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:

Morganite & Yellow Gold Ring

On the left is a costume jewellery ring and, on the right, a 9ct yellow gold, morganite and white sapphire ‘copy’ made to order for a client who loved the feel of this ring but not the materials!

An aspiring jewellery designer herself the client had an existing mold, made a few years ago, which she had never used to produce a ring. I was able to use that mold to produce wax copies and then modify them to suit the styles of stone setting that we had chosen.

I filled in the top of the ring with extra wax and carved new setting faces onto the inner slopes. This provided a better surface to set the beautiful, cushion cut, Morganite that we’d chosen.

Once cast the ring looked quite rough so I set about cleaning it up at the bench, taking off harsh marks left from adding wax and removing the fine, matt texture that had been left by the lost wax casting process. After fully sanding the ring I polished it, bringing the whole surface up to a uniform finish. With the central stone selected I matched up nearly 30 small, white, sapphires to form a glittering band around the top edge of the ring.

After setting the ring with the cushion cut Morganite, and a band of white sapphires, I plated the top face with bright, white rhodiumm. This pale canvas really brings out the colour of the Morganite and makes the peachy tones of it pop:

 

Tidal Pearl Rings

Becca Williams Tidal Pearl Ring 300dpi

 

Looking back at the blog, as I tend to do at this time of year, it’s become pretty obvious that I’ve made a fair few rings recently and, on balance, I’m pretty happy about that.

For a while I’ve been asked at shows and fairs if ‘I do that as a ring’ and whether I ‘make rings to commission’ (answer: yes, I’ll make anything to commission …) and I’ve spent some time during 2014 designing rings to sit alongside my existing work (like these stacking Flotsam ones) and to inspire new collections for the coming year. Here’s the final new addition to the online store in 2014:

Handmade Britain: Chelsea Nov 14

posted in: Events 0

 

Handmade Britain is just over a week away and, with some wonderful exhibitors on show here’s who I’m particularly looking forward to seeing:

beautifully layered colours from Linda Barletta/Sheen Pottery

Dish by Sheen Pottery
Dish by Sheen Pottery

 


raw edged silver vessels from Edward Mahony at  CreatStudio

Hand Raised silver vessels by CreatStudio
Hand Raised silver vessels by CreatStudio

richly coloured leather bags from Jane Hopkinson

Jane Hopkinson Leather Bags
Jane Hopkinson Leather Bags

delightfully textured metal from Jenny Balson Jewellery

Jenny Balson Jewellery
Jenny Balson Jewellery

looping, sculptural rings from Ellen Monaghan

Ring by Ellen Monaghan
Ring by Ellen Monaghan

and soft, subtle glazes from Sian Patterson

Sian Patterson Studio Ceramics
Cylinders by Sian Patterson Studio Ceramics

see the full exhibitor listing here

Commission: Penstemon Pendant

I just recently sent this freshly finished commission out to a customer, who requested it as a 40th Wedding Anniversary gift.

Penstemon Pendant Commission 10 Becca Williams Jewellery

His wife is particularly fond of penstemons – a tall distinctive plant with these bright, trumpet shaped flowers, a little like a fox glove. I started looking at the shape of the plant and flowers, then drew up a selection of designs to chose from, going for a bold, graphic interpretation of the plant:

Penstemon Pendant 1 Becca Williams Jewellery

My customer settled on the full silhouette of the plant – which was a lot of fun to delicately saw out and polish! The interior is gold plated, like my Estuary series, which adds a lovely contrast to it and the back is subtly engraved, above the hallmark, with the customers wedding and anniversary date:

I am assured that it was very well received and, now that their anniversary has passed, I can share the pictures without risk of spoiling the surprise!

Commission: Screw Post Tidal Earrings

posted in: Commissions 0

Every now and again I get asked to alter one of my existing designs, or make something new, for someone with un-pierced ears. Finding earrings without the standard, pierced ear fittings can be especially tricky so I’m always happy to help when I can. There are a couple of good options available for people without pierced ears – either a hinged, clip style earring (which, I find, can sometimes lose it’s grip a little after wear) or, my personal preference: screw backed earrings.

These are made with neat, screw fittings which can be looped around the earlobe and then gently screwed onto the ear, to grip but not pinch – meaning that each person can chose the perfect pressure setting for them. Of course, these fittings take up more room than the standard, pierced earring post so clip on earrings are generally larger, to hide the fitting. I made this screw backed version of my Tidal studs earlier this month and just managed to tuck the fittings behind the earring – keeping the crisp silhouette that I like so much.

Here’s how they were put together:

Making Gold Screw Fitting Tidal Earrings Becca Williams 1Making Gold Screw Fitting Tidal Earrings Becca Williams 2Gold Screw Fitting Tidal Earrings Becca Williams 10

 

18ct Yellow gold & silver stacking rings

I made these rather lovely 18ct yellow gold and silver stacking rings this autumn and have just realised that the images never made it onto my blog … Working in yellow gold made a nice change from my more usual red gold and the soft sandy texture looked great in yellow metal:

 

Facebook Finds #1

Facebook steals hours of your life. Snooping through old acquaintances photographs at 3am is something everyone does but no one talks about. Right?

Recently though, I’ve started using my Facebook time a little more constructively by exploring Facebook pages. Pages allow businesses and organisations to have a kind of Facebook profile and stay in touch with people interested in what they do. Folksy has done some super articles on how to use them to promote your handmade business (like this one here) and I’m really starting to love mine.

This recent exploration has turned up some lovely, lovely things that I thought I’d share:

1.

Bekki Churcher here is from Glasgow and her gorgeous, almost fragile looking work is inspired by urban decay – she uses some beautiful textures to evoke the broken buildings that inspire her and her ‘geomatric granulation’ is especially wonderful. It reminds me of Ruth Tomlinson somehow crossed with Elaine Cox

2.

Hannah Livingston is based in Edinburgh and her fascination with hidden secrets and quirky little containers makes her work beautifully intricate and utterly tempting. Many of her neat little lockets contain folded paper – forming a story of your own just that’s just waiting to unfold.

3.

Rebecca Little is another Glasgow resident whose work is both deceptively simple and fiendishly clever – as the best things often are. Delicate twists in precious metals are all lined up neatly to form textile like structures that would, I imagine, flow through your hands rather nicely and defy the solid, mathematical look of them.

I’ll keep hunting through Facebook in the small hours – though if you’ve got a suggestion for a page you love do leave me a comment!