Let me preface this entry by saying that this is a “piece of jewelry.” This is not a series of beads strung on some wire and twisted around to make a cocktail ring. This ring is not made of two pre-made pieces and glued together. This piece gave me the official title of “Metalsmither” for three Sundays this month.
As I stare at my piece right now I am completely overcome with joy. I don’t ever think I imagined that anything I made from complete scratch could look this good, but it does. And I am very proud.
The process started by cutting a thin piece of silver into the size that I needed to be my actual ring. There was a tool that the teacher provided us with to do this and I chose my own route of not taking measurements. I hate measurements and find that they are often times not accurate. I would rather wrap a piece of paper around my finger and mark it off accurately. I did just that and it fits perfectly. I did this same method when measuring the circumference of my ring. Take that, math. (An adult ed learner commented that mine was “way longer” than hers. First of all, “thats what she said.” Second, I have huge fingers. Can it.)
One my piece of metal was cut for my ring there was lots of sanding, smoothing, pounding, and SOLDERING. Blowtorch and all. Cover the ring with some flux (a pasty residue used to help your piece from melting and to distribute the heat evenly around the metal), blowtorch, drop in some acid, rinse in some water, move on.
For the stone I picked this rather large metallic black/silver stone. It’s gorgeous. Next I made a bevel – which is the silver piece that keeps my stone in place by encasing it in a silver tray type object. File, sandpaper, flux, solder were all done mutliple times. And since the bevel consisted of two pieces, you can only imagine how long that too.
After I finished my bevel, I drilled a hole in the back so that I could pop my stone in and still be able to pop it out when I needed to. File, sand, etc the back of the bevel to even off the drilled hole. (Does this sound like a lot of work yet?)
During the last class, I solder the bevel and the ring together, pop my stone in, set, and polish. Simple right? Well all that took about three hours.
The class was awesome and I feel like I learned a lot from it. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to continue with this hobby because of my access to the necessary items in a rentable studio space. Plus, I needed guidance with this. It’s complicated. You can only go in one direction with the file or it scars the piece, which was my most common mistake. I made plenty of common mistakes and some not so common.
I am absolutely thrilled with my piece. I think it looks professional and shiny! I’m glad that I took this class and learned just how much painstaking effort and attention to detail goes into metalsmithing. It’s awesome. I am so proud of it. So unbelievably proud!