Category Archives: Ruthie’s Own Pieces

Art Nouveau Inspired Silver Earrings

Art Nouveau Inspired Silver Earrings

Even though my usual design style is ‘striving for elegant simplicity’, I actually love the Art Noveau period – so in that vein, I designed these earrings for myself.

Art Nouveau Inspired Silver Earrings

I’ve been wearing them nearly every day since I finished them. I’ve had quite a few comments and requests, so I may even make some more for my shop!

Botryoidal Carnelian Ring

Botryoidal Carnelian Ring

I love all the cabochons I source, and it is a bit of an obsession with me! I’d love to keep them all, but that’s just silly – so one of the many joys of being a silversmith is sharing these gorgeous finds with nice people.

Botryoidal Carnelian Ring

Once in a while, though, I come across a cabochon that I just can’t part with. This botroidal carnelian is one of those.

Botryoidal Carnelian Ring

It’s a great ring to wear with earth tones, which I’ve been more drawn to lately.

Botryoidal Carnelian Ring

If you’d like a custom made gemstone ring of your own, check out my gemstone collection, and let me know which one you’d like to wear!

Ball and Tentacle Ring

Sterling Silver Sphere Ring

Occasionally I do stop long enough to make myself something! I confess it was over a year ago that I made this ring, and it’s taken me this long to post it.

Ball and Tentacle Ring

As you can tell from it’s well worn appearance, I wear it all the time!

Ball and Tentacle Ring

Reticulated Sterling Silver Pendant

Flashback – Reticulated Pendant

Reticulation is a texturing which occurs when silver is heated almost to melting point. The surface of the silver shimmers and moves. It’s a fine balance between a molten surface and an unrecognisable lump! The process is very satisfying when you get it right. I created this pendant (and also the base of this ring) at the school I attended, starting with a flat straight rectangle of silver. I added the silver spheres and some stippling, with a chenier bail, et voila! 🙂

Reticulated Sterling Silver Pendant

Simple yet effective!

Black Onyx and Sterling Silver 'Schnoerkel' Pendant

Flashback – Onyx ‘Schnoerkel’ Pendant

I made this piece when I was studying at the Goldsmith’s School under the supervision of my teachers. I found this black onyx cabochon at the annual Gem Show here in Brisbane, and designed this pendant to suit it.

Black Onyx and Sterling Silver 'Schnoerkel' Pendant

The spirally curlicues are known as ‘shnoerkels’ (having two German teachers had its interesting and educational side!) and the piece was set in dental plaster to solder.

Black Onyx and Sterling Silver 'Schnoerkel' Pendant As I was expecting any minute at the time, my kind teacher Sue was worried that I wouldn’t get back to class to do it, so she set the stone for me! 🙂

Sterling Silver Hair Stick

Flashback – Sterling Silver Hair Stick

With help from one of my goldsmithing teachers, I created this hair stick not long after I started at the Goldsmith’s school.

Sterling Silver Hair Stick

It has become my favourite piece to use to represent The Silver Forge brand – in part because of the simplicity of the plain silver, and in part because of the spiral, which reflects in my logo. I am drawn in a huge way to spirals. Fibonacci sequence = fabulous – but instead of the golden ratio, I’m calling it the silver ratio!

Sterling Silver Hair Stick

I  based the design on a similar hairstick that I found whilst touring in China, so it has special meaning to me. I love my hair stick!

 

Pearl and Reticulated Sterling Silver Ring

Flashback – Pearl and Sterling Silver Ring

On a trip through China with my family in 2008, as part of a tour of Shanghai we visted the Jin Mao Tower (at the time the sixth tallest building in the world). Our tower entry tickets rather bizarrely entitled us to a free pearl each at the top of the tower (don’t ask, I still don’t know!), so we wandered past many vendors of tourist tat, and found a counter where a girl whisked out some big flat oysters, popped them open with a pair of pliers and a screwdriver, and offered us a choice of pearls!

Pearl and Reticulated Sterling Silver Ring

We each chose one, and I held onto them for some time, then decided to set them in a ring so that I could enjoy them.

The top of the ring is reticulated – a method that involves heating a sheet of silver to almost melting point, so the surface becomes textured. Fun stuff!

Pearl and Reticulated Sterling Silver Ring

As another addition to my family was on the way at the time, my very kind teacher Sue, gave me a little seed pearl to set in the top of the ring along with the other three. I treasure this ring, and still wear it today!

Grey Drusy Agate and Sterling Silver Ring

Grey Drusy Agate Ring

Grey Drusy Agate and Sterling Silver Ring

I love all the cabochons I source, but once in a while I come across a cabochon that I just can’t part with. This grey drusy agate is one of those.

