Stackable rings is really nothing but rings you can easily put on the same finger without them interfering too much with each other. Except from that they are rings :)
And that’s what I’ve been making for the past couple of days.
Stackable rings – similar – and different
When you’ve made 20 – 30 rings they all start to look very much the same. At least at the workbench. And especially if you make them stackable. Obviously you can make 3 mm wide rings different from each other by adding gems, engraving and other decorative details. Or as I’ve done with the ring in at the bottom of the stack in the photo above – give the ring a channel and add a silver chain to it.
These rings are not done yet and I will continue tomorrow. The top 4 rings needs more detail (I might leave one of them blank) and then I’ve got another 5 – 10 more to make. All of them should be easy to match with the rest since that’s what stackable rings are all about.
The ring at the bottom of the stack above was a bit wider than the others, so I gave it a channel in the middle and then added a silver ball chain. The chain was soldered together to a ring which was just big enough so I could put it on the ring blank and fit it into the channel. Then I used a ring enlarger to stretch the ring blank just a little bit bigger and in that way make it stay in the channel.
So no solder other than a tiny amount to get the ends meet on the chain.
Tomorrow I’m hoping I wake up with at least 10 fresh ideas of how to decorate the remaining rings I need to make. And if not, I will have to put them away for a while…or take a walk around the block. Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes :)
Pearls…and more pearls.
Most of my day is spent at the workbench, and most of the time I work with metals. However, since pearls is a personal favourite of mine I like to use them in my jewellery on occasion. It’s also a good excuse to get away from all the metal dust and stinky chemicals for a day or so ;)
This time I decided to make a couple of bracelets, and for a change I wanted to do more than just put beads on a thread. No matter how you make a necklace or a bracelet it will still take some time to do. The traditional necklace need knots between every pearl, which is a task that takes more time than threading the pearls themselves.
To weave like this is something that requires patience and focus. You need to know how many pearls and beads that is needed for the pattern you want to make, and the focus is needed simply because you have to count the beads the whole time or the pattern will be destroyed. If you miss one bead…even a small one…it will show right away.
You are using thread and needles that are about the same thickness as a human hair, and in my case I also had a furry assistant who was very willing to “help” :p
What I used for the bracelet in the first photo above was Swarovski pearls and Freshwater pearls. And of course seed beads in between that. The Freshwater pearls are on the side of the bracelet, which in the end made the edges a bit uneven. Which is fine :) These particular ones were potato pearls, which means that some of them are almost oval while others are a bit more round. None of them are perfectly round however.
The second bracelet was all Swarovski elements, including crystals, which made for more bling, but also for a more perfect shape. Both are made from the same pattern and both took about 4-5 hours each to make.
The next bracelet, which is a mix of Swarovski and Freshwater pearls, was made in the more traditional way. It’s got 4 strands and every strand is different. The clasp is made from scrap silver and this bracelet is not ready yet. The clasp needs to be hallmarked, so the pearls in the picture above are just attached temporarily to get an idea what it will look like.
Once the clasp is ready I hope I have decided if I should leave the strands the way they are now, or if I should redo them and add separators to make it look less messy. But that’s a later question :)
Yesterday I began to work on the final version of this ring that I posted the other day. It’s a bit like being on thin ice still since it’s so easy to make one simple mistake and it’s all ruined. A regular bezel setting you can usually repair and continue to work with if you make some small mistakes, but this is so vulnerable and there’s no way you can patch it up if it goes wrong.
The changes made in the design of this ring
This bit probably won’t make much sense unless you are a jewellery designer yourself. Just a fair warning :)
For technical reasons I’ve changed the design slightly. Also the making of the bezel itself was done in a different way than earlier. This time I cut the bezel in two pieces and soldered them together in the shape I needed instead of cutting out just one piece and solder it once. And it was both easier and more difficult at the same time. The less you need to solder, the better.
The engraving has changed slightly as well. Still stripes, but a bit tweaked.
The ring itself is 8 mm wide and the reason for this is the weight of the setting. While the bezel is a 0.4 mm stripe, it’s soldered onto a 1 mm thick Sterling silver sheet, so it’s quite heavy. To prevent the ring from rotating on the finger I made it wide.
It’s not really adjustable in the regular way, but I’ve made it easier to change the size of if necessary. So once this is out for sale I will add a choice of sizes to the listing and then change it to fit the customer once it’s sold.
