I’m sneakily combining both in this post (I figure you’ve had a surfeit of me at the moment!)
Because the UK has been in semi lockdown since the 24th March, most of the bullion / gemstone / specialist suppliers have closed because non essential workers are furloughed or working from home where possible. The organiser of the RingAMonth challenge, asked us to suggest topics suitable in the current situation, and the theme decided upon was Make Do And Mend. This is a classic motto, stemming from WW2. It seems particularly appropriate for #ScrapHappy too.
As you know, I usually have HEAPS of scrap silver, but typically, had just posted all my clean scrap off to a bullion refiner, (on the left of the collage) for him to smelt it and roll it into a nice fresh sheet for me. As such, my options were rather limited and I hate to stray from a brief, so I thought I’d see what I could do with the meagre bits I created since the 13th (on the right) when I posted it all off! I’ve used some curves that are left over when I saw out Bat’leth necklaces. I designed the piece through my favourite technique of moving the silver about to come up with a design; I thought that they worked rather well stacked on top of each other, suggestive of mayfly wings.
I then had a look through the gemstones I have, to find something that I thought would work well and opted for a moonstone or a garnet, both of which I’ve reclaimed from orphan earrings or broken jewellery given to me and both of which are imperfect cuts.
I ran the silver pieces through Morris the Mill to thin them to a more appropriate thickness and then again with a leaf, to get a vein texture into them, filed and polished the reverse, and sweat soldered* them together Once they were soldered, I did a bit more refining round the edges, and lay the stones on them to choose. The garnet won, so, as I already had a setting prepared (I got into a bit of a rhythm one day, and prepared lots when I was feeling uninspired) I finished that and soldered it to the wings.
Checked the curve, and then because all my wire scrap is away being remade into sheet, I used a small piece of 2mm wire to make a ring. I’ve hammered it, filed a flat bit, and then soldered the bug/mayfly to the top.
It all went for a tumble in Betty the Barrel Polisher for work hardening, and then it was time to file the edges of the bezel and set the stone.
I always wrap any exposed silver in washi tape when doing this – I don’t want to scratch it if my hand slips, and that’s so easy to do – I find this really helps.
Once the stone was set, I did a final measure and took these photos. I really, really like the design. It’s more of a dress ring than an every day one, as it extends a little beyond the finger, so I think I might make more of these as pendants and earrings.
* Sweat soldering is when you melt solder to one piece first – I melted solder to the top one, filed and sanding the solder flat after it cooled, and then heated the two pieces together, so that the pre-melted solder also flowed on to the lower piece
*edit. I scheduled this post, and forgot to include links to the other ScrapHappy blogs. I hope they forgive me. They are:
Kate, Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn (ie me!), Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny and Kjerstin