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Making Mokume Rings

Mokume Gane Ringmaking Process

At Andrew Nyce Designs, every ring has its own story. This is the story of your unique Mokume Gane ring.

All Mokume Gane rings are handcrafted with an attention to detail. The process used to create your unique, one-of-a-kind ring is complex.

We have tried to describe this process in an easy-to-understand manner. Contact us with any questions.

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One-on-One Consultation
What's in Stock
Forming the Mokume Gane Billet
Roll with It
Creating the Twist in the Twist pattern
Patterning
Shaping the Ring
Embraced Collection Rings
Meridian Collection Rings
Adding a Liner or Edges to Your Ring
Just the Right Size
Contours and Comfort
Finishing the Surface
Gemstones with Settings
Flush and Channel Set Diamonds
Direct to You
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One-on-One Consultation

The story begins with your initial inquiry to Andrew Nyce Designs about Mokume Gane rings and our subsequent conversation about the design of your ring. This one-on-one consultation may include deciding which ring design style, precious metal alloy combination, and possible Mokume Gane pattern variations best suit you and your personal sense of taste and style. As part of this discussion, ring design elements might be added to your ring, including, liners, edges, channels or gemstones. » top

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What’s in Stock

We first check to see if we have your selected precious metal alloy combination, in the form of a bonded, rolled Mokume Gane billet, in stock in our studio. If we do, your ring is created from this material. Skip to Roll with It.

If we do not, an order is placed for the specific alloy sheets that will be used for the color palette combination. Alloy sheets of varying thickness are purchased, including karat Gold, Sterling Silver, Palladium-enhanced Sterling Silver, Platinum and Palladium. We will bond these precious metal alloy sheets together in order to form your Mokume Gane billet. » top

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Forming the Mokume Gane Billet

temtp-systemThe precious metal alloy sheets are inspected and then cleaned in order to remove any dirt or grease. Then, the alloy sheets are stacked and placed in the cavity of a punch and die assembly that is made from high-temperature aircraft engine alloys. In turn, this assembly is placed between two other high-temperature alloy plates and is bolted together using 50 tons of pressure. This entire assembly is called the TEMTP system.

temtp-1 temtp-2 temtp-3 

The stacked alloy sheets are bonded by firing the TEMTP system in a kiln. First, the TEMTP system is placed in a stainless steel bag filled with charcoal which forms a protective atmosphere. The assembly is loaded into the kiln and heated to between 1375F and 1425F for 4 to 5 hours.

kiln

In most cases, The TEMTP assembly is allowed to cool overnight, but in some cases, the TEMTP is quenched immediately after firing in order to avoid the formation of undesirable brittle phases. The resulting bonded stack of alloy sheets is called a billet. » top

Glacial Mist Mokume Gane Billet
Maui Sunset Mokume Gane Billet
Taos Sunset Mokume Gane Billet
Glacial Mist billet Maui Sunset billet Taos Sunset billet


Mokume Gane billet – a diffusion-bonded stack of precious metal alloy sheets.
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Roll with It

Flat Mokume Gane BilletThe Mokume Gane billet is hot-forged at high temperatures and pressures using a proprietary process. When the billet has been flattened to half its original thickness, a portion is cut off with a jeweler’s saw. Then, the Mokume Gane rod is annealed and cold-rolled into a series of progressively smaller square cross-sections.

Rolling Mill

The final dimensions of the square cross-sections vary between 3.75mm and 5.5mm. Rods with a 3.75mm square cross-section are used to make Mokume Gane bands between 4mm and 5mm wide. Rods with a 5.5mm square cross-section are used to make Mokume Gane bands between 6mm and 8mm wide. The entire process that starts with flattening the billet requires 10 to 12 individual forging, annealing, and rolling operations until the final square cross-section achieved. » top

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Creating The Twist in The Twist Pattern

The Mokume Gane rod is twisted in a multi-step process. This process of twisting with annealing in between is repeated 4 to 8 times until the desired number of twists is achieved. Ultimately, the rod will have between 10 and 15 twists along its length. At this point, the rod is rolled into a square shape. Then, the rod is either hand-forged or pressed (using a hydraulic press under approximately 25 to 50 tons of pressure) in order to achieve the desired starting rectangular shape, width, and thickness. » top

