Some of the most interesting metalsmithing techniques are the wide range of textures a jeweler can add to a finished piece. These finishes can transform the look and feel of your ring. A pristine, shiny polish creates a sense regality and tradition. Perhaps you're seeking a more rustic look? A hammered finish may be best for you. You can make this choice based on your aesthetic preferences alone, but another added quality of metal textures is that they wear differently. You can choose a finish based on how its long-term look will pair with your wearing habits.
Do you know which finish appeals to you best? Read on to find out more.
The classic look of shiny wedding band is a popular one for a reason. One of the most prized qualities of precious metals is their ability to polish to a mirror finish.
Creating a polished finish on a wedding band is achieved by using progressively finer abrasives on the surface of metal to remove all irregularities and scratches. The polishing compound used in the final steps of finishing buffs the metal surface to a reflective shine
You can find this polished finish on my Muir Bands.
Over time, a polished finished will pick up knicks and scratches in its surface and develop a worn patina. Many folks enjoy the character of this finish they earn over time. For those who don't, a jeweler can re-polish your ring back to a shiny lustre.
Matte finishes are popular with folks who prefer an understated look. There are many methods for creating a matte finish on jewelry, and they vary subtly in appearance and durability.
The smooth, silky finish of sandblasting is even and muted. It is the softest of the matte finishes and is most gentle on the surface of the metal. This finish can be applied on top of carved or textured surfaces for added dimension.
You can find this sandblasted finish on my Tam Bands
Sandblasting is a very surface level finish that is the quickest to shine up with wear. To keep this finish matte, expect to have your jeweler touch it up yearly.
The sweeping look of a brushed finish adds a little directional pattern to your piece.
You can find this brushed finish on my Diablo Bands.
Brushed finishes hold up better than sandblasted surfaces, but do require touching up over time to maintain their matte look. Many can be touched up at home using a dry 3M scotch brite pad.
This is a more aggressive matte finish whose surface resembles the look of stone. It is created by tiny pins repeatedly hitting the metal surface to make an all-over, even texture. This method leaves a deeper impression on the metal and therefore holds its finish best of all the matte finishes.
This stippled finish can be found on my Yosemite Bands.
Stippled surfaces hold up very well over the years and disguise scratches better than other matte finishes. If your ring is in need of a touch up, return it to the designer for a touch up using specialized tools.
Hammered finishes offer a rustic and organic feel to jewelry pieces. The character of each finish depends on the shape of the hammer used by the jeweler and the force of their hammer blows. In this way, hammered finishes will inevitably vary from jeweler to jeweler.
Hammered finishes are low maintenance since their surface cleverly disguises scratches and wear. The impressions are deep enough that they won't polish away over time.
Hammered bands using a long thin hammer face creates a striped pattern resembling tree bark.
This hammered pattern can be found on my Zion Bands.
The possibilities of carved textures are virtually endless. These can be created on the surface of the solid metal using files, drill bits and other forming tools, or sculpted into wax before a ring is cast.
The Mackinac Bands feature one of my unique carved surfaces.
Upkeep will vary from style to style, but carved textures generally hold up well over time since their designs are carved deep into the metal surface. Check with the designer of your jewelry to see if any special care.