, gems, pearls and other precious stones. Mining is a very resource-intensive activity. Previously-loved gold, silver, and other precious metals can be melted down, purified and re-cast into something new. This also helps keep down the expense. With gold currently sitting at almost $1300 USD per ounce, reusing what you have makes a lot of economic sense.

When you're ready to re-purpose an old piece of jewellery into something new, that reflects not only where you've been and who you are, but where you're going, come on in and see us. We'll be with you, each step of the way, while your new custom jewellery is crafted, and we'll be honoured to be there, sharing in your joy.

From Ephemeral to Timeless

Kirsten Atmekjian - Thursday, August 10, 2017
Grandfather Clocks made from Niagara Cherry Wood

The cherry blossom is often seen as a reminder of both the beauty and fragility of life. It's short-lived splendour has been an inspiration for centuries. In this way, the cherry blossom has become timeless.

Grandfather Clock CabinetsIn the world of jewellery and timepieces, we have our own versions of timelessness. For over 3 centuries, "grandfather clocks" have graced homes and businesses. They are properly called "longcase clocks" and originate from the designs of William Clement, a British clockmaker starting around the year 1680. The name "grandfather clock" comes from a popular song from 1876 called "My Grandfather's Clock", written by American songwriter Henry Clay Work. His song was inspired by the story of a longcase clock at The George Hotel in Yorkshire, England. After the death of the first owner, the clock no longer kept time accurately and after the death of the second owner, it stopped working completely.

At Steadmans, we continue to sell grandfather clocks. Their elegance and ornamentation make them sought after for their decorative value. There is only one company in North American that still manufactures handmade grandfather clocks using traditional methods. They're located in Toronto and they make one-of-a kind grandfather and mantel clocks for us.

Grandfather Clock Face - BrassWe are pleased to showcase this particular clock as the case is made using solid cherry wood which comes from Niagara. Because of our local climate and soil, Niagara produces some of the finest cherry wood in the world. Three coats of sealers and five coats of hand-rubbed lacquers are applied to the case to give the clock a very rich appearance and long lasting finish.

The clock's face is German made from solid brass. Each number is cut and applied separately. Inside, the clock's movement is German made, featuring 6 bronze bushings, milled ratchet wheels and an upgraded gearing system to extend the life expectancy of the clock. Three different melodies are available with the movement, as well as an optional silent mode. Taking over 40 hours to produce, this grandfather clock will last for many generations.

If you're looking to add some timeless beauty to your home, give us a call!

Natural Sapphires in Glorious Colours

Kirsten Atmekjian - Thursday, June 29, 2017
Sorbet Sapphires come in a variety of colours

Sapphires are gemstones formed from the mineral corundum. They're typically blue in colour. At least, that's what most people think when they think of a sapphire. Truth is, sapphires come in many different beautiful shades, including clear, gray, black, yellow, purple, orange, green and pink.

Take a look at the stones above. They're untreated sapphires. Their natural colours are beautiful and just like a blue sapphire, these extraordinary gemstones sparkle and shine.

These sapphires come from a Canadian company called Sorbet Sapphire. The founder, Justin Obert visited Bankok, Thailand in 2012. Bankok is widely considered to be the gemstone capital of the world. While there, he was astonished to learn that sapphires came in colours other than blue. He was even more shocked to discover the blue-ness of sapphires is something that usually has to be enhanced by interventions, including treatments with heat, chemicals and other procedures.

Justin was impressed with the beauty of untreated, natural sapphires and decided to bring them to the Canadian market. We agree that these are an excellent choice of gemstone and are pleased to be able to offer them to our customers.

Here are a few facts you may not know about sapphires:

  • Sapphires can not be red. Why? Because we call gemstones made of red corundum RUBIES :)
  • Queen Elizabeth's 65th year on the throne was marked by a SAPPHIRE jubilee
  • Sapphire is the birthstone for SEPTEMBER
  • The 45th wedding anniversary is called the SAPPHIRE anniversary
  • Diamonds are the hardest minerals, clocking in at 10 on the Mohs scale. Sapphires are the third hardest, ranking at 9. What is #2?

We are pleased to be offering Sorbet Sapphires. Like Justin, we think the beauty of natural, untreated sapphires make them an exceptional choice when you're considering a piece of custom jewellery. With all the colour and shape choices available, we're sure you'll find a Sorbet Sapphire that resonates with you. Come in and see these beautiful gemstones in person at 29 Front St. S., Thorold.

Is Your Jewellery Missing Stones?

Kirsten Atmekjian - Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Massive timekeeping devices just aren't the same when they're missing stones. Neither is your jewellery. As jewellery ages, the posts and claws that hold in gems can become brittle and damaged. If you have a ring, necklance, pendant or broach that has gemstones in it, we advise you have it inspected yearly. This is especially important for rings as they are more likely to be damaged just through daily living.

Check out our video of Ken using his new laser welder to repair a broken ring claw. The claw is what holds your ring's gems in place. When these are weak, damaged or broken, there's a chance you can lose your precious jewels.

