Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

Engagement ring: Handmade vs Cast

Engagement ring: Handmade vs Cast from CAD

  • Handmade

    Votes: 8 57.1%
  • Cast

    Votes: 6 42.9%

  • Total voters
    14

LetLoveRule

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
267
As you might know, I'm in the process of designing my engagement ring. This is my first diamond ring and first designed piece of jewellery. I have seen both handmade and cast rings and know there are pro's and cons to both. I started the process thinking I want a handmade ring but as I'm learning more about the process of jewellery making, I'm curious - what do you prefer: handmade or cast (from CAD) and why?

Thanks for your input :D

(ps: sorry if this has been asked before, I couldn't find recent posts about this)
 

Sponsored By:

Related topics:

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
19,953
I want whatever is more aesthetically pleasing and can be more-flawlessly finished. Which, I’ve learnt the hard way, depends entirely on both design style and vendor preference.

Some vendors who handforge are able to achieve a more perfect finish than some vendors who cast.
Some vendors who cast are able to achieve a more perfect finish than some vendors who handforge.
A top-quality casting and a top-quality handforged piece can both be loupe-perfect. And you will pay (quite a bit) for both.

Some designs lend themselves well to casting because the most pleasing aesthetic isn’t “realistic” in terms of the way bits of wire and flats of sheeting and chunks of ingot might fit together. Trellises and wirework-heavy designs fall into this category for me - the most visually satisfying designs feature graduation of wire thickness. It’s certainly possible to carefully shave lengths of wire by hand... but I don’t want to imagine how much that would cost!

Pave is the opposite - the most delicate yet strong pave is achieved without casting. For pave styles that protect melee in channels (ie. bright cut) IMO it seems like this likely matters less.


If you’re in the process of choosing a vendor, look through their portfolios and choose a jeweller who has created pieces like yours before - perhaps not exactly your design, but pieces with design elements that yours will showcase. Then discuss methods of manufacture with that vendor - he or she will definitely have a preference/recommendation.

If you’ve already chosen a vendor, move forward with his or her recommendation, whatever it might be. Some vendors have strong preferences, others have benches that play in both spaces; all will advise based on the specifics of your design and your budget.
 
Last edited:

LLJsmom

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
9,192
I want whatever is more aesthetically pleasing and can be more-flawlessly finished. Which, I’ve learnt the hard way, depends entirely on both design style and vendor preference.

Some vendors who handforge are able to achieve a more perfect finish than some vendors who cast.
Some vendors who cast are able to achieve a more perfect finish than some vendors who handforge.
A top-quality casting and a top-quality handforged piece can both be loupe-perfect. And you will pay (quite a bit) for both.

Some designs lend themselves well to casting because the most pleasing aesthetic isn’t “realistic” in terms of the way bits of wire and flats of sheeting and chunks of ingot might fit together. Trellises and wirework-heavy designs fall into this category for me - the most visually satisfying designs feature graduation of wire thickness. It’s certainly possible to carefully shave lengths of wire by hand... but I don’t want to imagine how much that would cost!

Pave is the opposite - the most delicate yet strong pave is achieved without casting. For pave styles that protect melee in channels (ie. bright cut) IMO it seems like this likely matters less.


If you’re in the process of choosing a vendor, look through their portfolios and choose a jeweller who has created pieces like yours before - perhaps not exactly your design, but pieces with design elements that yours will showcase. Then discuss methods of manufacture with that vendor - he or she will definitely have a preference/recommendation.

If you’ve already chosen a vendor, move forward with his or her recommendation, whatever it might be. Some vendors have strong preferences, others have benches that play in both spaces; all will advise based on the specifics of your design and your budget.
@yssie , you said it all. You are awesome.
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
3,818
I'm a little surprised this thread hasn't garnered more attention.

I suspect the vast majority of people have taken a cast approach, simply due to economics. Like others, I really prefer and like the idea of handmade. And when you have a situation that deems it the most responsible and strongest method to build then I think it's worth the premium. If your design will lend itself to either method without ill effect and the bench you are talking to is capable of producing a high quality piece, regardless of the method, then it would make more sense to take the cost savings of the cheaper method.