The current size of it is an M (British size) or 6,5 (US size) or 17 mm. I so wish we could all agree about one way to measure rings ;)
It will take some time before you’ll see the final version of this ring since it needs to go into the Assay Office to get Hallmarked before it’s up for sale. The Abalone Shell won’t be fitted into the setting until after it’s been Hallmarked, but I will finish the engraving and polishing before it’s sent in of course.
Ring prototypes are usually carved in wax for the sake of not wasting silver (or gold). However, sometimes at least I think it’s necessary to make a prototype in metal since it’s impossible to know how the metal will respond to the shape if you make it in wax or just do a sketch.
So for this ring I used Sterling silver and the Abalone Shell that will be fitted into the final ring later.
The Making of this Ring Setting
When I first started this ring I knew I wanted to make a slanted bezel setting. The shape of the Abalone Shell is oval and it’s been shaped that way, so I wanted to give it a decorative setting to compensate the simplicity of the shell.
Personally I prefer Abalone shells that are in the shape nature gave them, but when I bought these shells I couldn’t find any that were less perfect in shape. So I bought a few round ones and 2 which were oval.
The difficulty to make a setting like the one above is the mathematics behind it. To get all the measurements right. The shell fit perfectly while I was making the setting itself, and once everything was soldered the setting was a little too big. Which is not good since a lack of silver in the bezel means that there’s nothing that will hold the gem.
In spite of that I decided to finish this as much as possible and make a note of how the hole in the middle of the bezel seemed to get larger once it was soldered and ready to set the shell.
There are some things that will change once I make the final version of this ring. One of them is the way the setting is attached to the ring. The ring itself is a very thin strip of silver in the prototype and that will be exchanged for a thicker silver ring later. And the thought is to attach the ring to the setting like I did on the ring in the photo above. That way the ring will also be adjustable.
Also, I’m not sure I will add any texture to the bezel in the final version. That depends a bit on what it looks like once it’s finished. The Abalone Shell itself is very decorative and if the setting looks good without it without looking too flat, I’ll probably leave that out
Hopefully I’ll make the final version of this ring in the upcoming week unless something else is happening. Commissions will always come first, so these designs are made when I have some time left.
Once it’s ready it’ll be posted both here, on my Facebook page, on Instagram and one Twitter…so it will be difficult to miss it :)
Hope your weekend is a good one :)
This silver kitty pendant was another shape that happened in the crucible while I was melting silver a while back. It was originally attached to the “Broken Heart” pendant and one of the pieces that I cut off. It was much later while I was gathering scrap silver from the workbench, that I found it and saw that it looked like a cat sitting down.
And since I’m a big fan of cats (my assistant is a black furry lady with four legs and a tail) I simply couldn’t throw this in with the other scrap.
So I made a small pendant from it instead :)
It’s quite fragile, but I will put it up in the store later today in any case if someone is interested :) A fair warning is to take good care of it though and I wouldn’t recommend that whomever is buying this would keep it on during the night.
Size is roughly about 150 mm high.
As of late I’ve spent a lot of time with the torch and the crucible, melting silver. There’s always a lot of small bits of silver left behind from every piece I make and since the price tag on silver is rather steep, I save most of it.
If possible I make jewellery from it, and as you already know it doesn’t necessarily have to be designs that I usually do.
Most Sundays I don’t work…but today I’ve made an exception and spent most of the day by the workbench.
In the photo above is what later became a pendant, and it’s nothing but small pieces of silver that was melted together. When it came out of the crucible it was discoloured in some places, so I did clean it up a bit before that photo was taken.
And this is the finished pendant.
It might not look like much difference, but it’s hours of cleaning, smoothing rough and sharp edges, polishing and finally give it some texture to give it back its roughness without destroying the shine.
Also, there’s a bail added in the back of course.
Abstract pendant – a step outside the comfort zone
I do enjoy making all the jewellery that comes off my workbench, but I have to admit that this is the kind that tickles my imagination and creativity the most. Under other circumstances I tend to enjoy design and art I can tell what it is…but sometimes the abstract is interesting as a change. The look of a pendant, or any kind of jewellery for that matter, will be appealing because it presents a bit of a challenge to interpret.
There are many angles and layers of metal, and the way it reflects the light will make it look different depending on the surroundings and from what direction it’s viewed.
Obviously I hope that others will find these designs as interesting as I do myself. It’s always a bit of a gamble when you step outside that safe area of what is familiar.
