Posts from the ‘Rings’ category

4 Variations on a Box

I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post, but we had spring break and taxes and a social life, so things get put on the back burner for a little while. I worked on my rings during this time, but I didn’t get a chance to photograph or finish them. I started the first one by making a box. I’ve always wanted to make one out of metal, and I was always scared to try it: maybe it would be too hard, maybe I don’t have the precision skills to do it, or maybe it just won’t look good. Well I was wrong!

  1. Burst Ring (52.13)  So I started making my first box without much of plan to get me thinking in “box” mode, and by the time I made the first groove in one of the sides I knew exactly what I wanted to make, so I stopped and sketched and planned a bit…I thought it would be a bit boring just having a copper box, just like a cardboard, so instead, I wanted it to be bursting at one corner with jewels spilling out of it.
    Ring a Week #13
    The box construction is fairly straight forward. You make 2 L-shapes by filing a groove in metal sheet, then bending at 45° angle, then soldering the 2 Ls together and finally soldering the top and bottom – but first flaring the sides of 1 corner a bit to make the box look like it’s bursting. After I finished the ring construction, I set it aside because I didn’t know how to make the “jewels” part and didn’t want to mess it up, so I figured it would “come” to me while I was making the second box ring (that I thought of while making the first box ring – doesn’t it always work that way!)
    Ring a Week #13

    I wore the ring without jewels for some time, until I finally decided what to do with it.
    I crushed up some bad peridot beads, got some cubic zirconia in different colors and epoxyed the whole lot to the ring. That came out really good! Nice box!
    Ring a Week #13

  2. Peek Ring (52.14) While I was making the burst ring, I started thinking it was not too subtle. I liked the ring, but felt it was a bit over the top, so I thought to shrink it and make only the lid flared out a bit, just enough for one jewel to be wedged in there. Good idea!
    Ring a Week #14
    This ring came together super quick. For one I didn’t use as thick a sheet as the first, and I also scaled it down quite a bit (the box measures 8mm as opposed to 15)
    Ring a Week #14

    I rubbed the box with 320 sandpaper, oxidized it with liver of sulfur, then brushed it again with the sandpaper, but only loosely in vertical and horizontal directions. Selma squealed when she saw the ring, so of course it is now hers!
    Ring a Week #14 

  3. Escher Ring (52.15) So I got the boxes down. After having successfully made 2 of them, I was feeling confident to make something a bit more complex: A box frame.
    Ring a Week #15
    I made the whole ring with 2mm Sterling silver square wire. The process was very tedious and time consuming. I had to file the individual pieces of wire very slowly to a fraction of a millimeter, so that the cube would not distort. I think this is the most precise ring I’ve ever made – the cube measures 10mm and would have been a lot harder to make had I used thinner wire, or had I tried to make it any smaller.
    Ring a Week #15
    The finish is 220 sandpaper in a random pattern. I oxidized the inner surfaces to give it some dimension. Mark said it looks like an Escher drawing – hence the name. I absolutely love love love this ring.Ring a Week #15
  4. Frame Ring (52.16) Maybe I should call this last ring of the series the “Edit Ring”. It is a combination of the 3 rings so far and is the most minimal of the three. With each ring, I edited the design down to this one. It came out exactly how I imagined and I’m very pleased with it.
    Ring a Week #16
    It looks really easy and effortless, but isn’t. Working with 1mm Sterling silver wire is not as easy as with thicker wire. I also originally soldered 2 tiny squares on the copper L shape, but didn’t like them, so I took them off, which left solder smudges on the copper (and I liked that a lot!)
    Ring a Week #16
    I did not want to sand and polish and clean this ring because I thought it looks great as is. It’s a framework, something to build on and grow.
    Ring a Week #16

So now I’m all caught up on Ring a Week. I learned a lot and I enjoyed the break. It actually allowed me to develop this box theme and push myself a little bit.

  • To get a really crisp edge on a box, file the 45° groove down, all the way down until there’s almost no metal left.
  • Sometimes, taking a distance from work can be really beneficial (we knew that, right?)
  • My design approach is laid out in this series. I always start with something fancy and grand, and then whittle it down to a simplified form. I really had not realized that before, but it is absolutely true. Good Lesson!


This is a first for me, so I’m really excited. One of my rings was published in a how-to book for jewelers called 30-minute rings. Yay!

Seed Pods (RAW52.11)

This week, I decided to stay with the hollow forms, although I’m starting to think I should work a bit with gemstones or at least more complex hollow forms. I’ve made versions of this ring in the past, and I quite like the in-between-fingers rings. The ring represents simplified lotus seed pods, and presents another chance to incorporate bronze.

Ring a Week #11The construction is quite simple: two half spheres topped with varying sizes of bronze balls. A lot of fun to make and no major hitches. Since I’ve made these before, I now know to drill a little cup for each ball to sit in before I solder them on. This way, I don’t end up with runaway bronze balls.

