Recycled Engagement Ring

posted in: Commissions 0

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.

 

 

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

 

Ferns …

posted in: Exploring 0

I took a little Good Friday drive out yesterday with my parents which, naturally, ended at a Garden Centre.

Now, I like plants and all but I’m no expert. When I buy them I really just go for things that I think are pretty. This was a specialist fern nursery with a quite stunning collection of fern colours and textures on show:

I was so inspired by it all that I bought this little one home – I’ll get him comfortably settled into a shady bit of the workshop next week:

Texture and the frosting wheel …

posted in: Uncategorized 5

Obviously I do a lot of etching but, sometimes, I think simple forms look great just with simple textures. I really love a good higgh polished finish but, now that I’m working with Britannia silver I worry that the hard, high polish won’t last when the piece is worn and anyway, there’s nothing like shiny silver for showing fingerprints.

So, in an experimental mood, I popped out of the workshop to Walshes and bought one of these babies:

A frosting wheel.

Honestly, it looks utterly terrifying mounted on my pendant motor – the spines are very fine steel wire and when they’re spinning they look pretty vicious – but I’m assured that it’s fine so long as you’re careful.

I got one of my spare copper samples out and set to it, initially it looks like you’re ruining the surface that you just spent ages sanding but, once you build up the texture, it’s quite lovely:

It grows into a nice, soft sheen that has a soft sparkle and is ever so slightly rough to touch.

Now, hand me a silver one to test it on …