Category Archives: Course Work

Sterling Silver Skull Money Clip

Sterling Silver Skull Money Clip

Sterling Silver Skull Money Clip

Not everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but waaaay back when I was doing a casting workshop as part of my silversmithing training, my husband requested a skull.

Sterling Silver Skull Money Clip

I carved this one out of wax, and after the casting process, it lived on my bench for a couple of years. Finally, I cleaned it up, and thought about what piece to create with it for the minimalist man who has everything!

Sterling Silver Skull Money Clip

A money clip was the answer. This is the only piece I have ever made my husband, and it was a long time coming – but I think he found it worth the wait. This is a one-of-a-kind piece – not only because I made it for a loved one, but because I don’t have the specialist equipment required to do casting. The perfect gift for a metal-loving guitar player!

Sterling Silver and Garnet Crown Set Ring

The very last piece that I made in my training course last year was this sterling silver and garnet crown set ring.

Garnet Crown Set Sterling Silver Ring 1

It’s a bit of a departure from my normal style, but I like it!

Garnet Crown Set Sterling Silver Ring 2

I specifically chose a garnet because my lovely sister who lives on the other side of the world has just turned 50, and she likes garnets.

Garnet Crown Set Sterling Silver Ring 3

 

Happiest of birthdays, dearest! xxx

Grey Moonstone and Sterling Silver Dome Lidded Ring

Grey Moonstone Dome Lidded Ring

The culmination of our year’s worth of Silversmith training was a weekend session in which we were expected to create a complex piece which we had previously designed.  We had to hand in a rendering, an art drawing, a technical drawing with notes and a set of procedural notes before creating the piece over the space of 15 hours.

Grey Moonstone and Sterling Silver Dome Lidded Ring

I designed this dome lidded ring featuring a grey cat’s eye moonstone cabochon, which can be worn either with the lid on or off.  I received a mark of 92.2% for this piece.  I’m pleased with it!

Grey Moonstone and Sterling Silver Dome Lidded Ring

Seaglass and Sterling Silver Cuttlefish Cast Pendant

Cuttlefish Casting and Seaglass Pendant

I finally finished making a pendant from the last piece of cuttlefish casting I had from our casting workshop earlier this year.

Seaglass and Sterling Silver Cuttlefish Cast Pendant

It’s a bit of a departure from my usual style, but the casting just seemed to need some softness with it!

Seaglass and Sterling Silver Cuttlefish Cast Pendant

My teacher gave me a couple of suggestions for how to finish it off – thanks Sue!  I love the nature of silversmithing, there’s always some new way to look at things and something new to be learned!!

Seaglass and Sterling Silver Cuttlefish Cast Pendant

I’m keeping this piece for myself!

 

Sterling silver and titanium chenier hinge pendant set with blue quartz

The brief for our seventh project for the course I’m doing this year was to create a piece using chenier hinge as a feature rather than a function.  (Chenier is hollow tubing, in case you weren’t sure!)

Titanium, Blue Quartz and Sterling Silver Pendant

I designed this pendant so that it could be worn both horizontally and vertically.  The six plates rotate around a centre rod. There were a few challenging moments to my usual sadly limited patience during the construction of this piece. Titanium is an interesting but hard metal to work with.. physically hard rather than mentally!  It’s a dull grey colour, and very hard to cut, file and especially drill.  The gorgeous colour is achieved by heating very carefully, so it has to be riveted on rather than soldered.  I added the titanium mainly because I fell in love with the blue quartz bullet stones!!

Titanium, Blue Quartz and Sterling Silver Pendant 2

Once in a while, my fellow students and I agree, you make something that has many challenging stages in it, and many learning experiences. By the end of the process you are pretty over it – so you pop the piece away for a while, and when eventually you bring it out once more, it usually is much more pleasing than you remember!  This is one of these pieces! 🙂

Cuttlefish Casting

As part of the goldmithing course I did in 2012 I attended a weekend casting workshop. We did some lost wax casting (more on that later), and also some cuttlefish casting. Yes, really using cuttlefish! Or more correctly, their little (or not so little) cuttlebones.  I hasten to add no actual cuttlefish were harmed in the making of this jewellery – their life expectancy is around one to two years, they die soon after mating, and you can quite often find their cuttlebones washed up on the beach.

