There are many finishes that can be applied to a piece of jewellery and it’s well worth taking a look at each of the finishes available to see if there is one that catches your eye, or perhaps works well with your design. One may assume that a polished ring is the only option available but there are several other finishes that are just as popular.
A satin finish offers a matte look. It takes away the high polished shine and tends to leave behind a much duller appearance. The finish can be applied in a similar way to a polished finish. The ring is pushed against a large coarse spinning disc, creating a very subtle scratching effect that sits just on the surface of the metal. As the application is very light, over time the satin finish will wear away, becoming less matte and shinier. This shiny effect will appear where the ring is worn most, usually around the back and on its setting, although it’s worth noting, the satin finish can easily be re-applied.
A great alternative to a satin finish would be the pinmop finish. This effect is also created by using a spinning disc, but instead has long thin almost needle like pieces of protruding metal that hit the ring very quickly at different angles. This application is much deeper and doesn’t just sit on the surface of the metal, which means the finish will usually last longer than a satin finish. Another great way a goldsmith can achieve this look is by using the tip of a drill head and dragging it along the surface of the ring. This leaves a rough sparkly texture that would be smoothed over so that it is comfortable when worn.
Both the satin finish and the pinmop finish offer a worn or ‘lived-in’ look, that a polished finish simply does not have. Although a polished ring at first does look incredibly shiny, it allows the wearer to give the ring its own life. The first few scratches will be very noticeable and over time they will blend into a dull shine. This can be compared to purchasing a brand new pair of white trainers-when you see the first few black marks it’s devastating! But eventually they fade and become less noticeable.
If you’re after a more obvious finish that really stands out, then the hammered finish is a great option. Despite having a unisex appearance, the finish is very popular for men’s wedding rings. A goldsmith can apply the hammered blows with a heavy or light force depending on the customer’s preference. A lightly hammered ring has subtle markings whereas a heavier blow will slightly distort the profile of the ring, giving an uneven appearance. Usually accompanied with a satin finish, a hammered ring can really bring a simple band to life and offers an alternative to the popular high polished wedding ring.
If you’re looking for a completely different finish, the woodgrain effect can really stand out. Applied with a saw blade, random lines are worked into the surface of the metal to achieve a unique finish. Or perhaps the ripple effect, this has a very organic appearance and a goldsmith would create this finish by digging out small areas of metal all around the ring to give an uneven surface. Both the woodgrain and ripple finish look great on plain bands and create an interesting focal point. If you’re after a slightly more feminine finish, the beaded effect has a beautifully delicate appearance. It is created by digging up tiny pieces of metal and after polishing certain angles really capture the light. This is a great way to add subtle detail to a delicate band.
Choosing the right finish can certainly bring life to a piece of jewellery and it’s important to understand that if a finish does become worn, it can easily be re-applied. Whether the finish is added to a plain band, or perhaps used within an intricate engagement ring design, combining textures and finishes can completely transform an item of jewellery and its design.