Overall, I think @yssie really hit the nail on the head, and gave a great unbiased & informative post!

Just a side note, I've been looking for a guy's ring for myself. A highly recommended vendor here had one I was interested in that was handmade. Nothing terribly fancy. About 7mm wide, 14k white gold alloy (no plating), groove, some nice brushing and NO diamonds. Cost was around the $3k mark. While I would have been okay paying a slight premium for handmade vs cast, I just couldn't justify a price difference of around 3x so I had to pass.

I do hope you take the time to really talk and get some good quotes from various designers. I think part of the price difference is not just the hours and work that gets put into the ring, but also the brain and design aspect of the designer. You know I like DK and the work they do as they did my girl's ring. However, I think you get a different experience if you go with a VC, CvB or similar.
 

ClemsonPurdue

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
Messages
68
It's so crazy how similar what you are doing is to my process because I had this exact conversation with David yesterday on the phone. We didn't go into too much depth because I'm still focused on finding the diamond first. But I'm leaning towards cast ring but hand forged prongs. I like the more delicate beautiful prongs rather than the "beads" in the corners. Because I'm looking at a pretty streamlined setting, less intricate work than yours with the scrolling, the casting makes sense for me to save some money on the ring, but I love the option of the delicate beautiful prongs. Just saying that you could consider doing a combo, if like me, you want more delicate beautiful prongs.
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
162
It's so crazy how similar what you are doing is to my process because I had this exact conversation with David yesterday on the phone. We didn't go into too much depth because I'm still focused on finding the diamond first. But I'm leaning towards cast ring but hand forged prongs. I like the more delicate beautiful prongs rather than the "beads" in the corners. Because I'm looking at a pretty streamlined setting, less intricate work than yours with the scrolling, the casting makes sense for me to save some money on the ring, but I love the option of the delicate beautiful prongs. Just saying that you could consider doing a combo, if like me, you want more delicate beautiful prongs.
Being interested in the topic also as building a ring with BGD. So are you having David to cast the shank while hand forging the setting head for you?
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
162
I want whatever is more aesthetically pleasing and can be more-flawlessly finished. Which, I’ve learnt the hard way, depends entirely on both design style and vendor preference.

Some vendors who handforge are able to achieve a more perfect finish than some vendors who cast.
Some vendors who cast are able to achieve a more perfect finish than some vendors who handforge.
A top-quality casting and a top-quality handforged piece can both be loupe-perfect. And you will pay (quite a bit) for both.

Some designs lend themselves well to casting because the most pleasing aesthetic isn’t “realistic” in terms of the way bits of wire and flats of sheeting and chunks of ingot might fit together. Trellises and wirework-heavy designs fall into this category for me - the most visually satisfying designs feature graduation of wire thickness. It’s certainly possible to carefully shave lengths of wire by hand... but I don’t want to imagine how much that would cost!

Pave is the opposite - the most delicate yet strong pave is achieved without casting. For pave styles that protect melee in channels (ie. bright cut) IMO it seems like this likely matters less.


If you’re in the process of choosing a vendor, look through their portfolios and choose a jeweller who has created pieces like yours before - perhaps not exactly your design, but pieces with design elements that yours will showcase. Then discuss methods of manufacture with that vendor - he or she will definitely have a preference/recommendation.

If you’ve already chosen a vendor, move forward with his or her recommendation, whatever it might be. Some vendors have strong preferences, others have benches that play in both spaces; all will advise based on the specifics of your design and your budget.
I'm a little surprised this thread hasn't garnered more attention.

I suspect the vast majority of people have taken a cast approach, simply due to economics. Like others, I really prefer and like the idea of handmade. And when you have a situation that deems it the most responsible and strongest method to build then I think it's worth the premium. If your design will lend itself to either method without ill effect and the bench you are talking to is capable of producing a high quality piece, regardless of the method, then it would make more sense to take the cost savings of the cheaper method.

Overall, I think @yssie really hit the nail on the head, and gave a great unbiased & informative post!