However, I had a big problem with the photography. I usually like to photograph my jewelry against a white background, but no matter what setting or angle I tried, I could not get a decent picture. I finally switched to a dark gray background, and a black duvetyne.  That seemed to work much better.

Ring a Week #11I think it was really difficult to capture the contrast between the silver and bronze colors. No matter, the ring looks gorgeous on the hand.

Ring a Week #11What did I learn this week?

  • You have to keep trying until you get a good picture
  • To get more depth of field, set the ISO higher (thanks Mark!)

See you next week…(and it’s a doozy!)

Bubbles (RAW52.7)

This week, I decided to make another stacked ring. I’m exploring simple hollow forms and I learned that bubbles (or spheres) are not as easy to make as they look. But I love the process of starting out with a flat disc of metal, then slowly seeing it take shape. I also wanted the ring to look funny.

Ring a Week #7

I decided to texture the metal with a planishing hammer to give it more of a bubble look.

As far as fabrication, the hardest to make was the base bubble (22mm), then they got easier as they got smaller. The smallest (6mm) was also hard to make because it kept slipping out of my fingers. Soldering was definitely a challenge (and I think I’m pretty good at it) – I used a lot of “white-out” to prevent the solder from running after each consecutive step.

Ring a Week #7

It took a lot longer than expected (doesn’t everything!), and to prevent myself from going crazy, I made the ring over several days.

By far the hardest step was soldering the ring shank after all the bubbles, and this is where I think I made a mistake. I should have soldered it on to the base bubble as a first step. Instead, by the time I had all the bubbles on, I had a hard time getting the “clump” to the right temperature, for even the easy solder to flow. But it finally did!

Ring a Week #7

I’m also wondering, design wise, whether I should have had a half bubble on the base. I’m undecided. Maybe I’ll just cut it and see how it looks.  Right now, the ring is sitting in an airtight container with a bunch of tobacco, vinegar and ammonia to see if I can get the copper to patina to a blue-green. I’ll find out in a couple of days.

What I learned this week:

  • Things don’t always end up looking the way you imagined or sketched them
  • To make a good half sphere, use smaller and smaller punches (in the same doming hole). That will get the sides to close in more so you can move to the next size down
  • Praying to the soldering gods (plus a lot of white-out) really helps
  • The more I work with copper, the more I like it

I think I will be laying off the stacked rings for a little while, but I’ll keep playing with the hollow forms.

A Ring for Selma (RAW52.6)

Last week’s ring was very hard for me, and, re-reading my post, I realized that it didn’t seem as much fun as it was or should have been. My post was full of  ‘I had to’, and it isn’t really in the spirit of the challenge.

Well this week, it was pure fun. This ring just flowed!

Ring a Week #6

Made entirely of 16 gauge bronze wire, it is simple, elegant, and weighs next to nothing!

Ring a Week #6

I really like how it turned out. The bronze color is stunning, and I gave it a super matte finish with a coarse fiber wheel. Selma loves it. Again, here she is modeling HER ring.

Ring a Week #6

The ring measures 40mm at its widest, but doesn’t look or feel chunky at all. Love. Love. Love!

Ring a Week #6

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Here is my new entry for the Ring a Week challenge. (Click images for larger view)

Ring a Week Challenge #3

I wanted to make something over the top, a bit un-wearable, like those cakes you see on Ace of Cakes. I’ve been thinking about this ring for a while, but when I finally decided to make it, I knew it would turn out well. I also had so much fun making it. It was a bit of a challenge to try to figure out how to solder all the saucers on top of each other, without having it fall apart. Originally, I wanted to add more tiers to it, but thought that it might be overkill.

Ring a Week Challenge #3

I used sterling silver and copper, and gave it a nice scratched finish with 220-grit paper. It is 47mm tall and 30mm at its widest and is a bit on the heavy side.


Ring a Week Challenge #3

I can’t wait to see what I’ll make for next week!

Ring a Week

As if I don’t already have a ton of things to do, and because of all my free time (NOT), I’ve decided to join the “Ring a Week” Challenge (aka RAW.)

The idea is that it will be a personal challenge to make one ring every week of the year, then post the pictures on the flickr group page. There are no rules (my favorite kind of challenge) and the rings can be made using any material, and don’t have to be tangible items either. I decided to join the group to try to learn more techniques and experiment with ideas and designs. Why not.

So, here are my entries so far:

  • RAW52.1 – Since I was late to the game, I decided to make a version of my Leaf & Bud ring that will be appearing in the book 30-Minute Rings by Lark Books due out in April. I made the original (you can see it at the start of my slide show) with 3 x 1 mm rectangle wire. For this version, I used round wire. Both are very easy to make…Ring a Week Challenge - #1Ring a Week Challenge - #1
  • RAW52.2 – I wanted the ring to look like it had some nails on top. I oxidized the ring to a dark black (to look like iron) then polished the tops with steel wool.

    Ring a Week Challenge - #2
    Ring a Week Challenge - #2

So far so good. I’m really enjoying this, and already dreaming up designs to make….

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