But as with everything else, you can’t win unless you place a bet.
Other posts with this subject:
Latest pendants and rings
Megatron Silver Pendant
Set in Art Deco Style
Jewellery Update In The Store
Interlocked rings is a technical challenge that I’ve wanted to sink my teeth in for some time now. And it’s more challenging than it seems…even the most simple shapes can be difficult to fit together.
When I started these rings yesterday I thought that a wave shape along the edges would be a great way to get started. It’s not very elaborate and it’s a shape that is consistent. With a bit of hindsight I’m not sure where that logic came from. Perhaps I was delusional at the time ;)
I always start with a sheet of silver when I make my rings. When the measurements are decided (width and the length I need from the sheet) I cut the silver with a piercing saw. If there’s any shape to the ring itself I use the saw to get a rough shape at first and then I file down the details. It’s time consuming work and includes a lot more steps than the two I just mentioned.
And I did the same thing with these rings. They had to be identical since they were made to interlock and fit together, however, when you do this by hand (including the sawing and the filing) it’s inevitable that along the way you end up with small differences. And although they might seem small to begin with, in the end they can make or brake a project like this.
At some point I also made a decision to engrave both rings and give them a pattern that continued the wave shape from the edges. Engraving requires a steady hand and a lot of time, and although I was at the workbench all day and most part of the evening yesterday, this could easily have been a two day job. The engraving looked ready until I took these photo’s of the rings. The metal that is polished is reflecting the light in a nice way and the rough area does make the shape of the rings more prominent.
The camera lens revealed scratches that I might be able to get rid of in the tumbler, but the parts that are engraved can’t be fixed that easily. So I will have to go back to the workbench later today and fix that bit.
And as I mentioned earlier, it was a lot more difficult to get these two rings to lock together properly. They fit together perfectly until I shaped them into rings…and since one of them is a bit smaller than the other it was probably a small miracle that they’ll lock together at all.
These will not be up for sale later even if I manage to improve them. They were made only for the sake of learning from my mistakes. But it was an interesting challenge and it gave me an idea what skills I need to improve and what I already can do. And being an optimist I believe that things can only get better from here :)
I read somewhere that when you’re into the trade of making handmade jewellery you have to understand that the end result can never be the same as if you would make the same kind of jewellery entirely in machines. In other words, you can never reach the same perfection that you’ll find in mass-produced jewellery.
And I’m still trying to come to terms with that bit.
I’m not a perfectionist but I’d like my jewellery to look the same in a photo as it does when you wear it. Since the visual appeal is what it’s all about it doesn’t matter much if these rings looks a lot better on the finger than through the camera lens…because a potential customer doesn’t know that. Especially when they have to rely on what they see on a photo or two.
So I’m trying to reach a quality that will please my camera more than anything that looks like mass-produced jewellery. And the camera lens is a harsh judge to please.
More on rings on this site:
Sterling silver Ring with Abalone Shell
Why does my finger turn green from my wedding band?
Patterned Sterling Silver Ring
Wedding bands are ready
My store here has been a bit neglected as of late, mainly because my awake hours are mainly spent at the workbench. So today I thought it was time to do an update.
There’s no lack of products to put up for sale, but because I don’t have my Sponsor’s Mark or the complete registration for Hallmarking yet, there are certain jewellery that will have to wait. The ring above was however listed today and can be found here.
These earrings were also listed and can be purchased over here.
More about jewellery Hallmarking
The rules for Hallmarking and how you are allowed to market jewellery that is not Hallmarked are very clear. Anything that has a metal weight of 7 grams or more must be Hallmarked in order to be described as Sterling silver (or any other precious metal). This is why some products in my store are described as Sterling silver, while others are not.
As soon as I get my Sponsor’s Mark (which is a stamp with my initials) and when I’m registered at the Assay Office I will put up more products. These are pieces that are too heavy to put up as Sterling silver without a Hallmark, and too expensive in raw material to sell as “silver coloured metal”.
I don’t know about you, but if I buy jewellery that claims to be made out of Sterling silver, gold or any other precious metal, I’d like it to be Hallmarked. It’s a traditional way to protect both buyer and seller in a lot of places. Although a lot of countries have their own rules regarding Hallmarking, a stamp inside a ring or on the back of a pair of earrings is usually valid for most of us no matter where we live. Besides, Assay Offices in different countries are members of International Association of Assay Offices, so they do know each others rules and communicate.
