Recycled Engagement Ring

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I was recently asked to remodel a shop bought engagement ring. It was made in a design which just didn’t suit the customers lifestyle and as a result of this the diamond had come out the setting. The customer wanted to continue to wear the sentimental stone but felt that it would simply break again if I repaired the current ring.

Now this lady freely admits to being heavy handed so the new ring had to be super sturdy, low (to avoid catching on things) and needed to suit her other rings. The metal that I had to work with was 18ct White Gold but the customer has a soft spot for red gold and wanted to incorporate some of that too.

We worked out a design with a stripe of red gold, which would add a splash of colour but still match the rest of her white gold wedding set. She also loved the idea of a really handmade finish so hammering the surface was a good way of achieving this.

Recycling the Old Ring:

I began work by sawing the old 18ct white gold ring in two and rolling these halves into new pieces of wire. I bought square, 9ct Red Gold wire, and rolled that down to match the white gold. I bent these wires round into rings, soldered up the joints and was left with three rather thin new rings:

Making the New Ring:

I layered these thin rings up (double and then triple checking that I had the red one in the middle!) before clamping them with cotter pins. These held everything in place while I soldered the stack together. You can just see in the photo that I’ve lined up the solder joints in all three of the narrow rings so that I can find it again. I’ll cut the final ring here to add the setting for the diamond.

Once the ring had cooled and I’d cleaned it up I filed the surface smooth and could begin to see neat stripes of colour appearing.

I textured the ring by gently hammering it against a steel mandrel. Using the ball head of a hammer I built up a texture of small, round hammer marks which catch the light beautifully.

From here I cut through the ring and filed out a gap to fit a tapered circular tube. This will form the new setting for the diamond. I soldered this into place (conveniently forgot to take a photo) and the main structure of the ring was done. From there I polished it, sent it off for hallmarking in Birmingham and set the stone.

Finished Ring – Recycled 18ct White Gold, 9ct Red Gold & Diamond:

The resulting ring is a really nice blend of the old and the new. Using the original gold and a sentimental diamond keeps a connection to the past but provides and new ring that can be worn and enjoyed.

 

 

Inherited Pearl Ring

posted in: Commissions 1

This ring began when a client brought me a row of pearls that she’d inherited. I work with pearls a lot, I trained as pearl stringer after university and so I have a good understanding of them and an appreciation for their qualities.

The main issue with any pearl taken from a row of pearls is that it has a hole drilled all the way through it. This usually makes it unsuitable for setting into rings or studs, as you’re restricted by the visibility of the hole.

However, this client wanted a ring to allow her to keep one of the inherited pearls close to her and after a little thought we came up with a design that would allow this.

Design:

Her saltwater pearls are a wonderfully warm, creamy colour so while the bulk of the ring would be silver I added a touch of 9ct red gold to bring out this warmth. The high sides of the setting are designed to protect the relatively soft pearl which is riveted into the ring using the existing drill hole.

In the end we opted for a fusion of designs A & B, squaring the corners of the box holding the pearl and making the setting entirely out of red gold.

Making:

Soldering the gold setting onto the silver ring was a tricky process. The whole thing needed to be kept square and parallel or the two sides wouldn’t grip the pearl correctly. After a bit of trial and error I rigged something up on a honeycomb soldering block that kept it all in line so that I could solder the two metals together.

A bit of cleaning up followed that before I could polish the ring (to bring out the hammer marks on the silver) and check the fit of the pearl with a piece of wire:

Once it was riveted into place the pearl sat perfectly within the red gold ‘box’ setting and balanced the ring nicely. It’s a neat, geometric solution to using a pearl from a necklace and I love that I’m allowing inherited jewellery to continue to be used and enjoyed.

Finished Ring:

Snowflake Diamond Engagement Ring

Sketching the Ring:

This ring evolved from a request for a classic, dainty ring with lots of sparkle and a contemporary twist. A lot of sketching ensued and I eventually narrowed it down to an asymmetric, cluster style ring using a mixture of diamond shapes. I love pear shaped stones, so being able to use a few of those was a bonus:

 

My very accommodating customer gave me free rein to chose the diamonds themselves and I found a beautiful, clear D colour stone for the centre. I matched the outer stones to this for a unified feel and set to work drawing the final design up in CAD.