Giant Australian Cuttlefish

The procedure for cuttlefish casting is to cut the ends off the cuttlebone and cut it in half.  Grind down the two surfaces until they are flush.  Carve a funnel in one end of the two halves, and carve your design just below that.  Bind the sides together to form a mould, smelt your silver and pour it in!

Malachite and Sterling Silver Cuttlefish Cast Pendant

I cuttlefish-cast the bottoms of these two pieces, then set bezels with bails attached into the cast pieces to create pendants. One is set with malachite, the other with paua shell.

Paua Shell and Sterling Silver Cuttlefish Cast Pendant

I had to hand these pieces in as part of my final presentation, and then they were sold from my online shop.

Pharaoh Cuttlefish

Cuttlefish are members of the cephalopod family, like ocotpus, squid and nautilus.  They emit a brown ink to help them evade predators.  This ink, known as sepia, was once prized as a dye. Cuttlefish have green blood, due to haemocyanin, which carries oxygen and contains copper, unlike humans who have iron-containing haemoglobin filled red blood.  Cuttlefish have beaks.  Cuttlefish have chromatophoric cells, which enable them to change the colour of their skin instantaneously.  Aren’t they wonderful!  And coincidentally in keeping with my (unplanned) marine themed year!!! Thanks, little guys!!

Forged Spoon

Sterling Silver Tablespoon

The lastest project for my goldsmithing course was to cold forge a sterling silver spoon.  Creating fine metal jewellery is called goldsmithing, and creating fine metal tablewear is called silversmithing… which creates some confusion!!!

Sterling Silver Tablespoon

Lots of hammering, some bending, doming, soldering and polishing later, and it was done.

Sterling Silver Tablespoon

I started out thinking I would make a metric teaspoon, then decided that was too difficult.  I measured the volume of the bowl of the spoon out of interest, and guess what?  It’s a metric teaspoon!!!

Phew!!!

After months of study, my fellow students and I sat our goldsmith’s course theory test last week. The test was three hours long, and covered everything from metallurgy to gemology; from smithing techniques to health and safety in the jeweller’s workshop.  Now we await our results!! It is great to have all that knowledge, and nice that the test is completed!

Sterling Silver Seashell

She sells seashells…

Sterling Silver Seashell

Ok, so this piece is not for sale – but I did create it! This seashell is the physical component of my latest goldsmithing course project brief. Lots of wire bending and soldering made this an interesting and challenging piece to create.

Sterling Silver Seashell

It started life as a sketch from my mind, and went through some incarnations on paper, as a freehand art drawing:

Seashell Freehand Art Drawing

Also as a technical drawing:

Seashell Tech Drawing

One of my very favourite creations!

Spiral and Ball Garnet Set Statement Pendant Necklace

Nemo’s Nautilus

In keeping with the nautical theme I seem to have going, a diving bell a la Jules Verne is another piece that I made. Ok, so it’s not really a diving bell. But close one eye and it could be!!

Garnet Ball Pendant

I created this pendant for the goldsmithing training course that I am presently undertaking. The brief was fairly simple – make something incorporating a hollow ball! Great fun.

Garnet Ball Pendant

Linked Plate Bracelet – Squid and Seaglass

Another of the projects for my goldsmithing course was to create a linked plate bracelet.  I seem to be working with a very marine theme these days, and this was no exception:

Using a squid as my inspiration, and seaglass as a finishing touch to the clasp, I thought this bracelet turned out beautifully!

Sterling Silver and Seaglass Squid Plate Bracelet

Large Orange Carnelian Spiral Sterling Silver Ring handcrafted by Ruthie Gray at The Silver Forge

Carnelian Bearing Seat Ring

Carnelian and Sterling Silver Ring

The first project for the goldsmithing course I am doing this year was to design a piece incorporating a bearing seat setting method (a ledge put inside the bezel wall for the stone to sit on), and one or more 12mm or larger stones in either a ring or pendant, with texture.  I fell in love with these carnelian cabochons, and had to use them in my piece!  Carnelians can be quite brown, but these orange ones are just delicious!  I’ve got my eye out for some spessartite garnet cabs which can also be that lovely glowing tangerine colour.

Carnelian and Sterling Silver Ring

It was a great fun project, both the designing and the making of it!  With each project, we have to come up with the concept, do a tech drawing of it, do an art drawing of it, and of course create it.  So much fun!