Lord of the Titanium Rings

I was shooting the breeze with a fellow machine tool peddler and he threw out the comment that he had an inquiry from a Chassidic jeweler in Manhattan who was interested in buying a M32 Citizen to run titanium wedding bands.

This intrigued me because I had never heard of a wedding band made of such material, but he told me it was the hot new thing in jewelry.

“How much would it cost to make one?” I asked.

He said he had already priced it and figured a ring would cost $6 max for material, plus polishing costs. My capitalist bones started to vibrate.

“What do they sell for?”

“About $125 a copy in a jewelry store, maybe $80 on Amazon.com,” he said.

I checked further online and found cheap crap coming in from Asia for $25 per ring.

“This could be a great gig for a wholesale jeweler who could sell to independents. If you could make $50 a ring and sell 1,000 a month – pretty nice game to play before it gets too commoditized,” I said.

But maybe I am just whistling Dixie and jewelry should be left to the professionals.

So I’m going to throw it out to you, the machining pros, who read my stuff. Do you think a job shop could successfully infiltrate the esoteric insiders’ market to sell titanium wedding bands?

If so, how would you do it? Would you aim at the low end? Would you hire your daughter-in-law to approach jewelry mavens? Would you try to hit a home run with Costco?

Or would you stick to making something easy like a bone screw?

Question 1: Is making rings on a CNC Swiss a good idea?

Question 2: Would you buy a titanium wedding band on the Internet for $50?

SHARE THIS

Share this post

11 thoughts on “Lord of the Titanium Rings

  1. AvatarJACK FROST

    Sounds like a scam to me. Where is the market. Just this week there was a big dust up when Ms Fluke asked the people of the USA to pay for her sexual pleasures. Is a ring going to be given with each pack of condoms. This new generation is only going to buy what we older folk pay for. Maybe the ring indicates co habitation, the new marriage practice. Gosh! I hadn’t thought of same sex marriage. This could be big

     
  2. AvatarAnaymous

    Wedding bands are made my semi machinist. I say semi because the machine work is half the work. You got carbon and wood inlays. Internal engraving among other things.

    I’ll tell you a short story. Found a guy online through the tormach milling machine website found out he made wedding bands on him mill. I needed a wedding band at the time and he is in Atlanta, GA. Asked if I could come over (he only does online sales) went into this mansion and was sitting in his living room looking at rings. Finally found the one I liked and the courage to ask if I could see it being made. Well we went into his huge georiga basement ( I’m from florida) and he had cnc mill and lathe and 3 workers. Had a 2″ piece of stock material and a short program and in 10 minutes and 90 bucks later i had a ring. He also engraved on the inside and polished it up on the manual lathe. If he made 50 bucks for his time it’s good money.

    At the time I was just amazed I got my ring made on a mazak qt10 and not a Kay jewelry in the boring mall and I even did the ring shopping with my fiancé. Beat that you mall experience!

    Then again I was always told I was a rare breed.

     
  3. AvatarGreg Knight

    I don’t see where the CNC Swiss is particularly more adept at making jewelry than any CNC lathe…or any srew machine for that matter. In the New England area, particularly it seems Rhode Island and Connecticut, there were large numbers of old #00 Brownies making all sorts of jewelry, rings, earring, body jewelry, beads, etc. It was almost it’s own little industry back there. In the last decade or so, many of those companies have lost that business, likely to much cheaper overseas production (that’s what I hear).

    So, yes, if you have a market or the business model (great story from anonymous) why not make them on CNC Swiss?

     
  4. AvatarGARY GOINS

    First I would like ask Republican Jack Frost , ” where the hell are you coming from “. Question 1 was can you make rings on a Swiss CNC, you can make a ring on any lathe or mill if there’s a market for them. Questions 2, I wouldn’t buy one because I would then have to get married, been there done that.

     
  5. AvatarAu Pt Pd Chips

    Interesting article to say the least!

    I am employed by a company that produces wedding bands & bracelets. They have been in business over 100 years thanks to “Machinist”. You people would be amazed by the talent / skills used to produce high end jewelry and wedding bands. Not only do we use conventional equipment, we also use CNC lathes and CNC four / five axis mills.

    I have been a “Machinist” since 1984, started machining wedding bands in 1994 and I can tell you our product is second to none. It takes the combined effort of Engineers and “Machinist” to produce both low end product as well as the high end product.

    I have been pushing the powers that be to look at a CNC Swiss. We could take advantage of the gang tools in conjunction with live tooling, not to mention their speed & accuracy which in turn increases the quality, not “cheapen” the jewelry. With the right setup I can see running “Lights Out” as online orders stream in via website (another subject).
    Titanium wedding bands? Yeah we went down that road………waste of time. China can produce and sell each Ti band (basic C style) around $7.00 each. My question is, why would anyone present their loved one a wedding band of little to no intrinsic value?

    Think about this;
    Marriages may fail but the value of Gold will always outshine non-intrinsic metals….think about that when you want to pawn your Titanium wedding band.

     
  6. AvatarKim

    I wouldn’t pick it for a wedding band (I’ve already got one of platinum and a husband I plan on keeping), but I would buy one as another piece of jewelry to adorn one of my other fingers. When I’m shopping for jewelry I want something that looks nice and not turn my skin green. Just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it looks nice, and just because it doesn’t cost much doesn’t mean it has to look cheap.

     
    +2
  7. AvatarJim

    Swiss or lathe is fine, both work with automation/bar feeders. Some young couples start with Titanium because it is cheaper, buy more expensive later, some buy because they loose things, this way the treasured symbol of love is easily replaceable. We have made a few rings from Molybdenum, these are cool, we even have made some out of carbide, also cool, and as most of you know, they aint cheap!

     
  8. AvatarDan

    Swiss or whatever you have is fine. I have a friend who makes titanium and even tungsten carbide rings. He started out as a cutter grinder, made a ring out of carbide, someone liked it, he a a few more, then started wholesaling them to jewelers. He’s making a great living now just doing jewelery.

     

Comments are closed.