Just a side note, I've been looking for a guy's ring for myself. A highly recommended vendor here had one I was interested in that was handmade. Nothing terribly fancy. About 7mm wide, 14k white gold alloy (no plating), groove, some nice brushing and NO diamonds. Cost was around the $3k mark. While I would have been okay paying a slight premium for handmade vs cast, I just couldn't justify a price difference of around 3x so I had to pass.

I do hope you take the time to really talk and get some good quotes from various designers. I think part of the price difference is not just the hours and work that gets put into the ring, but also the brain and design aspect of the designer. You know I like DK and the work they do as they did my girl's ring. However, I think you get a different experience if you go with a VC, CvB or similar.
Am I wrong to say that hand forged piece must be stronger than cast? Is it the same for all Jewel metals? Actually how the physical properties of the metal is altered? Would love to have more insight, sorry for asking.
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
162
In theory, hand forged should be stronger than cast.
Thanks. Do hope some experts could chime in & educate us by how much the hardness and strength of the material will be lowered. For example, I read from educational article here in PS that 950Pt/Ru is about 130HV 66000PSI, is these digits referring to alloy normally done / after cast / pressurised? I understand Not everyone will care or look into it, but may be some will, just like me in order to know how to achieve the most suitable way and material for something bling for their SO.
 

Victor Canera

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Oct 8, 2010
Messages
201
Hi Double E,

The PSI numbers give would have to be the metal in its natural state. In the context of jewelry, that would be the metal in a cast piece since the metal is not manipulated further.

Hand fabricated metal is more dense than metal in its natural state which does make it stronger than cast metal. I don’t have scientific figures to give you as to how much stronger it is. It’s pretty hard to deny for anybody that works with metal on a daily basis. Hand fabricated metal is shaped by exerting huge amount of pressure on the metal to conform it to shape with the help of heavy rolling mills, draw plates etc. Even after annealing the metal, the metal is still strong.

An extreme example would be something like this analogy: Imagine you’re working with dough and want to bake cookies. One cookie comes from the mixture of ingredients that created the dough. Another cookie is made by you squeezing the dough into a template that you then squeeze to fit. The dough is condensed into the template and would obviously be more dense vs. the natural state of the dough. This, in a more subtle way is what’s happening with metal.

This is one of many benefits of hand fabricated metal even with the absolute simplest designs.
 

Victor Canera

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Oct 8, 2010
Messages
201
Double E,

Since you seem to be technically inclined, I would recommend that you read up on this wikipedia article that explains rolling mills: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_(metalworking) The pertinent sub-section for jewelry would be found under “Cold Rolling”. They have some neat diagrams that explains what’s happening to the metal;
440px-Laminage_schema_gene.svg.png

They also have a tangible explanation as to the additional strength:

“Cold rolling occurs with the metal below its recrystallization temperature (usually at room temperature), which increases the strength via strain hardening up to 20%.” Source Wikipedia


Here’s a photo of my own rolling mill. There are a few brands that are available out there at the moment in the marketplace. This particular rolling mill weighs about 160lb but the magic happens between those round cylinders which can exert a huge amount of pressure, squeezing the metal to manipulate it as needed.
IMG_3639.jpg
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
162
Hi Double E,

The PSI numbers give would have to be the metal in its natural state. In the context of jewelry, that would be the metal in a cast piece since the metal is not manipulated further.

Hand fabricated metal is more dense than metal in its natural state which does make it stronger than cast metal. I don’t have scientific figures to give you as to how much stronger it is. It’s pretty hard to deny for anybody that works with metal on a daily basis. Hand fabricated metal is shaped by exerting huge amount of pressure on the metal to conform it to shape with the help of heavy rolling mills, draw plates etc. Even after annealing the metal, the metal is still strong.

An extreme example would be something like this analogy: Imagine you’re working with dough and want to bake cookies. One cookie comes from the mixture of ingredients that created the dough. Another cookie is made by you squeezing the dough into a template that you then squeeze to fit. The dough is condensed into the template and would obviously be more dense vs. the natural state of the dough. This, in a more subtle way is what’s happening with metal.