Making the Ring:

With the ring rendered fully on a computer I printed it in casting resin, a process which allows a 3D printed piece to be put through traditional lost wax casting production. The result was a perfect replica of my original drawing, cast in platinum. I checked it for size (as shrinkage occurs during the casting process) and stretched it a little to make it a size I.

The 3D printing and casting process left a rough texture on the surface of the ring so I filed and sanded it gently, removing marks and smoothing out the profile of the knife edged section on the band of the ring. After that I polished the whole piece, bringing the platinum up to a bright shine:

Finished Ring:

Fully set the final ring is pretty stunning and has a beautiful, delicate sparkle. The polished platinum sets off the diamonds beautifully and the asymmetric layout of stones really works. This ring has now gone off to it’s new home:

Commission: Recycled Diamond Earrings

posted in: Commissions 0

Sometimes I get asked to recycle old family jewellery into something new and these earrings are a great example of this:.25 carat diamond studs

They’re simple, classic diamond studs but they’re made from one new diamond and one old one, taken from a client’s unworn engagement ring. It seemed a shame to leave this sentimental stone in a box so I matched another diamond to it and now she has a great pair of wearable earrings with a personal story.

 

Original Engagement Ring shank with the brand new Diamond Earrings
Original Engagement Ring shank with the brand new diamond earrings

New Work: Birds

The late winter/early spring is always a quiet time for me. In a good way.

This year my first selling show will be in May so I’ve had the luxury of a lot of time to work out some of the ideas that I’ve been carrying around for a while. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen a few of these but, now that I feel like all the elements that I’ve been making are coming together I wanted to post everything in one place:

There are birds and leaves and little tapered silver twigs for them all to sit on … they’ll be evolving into final pieces over the next few weeks so keep a weather eye on instagram to see how things are going.

Craft & Design Magazine: Diary Writer 2015

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I’m incredibly pleased and proud to be this year’s Craft and Design Magazine Diary Writer.

Becca Jewellery Diary Writer Craft Design Magazine

Each year the magazine chooses someone working in the contemporary crafts and gives them a chance to write an article for each issue, forming a diary of what’s going on in and around their practice.

This year they picked me! The first issue landed in the workshop today and I’m super excited! So, what are you waiting for? Go buy one or, better still, get a subscription – it’s a wonderful source of information and inspiration.

Craft at the Three Choirs Festival, Worcester 2014

posted in: Events, exhibition 0

This year the annual Three Choirs Festival returns to the city of Worcester for a glorious week of music in the historic Cathedral.

The Worcestershire Guild of Designer Craftsmen will, once again, be celebrating the event by hosting a contemporary craft fair in the Cathedral grounds, presenting a selection of work from local designer makers.

 

Worcestershire Guild Craft Three Choirs Poster 2014

Alongside the Worcestershire Guild will be members of the Cotswold and Herefordshire Craft Guilds, both of whose home cities also play host to the Three Choirs Festival, on alternate years.

The show opens on Saturday 26th July and runs until Saturday 2nd August, opening from 10am to 8pm each day.

Ideas for new work …

posted in: Silversmithing 0

A secluded January in the studio has given me time to think about some new ideas and where I want to start taking my work in 2014. I’ve been busy already, starting to etch on a larger scale (more of that later) and beginning to work on some new pieces of silverware for my exhibition stand.

Here’s a sneaky peak at some rocking Tidal napkin rings, works in progress:

Tidal Napkin Rings

which have just gone off for hallmarking …

 

Centrepiece 20th Nov – 23rd Dec 2013

posted in: Jewellery 0

Centrepiece 2013 opens at Symphony Hall this Thursday with 28 local designer makers  selling their work in the run up to Christmas.

Centrepiece Logo

The show will be open from 10am – 10pm everyday and is always staffed by the designers themselves, here’s a selection of what will be available (to help you out with your Christmas gift buying … )

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