Steadmans offers free jewellery inspections. We suggest you bring your jewellery in annually to make sure your gems are being held securely. We'll also do an ultrasonic and steam cleaning for you, so come on by the shop!

The Man Who Repairs the Hands of Time

Kirsten Atmekjian - Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Raymond Belanger

Have you met our new watchmaker Raymond Belanger? He's been a busy fellow since he started with us at Steadman Jewellers. It's for good reason though. Now that people know where to go for quality clock and watch repairs, he's turned into a bit of a superstar at the shop. We're worried he might get mobbed on the street, so we've kept his face concealed ;)

Raymond graduated from George Brown College's watch technician program waaay back in 1990. We know - he doesn't look that old. He has over 25 years of experience repairing antique and more modern clocks of all shapes and sizes. From mantle and wall clocks to the venerable, multi-generational grandfather clocks, Ray's worked on them all.

In addition to larger clocks, Ray's days are focused on repair and restoration of watches. While Ken, Kirsten and the rest of the Steadman staff are quite capable when it comes to strap replacement and repair and new watch battery installations, Ray's the guy we've called upon for years when we've had internal issues with mechanical watches. Have a Rolex or Omega sitting in a drawer because it's not been working for years? Bring it in and Ray will be happy to have a look at it.

Just give him a call (905-227-5412) to ask him about your cherished timepiece, or come into the store and meet him in person. A bonus: you'll be one of only a few who will recognize this talented artisan!

Ray and three Pequegnat wall clocks in for repair
Raymond Belanger with three rare Pequegnat wall clocks
brought in for repair.

An Engagement Ring With Secret Powers!

Kirsten Atmekjian - Friday, February 17, 2017
SuperFit Engagement Ring

Many people have fingers that are narrower than their knuckles. This could be hereditary, but could also be caused by an injury to the finger or arthritis. Whatever the cause, putting a ring on can be painful. And, once the ring's on, the ring itself will often spin around the finger with the stones facing down and the plain part of the band always at the top. That takes the joy out of wearing a ring.

Fortunately, there are options that can deal with this issue. One of the best we've found is a patented design called the Superfit from a company in Philadelphia. The Superfit is a shank (back part of the ring) which we can order in different karats of gold and in different widths so we can create a custom ring with secret powers!

If you look closely at the picture to the right, you'll see some lines near the midway point of the ring. While these lines are easy to see in an enlarged photo, they're hardly visible when you're wearing the ring. To create this custom engagement ring, we fused the Superfit shank with a custom designed face (the top side of the ring) to create a custom ring that opens wide around the finger. No more painful attempts at putting a ring on or taking it off.

What does this look like when it's open? Kind of like this.

The Superfit Engagement Ring - opened

As you can see, the Superfit shank lets the ring open up to make it easy to slip the ring onto a finger. To open the ring, you press the tip of a ballpoint pen or a similarly pointed object into a button on the shank. This allows the release of the lock. To close the shank, just press firmly until you hear it click into place. Once the band is closed securely, the shank is completely smooth and comfortable. This gives you a custom, tailored fit without having to sacrifice comfort or style.

If you have an existing ring that is giving you comfort issues, it may be possible to add the Superfit shank to your ring. Just give Ken a call (905-227-5412) and ask him about the possibilities. 

New from Nikki Lissoni

Kirsten Atmekjian - Friday, October 28, 2016

Nikki Lissoni necklace, pendant, coin combo

Nikki Lissoni is a European jewellery brand focused on providing women with high quality, affordable, interchangeable jewellery that allow women to embrace their inner strength and values.

How Nikki Lissoni pendants workWe carry the Nikki Lissoni line of necklaces, pendants and interchangeable coins. This unique system lets you customize your jewellery to reflect how you feel and what you want to show the world.

Nikki Lissoni silver friendship coinAll Nikki Lissoni jewellery is plated with a thick layer of gold, silver or rose gold. Using skin-friendly materials, all pieces are nickel-free. Coins, pendants, bracelets, charms and bangles may also include leather, semi-precious stones, pearls, mother of pearl and Swarovski Elements.

A special ceramic coating protects your jewellery against minor damage and tarnishing. All that’s needed for cleaning is a soft cotton cloth.

This is jewellery that you can change up depending on your outfit, how you feel, or who you'll be spending time with. Visiting mom? Change your pendant's coin to a "Love You Mom" model. Hanging with friends? Switch in the friendship coin. Need something with more sophistication? Swap in another coin. The sky's the limit!

Nikki Lissoni Show Me The Way coinNikki Lissoni Stardust CoinNikki Lissoni Vintage Love Coin

Where Does My Old Gold Go?

Kirsten Atmekjian - Monday, September 26, 2016

Old Jewellery, Gems & GoldWhen you've got broken jewellery, or an old piece that is repurposed into something new, what can be done with it?

In the jewellery world, there are the two Rs: Reuse and Recycle.

