Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bench tip -sanding

I just stumbeled uppon this neat and very simple tip to create your own sanding sticks. Sure you can buy them, but I allways shrunk away from it because I just didn't find them worth the money, considering how quickly they would be used up. But here is a great and simple way to create your own:

I'm definitely going to dig out some sticks and start folding. Thank you Jewelry Magazine!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Completely stoned

Nope, not on any kind of pills, powder or weeds – stones are my drugs and today my latest purchase of rubies arrived. LOOK at them!!! This color, this deep luscious color is just amazing! AND I even managed to get a decent quality: Most are VS-SI, while the round pair is a VVS-VS. In the back I have to roughs of apr. the same high quality. They will be interesting to create something different with.

Of cause IF or Clear is what you’d aim for, but I have to say – it’s so easy to create a very convincing looking stone artificially and sell it for real, that I have started to prefer stones with a few flaws, which show that the stone is genuine and natural. And so these are, in my book, absolutely perfect :-)

Oh my… I had other plans for todays work in my workshop, but I have to scrap them. Must-make-something-with-rubies!
Hope to show you the result soon!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The offspring of two beloved designs

My customer had fallen in love with the Amazing Amethysts and the Silver Flames ring here:

Since she lives in my vicinity, she grabbed the opportunity to take a real life look at both and just couldn't decide. Luckily, both were too big, and so I suggested to her that I created her very own, special version. Together, we arrived at this drawing:

It is, as you can see, the general shape of the Silver Flames, but using the sister from the Amazing Amethysts (I bought them as a pair) – and adding a few golden balls. Here is the process:

I split the ring shank in two in one end and cut the other to a slender tail, before filing and curving the whole thing. Here the basic ring is done

The main stone is rather high and in spite of trying to make a bezel which was as low as possible, there was a danger of the whole design tilting. Hence I had to work quite consciousely with various levels for the other parts of the ring in order to outbalance the primadonna. When soldering, that is a challenge! The solution is trying to build various supports using bits of soldering mat. Here you can see how I piled up some pieces in order to solder the small tube setting in just the right hight.

After the first soldering, fitting two of the small tube settings and the main tapered bezel, I carried on to attaching the last tube setting and the balls, again supporting here and there and trying to make it all fit into one go. The less often you solder, the less risk of something re-opening that was supposed to stay closed is my philosophy. I prefer to avoid soft solder and even though I have extra soft solder, I have never used it. It's not as durable and reliant as the hard!

Well, this is what it looked like after all the soldering. Now for cleanup and polish before setting

And here is the final result. Please forgive the less good photos – they were quickly taken in my kitchen before handing it to my customer. It's allways slightly nerve wrecking to do that and allways a relief when they love it – as was the case this time too.

Phew ;-)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The wedding ring that was pimped into freedom

 My cousin is getting divorced.

She therefore has a surplus wedding band –made of 14 carat gold that she wanted me to change into a completely different non-marriage related one. A very simple and modern thing, with sharp edges and which used to hold a diamond. She lost that a while ago, so what I held in my hands, was the band itself with some kind of crevice across, where the diamond used to be fit. I realize, that I should have taken a before picture, so i can't show you that –doh! But it looked something like this one, though of cause with the crevice described above.

So, what to do? I decided to change it completely and started by filing off the edges, leaving the ring with a smooth curve, but now with structure. It was interesting to observe, how the apr. 3 mm wide band suddenly looked a lot thicker because of the edges being gone. Talk about some kind of optical illusion, changing the general look of the ring radically.

Then I cut the crevice a little wider and rounded, pushed the ring shank a little bit closer (very tough with 14 carat gold) and fitted a piece of thick-walled silver tube for a new setting.

I cut the seat for the black 3 mm sapphire that I had chosen for her instead of the lost diamond and filed the walls thin enough to be pushed over the stone.

Okay – she asked me to change it, and so I of cause changed it into something typical for me. In other words: It needed a curl! Fitting such a curl 3 dimensionally is a fiddly hassle, but I’m still loving it and so, here I’m ready to solder a silver curl on.

Of cause the name and date had to go, so off they went, but in spite of having pushed the ring shank a tad closer, I was afraid that the ring had gotten too big. Hence I added my stamp on a 0,3 mm sheet of silver, instead of stamping directly. I left the original makers stamp and the value (585)

And here is the end result:

She was luckily thrilled, very surprised at how different from the original it turned out and, this is the most wonderful part, loved how I had managed to capture her essence in it. She is right. This ring is much more how I see my beautiful cousin than the one she originally handed to me. This ring more than anything illustrates how wonderful her life is turning, now that it isn't a wedding ring anymore.
To freedom and future! :-)