Ring A Month – September 2020

Well, it’s not really September’s. I’m cheating a little

September’s theme was ‘New’. I’ve used this challenge to incorporate something new every month so far, and I had intended to continue my journey into flush setting with a simple, stacking ring band, flush set with tiny, tiny 1mm stones, but as sometimes happens, life got in the way and I was fabulously and surprisingly busy with commissions and orders. Yay!

So, I’ve cheated slightly, and used a ring I remodelled in July for a customer who’s become a good friend. This conversion from customer to chum has happened a few times, and is a wonderfully unexpected and joyful bonus of doing what I do for a day job.

Anyway, she had a ring that she never wore because it came as part of a set. It was always too large and ‘too catchy’. It can be classed as new in September because:

it was the first time I sold a piece before sending it away for assay (the law was temporarily relaxed due to C-19, permitting UK makers to make and sell pieces without Assay – provided we then sent them off later) this was sent off for assay in Sept, in accordance with the relaxed legislation

The brief was to remodel it into something wearable, and uniquely DGD-ish

I have a number of ways I try to understand what a customer wants, depending on

a) how well I know them

b) if they are local or if we are doing all the designing remotely

c) how keen they are to use technology

Sometimes we will create a shared Pinterest board, so they can pin everything they like that’s in a similar vein to it, and also stuff they hate (I’ve learned that’s really useful!), sometimes they’ll email or message me photos, and sketches and doodles, sometimes I get a doodle in the post, and sometimes we can arrange a face-to-face where they can pick through my stones etc and see what they’d like.

In this instance the ring was dropped off, and I dismantled it. Foolishly I didn’t take a photo of it before removing the glass (I wasn’t planning on writing a blog about it then!)

But here’s a photo of the setting and the band after I removed the glass. It was an interesting method of setting, not one I’d considered using myself.

Then I made a new band as we’d agreed, wide using one of my texture sheets from my favourite supplier Jewellery Bench Cafe she’d chosen

The piece of Roman glass was really quite large and deep, so I needed to make a bezel that would curve round the ring band, which I did treating it a little like a top hat.

I knew we were stacking some little stampings (thanks to Deborah at Cold Feet Studio for her blog that has inspired me since the beginning of my silversmithing journey) around the setting, so I used little sticky dots (I use and reuse these all the time, they are fabulous for holding a stone to the top if a box, or for pulling one from a setting, or or positioning the components whilst I decide where best to place them) to position the stampings, and then soldered them to the bezel base.

Finally, once I’d ensured the solder had taken properly and everything was secure*, I sawed the excess silver off, and soldered it to the band.

*I find the absolute best way to test this is with a trip in Betty-The-Barrel-Polisher. If everything is still on after 30 mins of being battered with steel shot, then it’s secure

It went for another tumble in Betty, and then I set the glass.

At every stage I sent WiP-Pics. I love to do this, even though it does add a little time to the process – I find it helps to prevent ending up with something that’s not what was envisaged at the outset, makes my customer feel involved and also gives an insight into why hand made is costlier than off the shelf.

Here’s the finished piece.

If you have something you’d like remodelling, do get in touch.

NB – First blog post using WordPress’s new edit options. hope it’s legible!!

About DawnGillDesigns

Finally able to make stuff and get paid for it!!! How cool is this?!
This entry was posted in friends, Gems, processes, resources, RingAMonth, Ring a month, RingAMonth2020, silver, Tech Tip, tutorial, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Ring A Month – September 2020

  1. anne54 says:

    The ring looks fantastic, Dawn! She must be one happy customer. I love how the decoration (are they little flowers? I can’t quite see) is only on one side. It was interesting following your process too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Anne. YEs, not the best of photos – I send my customers WiP Pics, which usually mean I’ve taken them with my phone, and not bothered with the tripod, so they often aren’t as crisp as the ‘real’ ones I take with a camera – specially as I just upgraded my camera to a whizz-bang DSLR. They are little flowers and leaves, I stamp them on the offcuts of 0.8 and higher sheet, then saw and file, and dome, and keep in a jar ready for when a piece calls for them – she saw one of my brooches and wanted me to ‘make this bit of disappointment like that bit of glorious’ 🙂 I’m very lucky to have a couple of customers like that. Patrons really 😉


  2. Roman glass – cool! I like the little top hat!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. claire93 says:

    very intricate work !

    Liked by 1 person

  4. acflory says:

    Love the ‘top hat’ idea. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. katechiconi says:

    OK, second try at leaving a comment; the first time your blog closed down on me! I said that this was a gorgeous ring, that I loved the colour of the glass, which was perfectly complemented by the tiny flowers and leaves and the texture on the ring band, and that it was a lovely piece to own… Fingers crossed it goes through this time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Going Batty in Wales says:

    Great to hear that business is flourishing for you. The new ring is lovely and how nice to turn a hated piece into something that will be worn. Your idea of sending pictures as the work progresses is a good one. As you say it keeps the customer involved and avoids disappointment but also shows how much patient work goes into a hand made article and hence the cost. I hate it when I see craftspeople trying to compete on price with manufacturers and ending up working for less than the minimum wage.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you, and yes, I refuse to try to compete on price and also try to factor in an idea of how long something might have taken someone when ordering handmade (which I do A LOT!) and I try only to buy from people who are being sensible with their pricing. It’s important to me that I encourage people to be fully sustainable


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