Precious metals have a monetary value based on their weight. If you have an old ring you no longer want, you can bring it to a jeweller and find out what grade the precious metal is and how much it's worth. For example, gold is graded by karats. 24 karat gold is pure gold. Then there are varying grades, the most common being 18, 14 and 10. Each of these lower grades has a percentage of other metals mixed in with the gold. How much? To find out simply divide the karate weight by 24. For 14 karat gold, it is 58.3% gold by weight. 

Gemstones are a slightly different matter. Over time, the facets on a gemstone can wear down. Instead of being crisp, the edges become rounded. If the gemstone is large enough, sometimes it can be re-cut or re-faced. This is a time-consuming process and it's generally not worth it for smaller stones.

If you've got some old jewellery you're not sure what to do with, come in and see us. We'll be happy to let you know the options available to you.

From Old to New - Eternity Diamond Ring

Kirsten Atmekjian - Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Tale of Two RingsYou're unique. You have your own taste, style, likes and dislikes. Jewellery is perhaps one of the most personal of style choices.

A customer came to us with a diamond and emerald ring she'd inherited. It wasn't a style she loved. She had a beautiful diamond ring in a classic style that she loved and wore all the time. Would it be possible to take the diamonds from the ring she'd inherited and turn her beloved ring into an eternity style band?

Ken had a look at both rings to see what they were like. The diamonds in the emerald ring were slightly smaller than the ones in her own ring. Still, Ken felt that it could be done.

To the right is the customer's diamond and emerald ring, being compared in size to the ring being updated. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves...

Into the wax we go!Our customer's existing ring had a band of diamonds straight across the top in a very classic style with a gold shank (back part of the ring). To convert the ring to an eternity style, the shank had to be cut off. The golden shank would be used to create the settings for the new portion of the ring.

Jewellers use carving wax to create one-of-a-kind pieces using the Lost Wax Casting method. When the wax model of the ring is complete, it is carefully sprued (adding one or more tubes to the model to pour molten metal through) covered in investment (a type of plaster) and cured in a kiln. This process burns off the wax, hence the name Lost Wax Casting. When the mold is cured, it's ready for the molten metal.

Our customer came in at this point to try her wax ring on for size. This was her favourite, beloved ring, and we'd essentially cut it in half. Ouch.

The original diamond and emerald ring.

It was probably a shock to see it like this. However, getting the sizing right wasn't an option.

Before the carving took place, Ken needed to remove the diamonds from the customer's existing ring. These are the diamonds that would be set into the new part of the ring. 

Next came the carving.

Each diamond required a new setting to be carved. These settings not only had to fit the new diamonds, but they also had to match the original settings while holding smaller diamonds. Furthermore, they also had to be the right size to that the ring would fit properly on our customer's finger. Not an easy feat!

The next picture shows the ring from various angles, focusing on the new settings for the diamonds that would be added soon.

Several views of the ring's settings

With an infinity style ring, sizing is tricky. Most rings have a shank made of solid gold. If the ring is a little small or large, the shank can be cut and gold taken away or added to change the size of the ring.

For this ring, the shank was removed, so the ability to re-size the ring was taken away. Each setting had to be just the right size and also had to match the settings from the original part of the ring.

Doing this work by hand takes time, patience, special tools and lots of  experience.

The next photo shows the ring with each setting carved out. The diamonds needed to be hand set into the settings and the whole piece evaluated for size, balance and overall esthetics. Once Ken was happy with the settings, the ring was prepared for the Lost Wax Casting.

Below is the finished custom-made infinity style ring. Our customer was thrilled with how it turned out! The new diamonds blend seamlessly alongside the originals, making beautiful use of the stones from the ring she inherited.

Inheriting a piece of jewellery that doesn't suit your personal sense of style can be challenging. Someone wanted you to have that heirloom piece. Transforming a piece of jewellery into something that brings you joy is what we do at Steadman Jewellers. Over the years we've created thousands of unique rings, pendants and other pieces of jewellery for our customers.

We invite you to drop in and see how we might be able to bring some more joy into your life.

Custom-made Diamond Eternity Style Ring

From Wax to Wonderful!

Kirsten Atmekjian - Thursday, July 21, 2016

This beautiful white and yellow gold ring was custom made for a customer who wanted something special to wear to her daughter's wedding.

Our customer came to us with an older ring with beautiful stones, so she and Ken worked together to create something unique.

The shank (back of the ring) is made of 14K yellow gold and the top is made of white gold. The creation process involved Ken hand-carving the main design of the ring from a solid block of wax. The wax version was used for the fitting, after which the mold was created and the metal poured. Once the main body of the ring was formed, Ken added hand-wrought flourishes around the gems for a unique touch.

You'll notice the ring is slightly square-shaped. This is both practical and stylish. The ring is more visually noticeable because of the shape, and it also doesn't spin as much as a round ring would.

The wedding went off without a hitch. We don't want to say that our customer's ring took the spotlight, but she says she gets so many compliments about it. She's thrilled with the result.

We're happy to have brought such joy to our customer with this custom ring. If you're looking for something truly unique, consider paying us a visit and see what we can create for you!

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