Dear Orchidians, I have been approached by a potential client who
wants a men’s wedding band made entirely from a hard stone such as
granite or jet (no metal). Has anyone ever done something like this
or have a source for this type of ring? I’ve suggested that they
have a ring made from a relatively softer stone such as marble that
could be banded by metal. But don’t know if they’ll go for it. Even
if I don’t feel confident/competent to make such a ring I’d like to
be able to help this couple out. We’ve all seen the jade rings at
gift shops but I have never seen anything like this outside of an
archaeological museum. Any experience or suggestions would be
greatly appriciated. Thanks. Bruce Raper
Bruce, I think your best bet would be to contact a local Rockhound
club and see if you can get one of the members to make it for you. Any
local Rock shop should be able to tell you how to contact the local
Both granite and jet will crumble very fast. Even the hard stones
like jade will break if they are knocked hard. It’s impracticable to
wear a stone ring as a permanent symbol - fine for fashion though.
Key West Florida 33040
I “make” rings often when drilling holes in sculpture bases using
diamond core drills. The main problem I see is getting the inside
hole the correct diameter as the core drills come in mm or inch
fractions. Could make it undersized and finish “sizing” with
diamond barrel burrs of some such. I have also seen stone rings at
gem and mineral shows, in agate, jade (traditional in China and
other far off lands) and from Mexico (in mostly but not exclusively
in alabaster or soap stone). I would go for Jade if your client
would as it is a very tough stone, patinas well with body contact
and age, is workable, not brittle or particularly soft and polishes
nicely (if done correctly).
We've all seen the jade rings at gift shops but I have never seen
anything like this
The reason for jade being readily available is because almost
anything else is very temporary. To wear Granite or Jet would
require a few dozen at a time and he will be a regular customer. You
can probably find lots at your local rock shop, I was getting from
$5 to $10 back in the late '70’s. Luckily almost any stone ring is
cheaper than Nephrite or Jadeite. I’ve seen carefully kept Brazilian
Agate rings that have lasted for several years. I have also
repolished a Jadeite ring that was over 200 years old.
Neither Granite or Jet would last very long as a cabochon nor would
they survive as inlay very long. How long a marriage is he planning?
Marriage is grand.
Divorce is many grand.
I’ve done it in jade (nephrite), and have another on the back burner
right now which is to be a ring (size 12) carved out of a single
quartz crystal. It is not difficult to do, but there are survival
issues. In day to day real world I can’t see the all-quartz ring as
having a very long life. The first hard knock in changing a tire or
putting up drywall should about do it. I have explained these to the
client but client wants it anyway.
For strength and long life (which you’d want particularly in a
wedding ring) I would definitely recommend jade. Granite being
composed of intergrown individual crystals, an accidental knock puts
it at risk. The structure of jade however consists of interfelted
mineral fibres, which gives it great toughness.
Rhodonite is similarly, albeit slightly less, tough. But it is pink,
which for a man’s wedding ring may raise eyebrows.
I came across a nice metaphysical justification for short-lifespan
rings recently, in this case for hematite rings which are a dime a
dozen in the trinket stores, and that is, that the ring absorbs all
your negative psychic energies into itself until it breaks and takes
them with it. Now that’s marketing!
Email me off-list if you’d like to go into more detail.
Tony there may be an exception. Nephrite, one of two materials
people commonly refer to as jade, is very tough. I used to made
rings of black nephrite. Not that I would recommend it, but I once
dropped a ring of nephrite about 2mm wide and 1.5mm thick on
concrete. It made a very sharp ping sound. I picked it up and it
In the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco are green nephrite bowls as
thin as paper.
For the original poser of this question jet is high class coal, very
Pietersite would be an excellent option . It is a rare quartz
variety stone, extremely durable and tough with lack of cleavage .
African Pietersite has a wide contrast of colors, and superb
chatoyancy. There is one mine in the world located above S. Africa
and one company offering the product world-wide. We currently offer
Pietersite rings in 2 different sizes.
Link to Pietersite rings with photograph:
jade ring bands (jadeite,not nephrite) are sold in large quantities
at the thai-burma border. jadeite is harder than nephrite, but
perhaps more brittle. i have had the opportunity to check out
hundreds of them, and i bought a dozen or so as a novel item, but
i’ve also seen one break in two while being tried on by another
customer. i actually bought them with the idea of cutting them into
3 or 4 sections and setting them around a metal band, because i
suspect that even the hardest of stones can be too brittle to handle
the stresses involved in everyday work. i’ve broken a few of my own
silver rings working as a commercial fisherman, and even though
that’s a bit extreme, it made me re-evaluate the durability of my
designs. a wedding band should (hopefully) last a lifetime. there
may be the perfect stone for just such a purpose, but it would
probably still be more likely to break than gold or silver when
lifting heavy things or doing manual labor. perhaps a less hard but
more “tough” stone (i think that’s the same as less “brittle”) would
be more durable. i don’t know. good luck. dd
I agree with Kelly that nephrite is pretty tough, there are good
examples of archers rings in many museums and I’ve owned one in green
nephrite for 20 years - but it’s the survivor of nine others!
Key West Florida 33040
I made a pair of bands many years ago from a black Wyoming jade.
This is as I recall, chloromelanite. This is jadite, not nephrite.
On thin edges, a very dark green is shown. The rings were tough and
strong. The slab from which these were cut is still here, showing a
very thin edge where the drill tube cut the outside rim with no sign
whatsoever of breakage.
The material is very suitable for bands, if you want black. Over
some time, the surface will abrade and scuff. This is tough, not as
hard as it is tough. From the Wyoming jades, I am not sure which
are jadeite, since most are nephrite. This particular material is
called a jadeite. It cuts well, polishes to a high shine with
diamond. Very nice stuff. Years have passed since I obtained the
material. I have not a clue if it is still out there or what prices
might be. This seems to have vanished as the wonderful apple green
jades of the past. Are these still available at reasonable prices? I
Thomas. professional jeweler.