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Crafting a Ruffs Ring

 

If you have a minute, let's take you briefly through the process...

 

Casting

A Ruffs signet ring takes around four weeks to craft. Every ring is cast individually and tailor-made for each customer. 'Casting' refers to the method of creating our rings, either from new gold or making use of a customer's old, perhaps sentimental, gold. This method involves pouring molten gold into a mould unique to each ring.

We cast each piece because it allows us to have complete control over the size, shape and weight of a given ring. This contrasts to the method of stamping out a ring from a sheet of metal and joined at the band. Many ring makers choose this method. It often produces a thinner ring and is beholden to the individual dies a manufacturer holds. We have evolved and perfected this method over a quarter of a century and feel this gives the best possible result - a ring of equal substance and elegance.

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Hallmarking

Every ring we make has to be hallmarked - by law. This is a valuable add-on in my opinion because not only is it a guarantee that we have made exactly what we say we are going to make but it is also a record for posterity.

There are five marks inside our signet rings: CNAR is our maker’s mark for Cyril Norman Aubery Ruff. Next, a stylised Rose that represents the Sheffield Assay Office, where all of our work is sent. Then two symbols - an Imperial Crown and either 375, 585, 750 or 916 - indicating 9ct, 14ct, 18ct or 22ct gold respectively; and finally a date-letter which is letter representing the year. This year, 2018 is an "s". Making the model, casting and hallmarking will take two weeks.

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Engraving

Customers can choose to have their rings seal-engraved (in the negative) or carved for show (in the positive) with a crest; or surface-engraved with initials. In the third week the ring is engraved by one of our highly skilled engravers. Like us, they are small, family run businesses focused solely on engraving and we have partnered with them for over two generations. All our rings are engraved by hand using traditional methods which are centuries old. The apprenticeship required to engrave at this level takes five years and ten years for stone engraving. 

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Final stage

Each signet ring we make comes with its own unique wax impression. This is a carefully taken impression of that particular ring and shows quite clearly the quality of the engraving: the proof of the pudding. It is an attractive addition to the product and some customers have even gone so far as to have the wax framed and present it as a work of art in its own right. Coupled with a pencil sketch of the crest that we make from time to time, this makes for a very smart wall-hanging.