First I carve or fabricate the piece in wax. Then I make a plaster mold contained in a steel casing (called a flask) around it so I can melt out the wax creating a negative form. From there, I heat up the flask and melt metal into its liquid form. At the right point, I shoot it into the flask using a centrifuge that spins around and forces the metal into the negative form inside the plaster. In this post, you can see the blue wax of the wedding band in the first picture. The next image is of the engagement ring just out of the centrifuge. The large bar across the ring is called a sprue. It's the way that the liquid metal funnels itself into the form that I carved.
Once it's cast, I cut off the sprue, polish and set the stone to finish the piece as seen in the third picture. And voila! Your engagement is official!
In this series, I used the the diamond from my customer's grandmother's ring. They really wanted to keep the imperfections of the process in the piece to exhibit the organic nature. I also fabricated the wedding ring at the same time so that they would fit together perfectly. I have a few more months to finish that one...stay tuned:)