Grey Drusy Agate and Sterling Silver Ring

I love this ring, and I’ve been wearing it nearly every day!

Grey Drusy Agate and Sterling Silver Ring

If you’d like a custom made gemstone ring of your own, check out my gemstone collection, and let me know which one you love the most!

Jade and Sterling Silver Pendant

Flashback – Jade Pendant

Jade and Sterling Silver Pendant

Some years ago, my gorgeous husband came home from a work trip to Hong Kong with this beautiful piece of jade for me. Yes, I love him!

Jade and Sterling Silver Pendant

I created an elaborate design for the stone, and built that during my goldsmithing classes. Part of the component creation included making some chenier – which is hollow tubing, to go through the middle of the jade, which was cut in a donut shape. That was fun!

Jade and Sterling Silver Pendant

At the end of the day decided I didn’t like what I had made, so removed a good portion of the framework and left a simpler way to wear the jade. Sometimes, you have to modify your original idea to make the piece work!

Sterling Silver Sphere Ring

Flashback – Sterling Silver Sphere Ring

Sterling Silver Sphere Ring

At The Goldsmith’s School where I did my training, after learning to set a stone, I was taught how to create a hollow ball or sphere.

Sterling Silver Sphere Ring

There is some danger involved – once you have cut out two circles, domed them to be exactly half of the diameter that you require, you solder the two halves together, and because there is a hollow space in the middle of the ball that you are closing, the risk is that the ball explodes as you are soldering it. This hasn’t happened to me, but I always wear my protective glasses just in case!

Sterling Silver Sphere Ring

This ring was not born from my own idea, as I borrowed the concept from a beautiful piece I bought years ago from a jeweller who had a stand at the Brunswick Street Markets – I have seen this notion replicated in many places however, and it is a simple smithing concept. I try not to look at other people’s work these days, as I would hate to accidentally plagiarise someone’s original creation! There is nothing new under the sun they say, but I like ideas to grow organically inside my own imagination. And I do have plenty of them!

Peridot and Sterling Silver Earrings

Flashback – Peridot and Sterling Silver Earrings

Peridot and Sterling Silver Earrings

Continuing my flashbacks to the first pieces I ever made, the next step I took at The Goldsmith’s School was to learn to set a stone. A round or oval shaped cabochon is the simplest to set (no corners to contend with!) and I chose one of my favourites, peridot.

Peridot and Sterling Silver Earrings

I have written about the stone setting process previously here and here – and as you can probably tell, it is one of my favourite ways to create!

Peridot and Sterling Silver Earrings

I’ve gotten faster and better at setting stones of course, but these earrings have stood the test of time – although I would design the ear hooks differently another time! I still love peridot, too – it and garnet are some of the few gemstones that are not treated in any way.

Sterling Silver Textured Overlay Spiral Bass Clef Pendant

Flashback – Silver Textured Overlay Pendant

Round Textured Overlay Pendant Designs

At the Goldsmith’s School I studied at, the second piece that all students created was a pendant. We were asked to come up with a couple of designs, bearing in mind that we would have to cut the pieces out of sheet metal with a jeweller’s saw. Good to see I’ve had the spiral theme going for a long time!

Sterling Silver Textured Overlay Spiral Bass Clef Pendant

After cutting out the circle for the base layer of the pendant, I stippled it by hammering with a stippling tool (a steel rod with a design carved into one end) all over the metal. Then I cut out the top layer, and soldered it and a a simple cup hook bail on (with some assistance from the teachers!)

Sterling Silver Textured Overlay Spiral Bass Clef Pendant

I was always very taken with how, out of a room full of people given the same basic brief, so many very different pieces come to life. I’m still pretty fond of this piece, although I don’t wear it very often – perhaps I should get it out!

Sterling Silver Ring

Flashback – Plain Sterling Silver Ring

Sterling Silver Ring

When I started attending the Goldsmith’s School in Brisbane back in 2005, the first piece that everyone made was a plain half round ring. This is known in the trade as a ‘wedder’ (as it is a basic wedding ring.) The ‘half round’ refers to the profile of the ring.

Sterling Silver Ring

It is possible to use a rolling mill and roll wire to be half round, which is the easy way to make one of these rings; we started with a thicker, flat piece of metal, shaped it into a ring, then filed and emeried until it was half round – it’s a good way to learn those basic techniques, and also to get an understanding of the complexities of silversmithing.

Sterling Silver Ring

I made this ring to give to my son at the time – I don’t think it would even fit onto his pinkie finger these days!

The Silver Forge Selfie Competition 2015

After some customers posted some great pictures on my FaceBook page recently of themselves wearing some of their Silver Forge jewellery, I thought I’d love to ask you all to show me pictures of your beautiful selves wearing pieces I’ve created – it’s such a buzz seeing someone wearing something I’ve made!