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Patterning

The Mokume Gane rod is ready to be patterned through a metal removal process. We use high-speed steel burs attached to high-speed flex shaft driven by a permanent magnet motor. After the preliminary metal removal, the rod is again forged followed by additional metal removal. This process of metal removal and rolling with annealing in between is repeated 3 to 4 times until the desired pattern is achieved. » top

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Shaping the Ring

The patterned rectangular Mokume Gane rod is rolled to the final length and thickness. A flat ring blank is cut. The ends of the ring blank are brought together and soldered. » top

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Embraced Collection Rings

If you selected a channel for your Mokume Gane ring, a tube of Gold, Palladium-enhanced Sterling Silver, Platinum, or Palladium alloy with a wall thickness of between 0.75mm and 1mm and an overall width of 10mm to 12mm is used as the channel. The tube is placed inside the Mokume Gane band and soldered to it. The ends of the tube are forged around the Mokume Gane band to form the edges of the channel. The edges can be rounded to match the height of the domed profile of the Mokume Gane band. » top

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Meridian Collection Rings

If you selected an inlaid band for your Mokume Gane ring, a square wire of Gold, Palladium-enhanced Sterling Silver, Platinum, or Palladium alloy is used as the inlaid band. A narrow channel is formed along the centerline of the Mokume band using either hand tools or a mini lathe. Then, the square wire is fitted into to the channel and soldered in place. » top

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Adding a Liner or Edges to Your Ring

If you selected a liner for your Mokume Gane ring, a tube of Gold, Palladium-enhanced Sterling Silver, Platinum, or Palladium alloy with a wall thickness of between 0.75mm and 1mm is used as the liner. The tube is placed inside the Mokume Gane band and soldered to it.

If you selected edges for your Mokume Gane ring, two narrow rings of Gold, Platinum, or Palladium alloy between 0.75mm and 1mm wide are used. These rings are placed along the side of the Mokume Gane band and soldered to it. » top

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Just the Right Size

At this point, the resulting ring is still about one-half to two sizes too big. The ring is placed is a series of successively smaller tapered dies and compressed to your exact ring size. Compression of the metal hardens the ring and makes it more wear-resistant. » top

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Contours and Comfort

Preliminary finishing operations are performed in order to build in surface contours and comfort fits. We use a combination of hand tools, a bench top lathe and high speed abrasive and polishing equipment to accomplish this. » top

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Finishing the Surface

Then, the surfaces of your ring are finished by either etching the ring surface or by applying a matte finish using a Scotch Brite wheel.» top

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Gemstones with Settings

If you selected a diamond or other gemstone for your Mokume Gane ring, a setting of 14K or 18K Gold, Platinum, or Palladium is laser welded to the ring. The gemstone is set. Final finishing for the setting and weld area is performed.

Flush or Channel Set Diamonds and Other Gemstones

If you selected a flush set diamond or other gemstone for your Mokume Gane ring, a hole is drilled through the surface of the ring at the appropriate location. A setting tool is used to form a seat in the hole on which the gemstone will sit. The gemstone is placed in the hole and is pressed onto the seat. A special tool is used to move a small amount of metal over the top edge of the gemstone all the way around; this action sets the gemstone in place. As a final step, the edges of the hole are cleaned up. Multiple flush set gemstones can be placed on a ring.

If you selected channel set diamonds or other gemstones for your Mokume Gane ring, a groove on the surface of the ring using high-speed cutting tools. A seat is formed within the groove on which the gemstones will sit. Preliminary cleaning of the groove is performed to ensure uniformity. Then, the gemstones are set in the groove and pushed against the seat. A special tool is used to move a small amount of metal over the top edge of the gemstones; this action sets the gemstones in place. As a final step, the edges of the groove are cleaned up.» top

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Direct to You

The entire ring-making process takes place over a period of between 4 to 6 weeks. The final step in this process involves inspecting the completed ring, packaging it, and shipping it directly to you. » top

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