I love seeing other people’s processes, and I thought it was time to give you all another look into what goes on in my workshop. I have blogged before about how I create one of my signature big chunky rings, and after my lovely customer Jane asked me for progress shots of the ring she commissioned me to make for her, I was prompted to examine that process again. Here’s how I do it!
Firstly, an appropriate width strip of sterling silver sheet .6mm thick is selected.
This is curved by hand using a pair of half round pliers to fit the gemstone.
Next, the strip is cut to approximately the right length on my bench peg using my jeweller’s saw, leaving a small extension for soldering against.
In this video, you see me prepare and apply the borax, position the solder (not usually quite so fumbly, I had a bit of stage fright!) and solder the bezel together.
Once the metal is cool, it goes into the pickle to be cleaned. An explanation of pickle can be found in my previous blog post.
I trim the excess bezel metal away from the solder join.
I check to make sure the bezel is a good fit.
I emery the bottom of the bezel so that it is completely flat and will make a good join with the base plate.
I select a piece of 1mm thick sterling silver sheet to fit the bezel.
I solder the bezel to the backing plate. Here you see me applying the paillons of solder with borax, and soldering the join. Then it’s back to the pickle.
After rinsing and drying, a bit of a check to see how it’s looking!
Now, I saw the excess metal from around the bezel setting.
After filing the edges of the bezel setting, I start creating the ring shank.
Using the appropriate width of 1.2mm thick sterling silver plate, I bend the shank to the right shape and size.
I trim the shank to the right length.
I hammer the shank with a mallet to get it perfectly round (this shot is for explanation only, I actually have the mandrel hard up against the bench to absorb the force when I’m really hammering the ring!).
Emerying the inside of the shank with my flex drive makes life easier.
After more filing and emerying, I stamp the inside of the shank with my maker’s mark and 925, which marks the metal as being sterling silver (the 92.5% is the fine silver content).
I solder the shank to the bezel setting assembly.
Then it’s time for plenty more filing, and coarse to fine emerying to bring the ring close to it’s finished state. (Zen or tedium, you decide!)
Next, I head over to my trusty engraving ball to set the stone.
Plenty of gentle hammering with my setting hammer later…
And my work, bar some tidying up, is done!
There it is, a beautiful drusy agate ring. I do so love what I do!