With that in mind, I thought I’d run a competition ~ the prize will be a $100 voucher to spend in The Silver Forge shop. All you have to do is post a photo of yourself wearing your Silver Forge piece: either to The Silver Forge FaceBook page, or on your Instagram or Twitter account. The winner will be randomly selected from all the entries across the board.

Most important – don’t forget to make sure you use the hashtag #silverforgeselfie so I can see you!

If you aren’t on any of these social media, don’t despair! You can email me your picture and I’ll make sure you’re entered in the draw.

If you enter the competition, I may post your pictures onto my social media accounts as mentioned above, or pop some of your pictures in the customer testimonial section or as part of my product listings on my website to show you off – just so you are aware! 🙂

The winner of The Silver Forge selfie competition will be randomly selected on 14th February 2015. (Valentine’s Day, I know!) You may enter one photo for each piece of The Silver Forge jewellery that you have – each photo will count as one entry, because it’s nice to have your loyalty rewarded.

I know I said ‘selfie’, but if you’d really rather someone else took the photo of you, I can bend the rules a little!

If you have given someone else a Silver Forge piece, it is fine to enter a picture of them wearing it, as long as you have their permission.

It doesn’t have to be your best glamour shot unless you want it to be; you can make it quick, make it fun, make it quirky – just show me your Silver Forge selfie! Darers go first, so they say, so here’s me with some pieces I’m wearing atm just to get you started. Go for it!

Ruthie's Silver Forge Selfie

Faceted Black Onyx and Sterling Silver Ring

Faceted Black Onyx Ring

Faceted Black Onyx and Sterling Silver Ring

 

I occasionally get around to creating something new for myself, and since I’ve been having a little love affair with faceted cabochons of late, I thought I’d make myself another ring!

 

Faceted Black Onyx and Sterling Silver Ring

 

I needed a black ring, for everyday wear, and this one is great.

Faceted Black Onyx and Sterling Silver Ring

 

I do have a couple more of similar cabochons coming, so if you’d like one of your own, do let me know!

Garnet and Sterling Silver Circles Ring

Garnet and Sterling Silver Circles Ring

Circles, endlessly wonderful. I created this ring for myself, as I wanted something to match a pair of earrings I made that I wear a lot.

Garnet and Sterling Silver Circles Ring

The design came to me as I was daydreaming before I went to sleep one night.

Garnet and Sterling Silver Circles Ring

I really love this ring!

White Seaglass and Sterling Silver Earrings

White Seaglass and Sterling Silver Earrings


White Seaglass and Sterling Silver Earrings

 

I had originally created these seaglass earrings to be listed in my shop, but after some consideration, I decided I had to keep them for myself!

 

White Seaglass and Sterling Silver Earrings

 

Y’ know, that happens sometimes. Especially when it’s a one of a kind piece!! 🙂

 

White Seaglass and Sterling Silver Earrings

Green Onyx and Sterling Silver Amorphia Ring

Green Onyx and Sterling Silver Amorphia Ring

Green Onyx and Sterling Silver Amorphia Ring

 

It’s been a while, but I finally got around to creating something for myself! This ring is set with some faceted cabochons of green onyx.

Green Onyx and Sterling Silver Amorphia Ring

 

I think this may be the start of a new range. Hold tight!

Green Onyx and Sterling Silver Amorphia Ring

 

Cherry Creek Jasper and Sterling Silver Ring

Cherry Creek Jasper and Sterling Silver Ring

I came across this divine piece of Cherry Creek Jasper a while ago, and just finished making it into a ring for myself.

Cherry Creek Jasper and Sterling Silver Ring

 

The design was partly inspired by my dear friend and classmate, Jane.  She makes beautiful rings, and her shanks are often very squared off at the ends.Cherry Creek Jasper and Sterling Silver Ring

I love the very organic nature of the stone.  Jasper is so hugely versatile!

Cherry Creek Jasper and Sterling Silver Ring

Lodolite Garden Quartz and Sterling Silver Ring

I bought two divine lodolite bullet shaped cabs a while ago, and I spent some time contemplating how to do them justice. I was waiting for inspiration to strike me, and it eventually did! 

Lodolite and Sterling Silver Ring

Lodolite is commonly known as Garden Quartz.

Lodolite and Sterling Silver Ring 3

It is clear quartz with inclusions, which look like a landscape scene – garden or underwater garden!

Lodolite and Sterling Silver Ring 2

I feel the organic vine-like nature of the ring complements the beautiful stone.

Lodolite

 

I’m looking forward to making another ring with my second gorgeous piece of Lodolite!