This is one of many benefits of hand fabricated metal even with the absolute simplest designs.
Nice to meet you Victor! I was searching old threads of similar topic in PS and keep finding many of your useful responses, and I am surprised and honoured you replied my post:)
Our Pt950 wedding bands are from a big Japanese company which is said to be forged and thus could be made quite thin, however was still found a bit soft, not sure if it's related to the alloy used as I don't know its metal combination. My wife's original Ering (in my profile) though is still fine after 2years daily wearing, and it's 18k white gold, interestingly it's bought from a different company but with the same Japan supplier, not sure same factory / manufacturer or not. And they are all quite match in the delicate Japanese style that we both like a lot.
These initially lead me to look into the metal aspect of rings and bands.
Though I am processing with another vendor, but I truly appreciate your passion and skills on your work as I read your posts, people's review on your rings and browsing on your website. My father is a Chinese painter so I can see how treasurable an one of a kind piece of work is.
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
162
Double E,

Since you seem to be technically inclined, I would recommend that you read up on this wikipedia article that explains rolling mills: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_(metalworking) The pertinent sub-section for jewelry would be found under “Cold Rolling”. They have some neat diagrams that explains what’s happening to the metal;
440px-Laminage_schema_gene.svg.png

They also have a tangible explanation as to the additional strength:

“Cold rolling occurs with the metal below its recrystallization temperature (usually at room temperature), which increases the strength via strain hardening up to 20%.” Source Wikipedia


Here’s a photo of my own rolling mill. There are a few brands that are available out there at the moment in the marketplace. This particular rolling mill weighs about 160lb but the magic happens between those round cylinders which can exert a huge amount of pressure, squeezing the metal to manipulate it as needed.
IMG_3639.jpg
The link is once again educational, I did also watch several videos on YouTube about similar process.
Another question for me is that will there be a bigger or smaller difference in strength between forged and cast rose gold / yellow gold, compared to platinum? As I am still deciding on whether to have a Color metal on my wife's new Ering with more contrast to the platinum wedding band. And I think this may also be some others question as well.
LetLoveRule, thanks for creating this thread btw~
 

Victor Canera

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Oct 8, 2010
Messages
201
The link is once again educational, I did also watch several videos on YouTube about similar process.
Another question for me is that will there be a bigger or smaller difference in strength between forged and cast rose gold / yellow gold, compared to platinum? As I am still deciding on whether to have a Color metal on my wife's new Ering with more contrast to the platinum wedding band. And I think this may also be some others question as well.
LetLoveRule, thanks for creating this thread btw~
The benefit of having a denser metal would apply across the board whether it be gold or platinum. Usually hand fabricated jewelry comes in platinum because of advantages with the construction of the piece and the characteristics of the metal like heat localization etc.

This is the reason why estate jewelry is still around after almost 100 years, because they were hand fabricated. True estate, antique pieces are actually of a very fine quality and they also benefit from having denser metal. If an items is older than 30 years old or so AND it's in platinum, it would have been hand fabricated or die-struck because the technology to cast platinum wasn't invented yet.

One other thing to keep in mind is that die struck jewelry can also be of a very high quality and also have dense metal.

Good luck to you!
 

Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
8,520
There really are no universal answers as to which is better.
That many estate pieces are hand forged is a lot of that is how they were made back then so that is what is going to be around.
My answer is it depends on the design and the person making it.
 

Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
8,520
Sledge:
My favorite for men's bands is cut from tubing then hand decorated and finished on a lathe or rotary table.
Second favorite is die struck, which is very common.
All Hand forged is next. $$$$
Last is cast.

Probably the best of all words is starting with a large plain die struck piece as a base and add the custom touches on to it.
 

Victor Canera

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Oct 8, 2010
Messages
201
There really are no universal answers as to which is better.
That many estate pieces are hand forged is a lot of that is how they were made back then so that is what is going to be around.
My answer is it depends on the design and the person making it.
I think that would be true if we were discussing the design of a piece @Karl_K.
The question here was which metal is stronger. From an empirical and scientific perspective though, it's a fact that hand fabricated and die-struck metal is stronger.
 

Victor Canera

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Oct 8, 2010
Messages
201
Sledge:
My favorite for men's bands is cut from tubing then hand decorated and finished on a lathe or rotary table.
Second favorite is die struck, which is very common.
All Hand forged is next. $$$$
Last is cast.