The pendant I posted the other day, which was inspired by Megatron from Transformers, became a set the other day. I’ve added a pair of earrings made in the same way as the pendant. This is a set that I can’t sell as Sterling silver since I currently have no way to get it Hallmarked. It’s too heavy (24 grams all together) to sell as “silver coloured metal” and I would lose too much money. So this is one of the products that will have to wait until the registration at the Assay Office is done.
On the bright side it means that there will always be something to put up in the store :)
A rough pendant in melted Sterling Silver and a Cubic zirconia.
This past week I haven’t spent much time at my workbench at all, but yesterday I put together this pendant. It was mainly made in the crucible while I was melting silver and after I cleaned it up and polished it a bit, I added a Cubic Zirconia.
The inspiration for this pendant came to me while I was watching “Transformers” the other day. It was the metal layers of Megatron that was the main inspiration, and instead of his glowing eyes I added the CZ, which is clear and colourless.
It was not without frustration I added the CZ, I might add. It’s tricky to add something that’s been shaped into a perfect circle to something so rough and unpredictable as melted silver. Especially if you want to make it look as if that CZ was there to begin with.
Took a lot of drilling and shaping – without disturbing the surrounding metal too much – and then add a couple of prongs that would hold the stone.
Rough Sterling silver pendant with a Cubic zirconia
When that was done I added a bail on the back of it and did some more polishing :)
I have to admit that although I enjoy to shape silver the regular way with a piercing saw and files…it’s something special to melt it down and shape it while it’s still soft and glowing hot. Sometimes the shape will happen all by itself while the metal is melting and sometimes you have to help it a bit…which is what I did with this. I simply poked it with tweezers until I had the texture I wanted.
It’s rough, it’s heavy and it’s of a size that is good enough for a long chain as well as a shorter chain.
This pendant will be available in the store next week along with some other items I haven’t had a chance to put up yet.
To a large extent I’ve neglected to update this blog lately and it’s not that I haven’t been busy. Most of my updates have ended up on my Facebook page and then I’ve been occupied with new projects and forgotten about this place.
So lets catch up a bit to see what happened.
Above is a pendant that I call “Broken Heart”. It was not even suppose to be a heart…or a pendant, to begin with. I was simply melting silver scrap when this took shape in the crucible. Well, the edges was a bit more messy, but the main shape was there. So I turned off the torch and cleaned it up.
It’s mainly short bits and pieces of Sterling silver 1 mm thread in that crucible since I usually melt metal by the size of the scrap. That way it’s faster to melt.
Added to this is a Freshwater Pearl in a Sterling silver setting and the bail at the top for the chain to go through.
There’s always a lot of scrap silver everywhere – on the bench, the floor and of course in the bowl where I collect the larger pieces. On occasion I’m on my knees on the floor and gather silver as well as gems that I’ve lost. This is something I always do before I vacuum – when I vacuum in here.
The small pendant above was also made from scrap, this time melted all the way and then shaped and polished. There’s also a 0.03ct diamond in the top corner, and the bail was tricky to make since it had to be as small as I could make it.
The feather earring in Sterling silver was a commission I had during our 2 week visit in Sweden about a month ago. And it was for one earring only. The instructions were to make a feather in Sterling silver in the kind of style that Native Americans used to have in jewellery, head-pieces etc. When I got started I realized that there are a lot of different kinds of feathers that could fit in to that description…however, the one I used is probably the most common one.
The size of the finished feather was measured to me with a pair of fingers, so with that in mind I made it about 20 mm high. Sometimes you have to be a bit flexible since it’s not always you have the possibility to get anything but a verbal description of a commission. And if the client really know what they want, it’s even more crucial to remember the details.
I’ve also made some new rings, some bolder than others. Above is one of them. I had a large red Jasper that I originally planned to put in a pendant, but instead it ended up in a bezel setting for a ring :) Lets say that if you don’t like flashy rings, this one is not for you.
Metal is Sterling silver as usual :D
And last but not least a ring in Sterling silver and 9ct yellow gold with a green Jade. This time I didn’t use a bezel setting for the gem, mainly because of the shape of this Jade.
The ring itself is almost 10 mm wide.
Today I’ve been working on a pair of cuff links in Sterling silver with a couple of Black Lace Agates. If I can solver some minor designer issues with them, they will be ready by tomorrow.