Peruvian Blue Chalcedony Castle Ring

Peruvian Blue Chalcedony Sterling Silver Smokestack Ring

For a while now, I’ve had a design for a ring in my head. In part inspired by the power station we drive past a few times a week; and in part inspired by castles and towers, minarets and mosques, factories and smokestacks – I seem to have quite an industrial/architectural theme running through my head lately.

Peruvian Blue Chalcedony Castle Ring

 

The stones are Peruvian Blue Chalcedony Briolettes, which I turned on their ends. Divine colour, don’t you think?

Peruvian Blue Chalcedony Castle Ring

I learned how to flange chenier, which was fun! The briolettes remind me of puffs of smoke.

Peruvian Blue Chalcedony Castle Ring

 

I have some little pear shaped free-form orange carnelians in my gemstone stash, and I think there may be another ring in this style coming along in the future!  What do you think?

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! 🙂

Howlite and Sterling Silver Ring

Howlite Sterling Silver Ring

At last, a piece that I am going to keep for myself!!

Howlite and Sterling Silver Ring

The stone in this ring is howlite, which is most often seen dyed and passed off as turquoise.  I just like it in its natural creamy white form!

Howlite and Sterling Silver Ring

Surprise, surprise, this ring is huge – the stone is four centimetres long.  I like this ring, it’s really nice to wear, compliments most outfits, and it makes me feel happy!!

Sterling Silver Twisted Chain Bracelet 1

Sterling Silver Twisted Chain Bracelet

My grandmother commissioned me to make this sterling silver twisted chain bracelet after she saw the one I made for myself a while back.  The links join together in a very precise pattern, so it was very zen to make!  There is no catch, the bracelet simply rolls onto your wrist.  It is very comfortable, and feels lovely rolling up and down your arm.

Sterling Silver Twisted Chain Bracelet 1

Each link is individually soldered, so the piece gets hot very quickly and you can only solder a couple of links at a time.  It lived on my workbench, being made in between other things, for many weeks!  Lucky Granny is patient..

Sterling Silver Twisted Chain Bracelet

 

Garnet and Sterling Silver Needle Case

Cylindrical Sterling Silver Box with Garnet Set Lid

Garnet and Sterling Silver Needle Case

Years ago, I made a little round silver box with a garnet on the top of it to keep embroidery needles in as due to a special project I was making, I suddenly had many of them. The joys of being able to make your own silver things!!

Garnet and Sterling Silver Needle Case

In this box I also keep a tiny note (which used to have my needle stuck in it when I had only one needle). It was written to me in green pencil by my son many years ago when he was quite small – it just says, in his best handwriting, “i love you”.

Moss Agate and Sterling Silver Ring

Nostalgia – Part One

Moss Agate and Sterling Silver Ring

I first started smithing in Canberra in 2005 when I did a short evening course in silver jewellery at Dickson College. The idea of being able to create ‘proper’ jewellery excited me, and I was really thrilled to start learning the processes involved in jewellery making! The first ring I ever made was using a moss agate cabochon – I learned metal bending and soldering, made the shank and the bezel, and set the stone. I was so thrilled!

Moss Agate and Sterling Silver Ring

I gave this ring to my mum. When I look back at it now, I can see plenty of flaws, but I also appreciate it as the starting point of what is proving to be a long and very happy journey!

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!

Green Drusy Agate and Sterling Silver Ring

Handcrafting Sterling Silver Jewellery

Green Drusy Agate and Sterling Silver Ring

Smithing jewellery for yourself or for other people is a wonderful thing to do. The process of creation encompasses all kinds of aspects, from daydreaming, art drawing, design; to the more physical metal preparation, sawing, filing, emerying, soldering, hammering, bending. Very zen!

Green Turquoise and Sterling Silver Ring

The Silver Forge – Unique Handcrafted Custom Sterling Silver and Gemstone Jewellery

Welcome! The Silver Forge is a small independent business in which I make my unique sterling silver jewellery available to purchase. Handcrafted earrings, rings, pendants; custom bespoke gemstone jewellery commissions are all available.

Green Turquoise and Sterling Silver Ring

All my pieces are made entirely by hand using traditional methods and hand tools in my own studio at home. Each piece starts life as a throw of silver, which is turned into either sheet or wire by rolling and/or drawing.  From there, anything is possible!

I welcome any enquiries, feedback and constructive criticism – and of course purchases if anything takes your fancy. I am happy to take custom orders for any jewellery in silver or gold you would like made, and I’d be pleased to work with you to create with a design for your dream piece.

My great-great-great grandfather, my great-great uncle and my great-grandfather were blacksmiths, so I like to think that I’m carrying on the family smithing tradition in a small way!