Probably the best of all words is starting with a large plain die struck piece as a base and add the custom touches on to it.
Most pieces especially engagement rings can not be machined on a lathe @Karl_K. If we were talking about a wedding band, then yes.
What you're referring to is how I fabricate wedding bands. The metal is fabricated into a circle and then finished on a fancy Swiss lathe.

I disagree with you that die-struck custom engagement rings are common. From my experience they are not. Most vendors would consider the manufacture of a die for each iteration of an engagement ring design to be cost prohibitive. If a real die-struck piece is sold, they would probably need to be marketed at a higher price point than a hand fabricated piece.
 
Last edited:

LetLoveRule

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
267
There really are no universal answers as to which is better.
That many estate pieces are hand forged is a lot of that is how they were made back then so that is what is going to be around.
My answer is it depends on the design and the person making it.
When I started the ER design process I didn't have filigree below the center stone and would have chosen a fully handmade ring. Since then I have changed my design and don't think that the best result will be achieved hand forged as it won't be as symmetrical (plus it'll be a lot more expensive). However, I'm not familiar with the ring making process like many others here are, so I started this thread to get some insight. I don't know if it'll be structurally as good as hand forged.

Thank you all for your input so far, it has been interesting reading it :D

My current design (although with some sort of girdle protection), more input welcome

View attachment 648455
 

Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
8,520
Most pieces especially engagement rings can not be machined on a lathe @Karl_K. If we were talking about a wedding band, then yes.
What you're referring to is how I fabricate wedding bands. The metal is fabricated into a circle and then finished on a fancy Swiss lathe.
Hey Victor,
I was talking about and said men's bands.
We dont disagree.
Swiss jewelers lathes are mega kewl!!
 

Victor Canera

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Oct 8, 2010
Messages
201
A lathe will absolutely give you better results for a wedding band than a cast version.

At the risk of this turning into a "boys with toys" thread, this is the Swiss toy I use for bands :) I can get within 0.01mm tolerances bands and other parts for rings using this.

VC-Lathe2.jpg
Next time you're in L.A. give me a holler @Karl_K :wavey:
 
Last edited:

Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
8,520
My current design (although with some sort of girdle protection), more input welcome

View attachment 648455
Hand made would be more delicate and refined looking in that design.
Cast would be bulkier and less refined. In that design there are areas that are hard to polish in a cast piece because you can not get to them.
 

Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
8,520
I respectfully disagree @Karl_K. I don't believe modern platinum pieces created today will last 100 years like true estate pieces have.
Cast is almost always heavier and thicker in similar designs so that takes some of the material advantage away.
That is assuming both are well made which is a big assumption.
But a huge difference is in how and when they are worn compares to the past.
My opinion is that on average people who wear diamonds are much harder on their rings than on average than in the days of the truly great estate pieces.
 

LetLoveRule

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
267
Hand made would be more delicate and refined looking in that design.
Cast would be bulkier and less refined. In that design there are areas that are hard to polish in a cast piece because you can not get to them.
That surprises me as I thought that cast is more refined and delicate with small filigree? Or do people say that because it's easier and less work than having it handmade? There is a big price difference, cast is much cheaper.
 

LetLoveRule

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
267
I'm leaning towards cast ring but hand forged prongs.
I didn't think of that option, thanks =)2 my first design (without the scrolls) wasn't actually that expensive to have handmade here in Australia. I don't know anything about the pricing in US but I didn't even think of a cast ring until I changed my design.
 

molecule

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 2, 2018
Messages
152
My current design (although with some sort of girdle protection), more input welcome

Have you confirmed to yourself that the yellow tint visible from the side does not bother you?
With such an open profile, I'd be concerned if you hadn't assessed that yet, especially comparing to the white metal that the ring is made out of.
 

Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
8,520
That surprises me as I thought that cast is more refined and delicate with small filigree?
Just the opposite.
A cast item will never be as crisp and sharp as the original wax then when polished to remove the casting marks it becomes even less crisp and sharp and there are always areas that can not be reached to get polished.
There is a lot more hand work that goes into a hand forged piece and labor is expensive.
Some makers will cast areas of the ring plain and add some details later to help the cast piece look more crisp.
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top