Sometimes, a Project Takes a Lot of TimeThis is a bit of a saga. Many, many months ago, a family friend came to me with a bag of jewelry she had inherited. It was all pretty old fashioned and she wanted to know if I could come up with ways to update some of it.
The first project was to extract a pretty oval malachite from a very traditional brooch and turn it into a very modern ring. It was fun to work on and we were both pleased with the transformation.
The second project involved finding a way to marry up the stones from a pair of classic birthstone rings into one ring for our friend's niece. Because they were virtually the same size, it was feasible to put both the garnet and the aquamarine into one ring.
First, To Select a Design
I sketched up a few ideas and they chose the overlap with a tapered shank as a good fit for the two oval stones (see below).
Stone Removal Done (Carefully)
Here, a photo of the wrecked rings and the freed stones.
That done, I set the stones aside while I prepared the ring itself.
Making the Ring Blank
I used 18 gauge sterling for the ring, shown here wearing the paper patter I used to cut it out.
I love my shaping pliers and they were especially useful for coaxing this ring blank into the correct curve.
In the background, you can see the copper ring I made as a prototype. I needed to be sure that my design could actually be made and, just in case the answer was no, copper is a lot cheaper than sterling! Happily, the design worked.
Ring Soldered: Next Up, Bezels For Stones
The following photos outline the next steps.
Here, the ring has been soldered and is ready to receive the stone settings.
Making those bezels took a bit of time. It's fussy work to fit silver around the little stones (5 mm by 8 mm). Once the outer bezels were done, soldered and tested for fit, I made thinner ones to fit inside. Soldered into the main bezels, they serve to support the stones so they will sit level (and not drop right through the main bezels, of course). Here they are, all ready to go.
It All Came Together — At Last
Once the bezels were soldered onto the ring, I set the stones. Once again, I worked slowly and carefully. If I shatter a stone I bought, tough luck. Shattering heirlooms is just not acceptable. I'm quite pleased with the final result. I hope its new owner will enjoy her old/new ring for many, many years.