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!!