Long overdue as it is, I’ve begun making fine silver rings to add to my collection!
The first ring I started with was one for myself (naturally.) I wanted to see how much the metal clay would shrink in my kiln and get an idea for how well they wear on the hand.
I thought it came out pretty darn nice! I could have put a little more work into the band itself to make it smoother and more even, but I was more concerned about the shrinkage factor and placement of the roses. As you can see, it fits my pinky (which is SMALL! About a size US 2.) The clay shrank about three ring sizes, which surprised me, because the brand I use is supposedly known for not shrinking as much. (Art Clay 650.)
Regardless, I was still thrilled with the ring and excited to make more!
The next ring I made was this:
I have mixed emotions about the outcome of this ring. I purchased some fine silver ring band blanks, which means that you form your clay design around the band of the ring, and then fire it as usual. This is supposed to adhere the fine silver clay onto the band and leave a nice smooth inner ring surface. Well, I’m not sure if I should have fired it for less time given that the band was used as the base, but the clay shrank too much. Or, maybe I didn’t use enough of it around the band and should have covered it with a thicker surface area. Either way, I ended up with a couple of hairline cracks which was really disappointing. I filled them in and fired it in the kiln again (for much less time than previous) and it’s now mended. However, it’s sort of “lumpy” in my eyes, so this prototype will again be delegated to my fingers.
In designing this ring, I used a teeny tiny hexagon shaped stamp that I made for myself. It’s one single hexagon, so each time I press the stamp into the clay, it makes one single honeycomb cell. I know they make hexagon/honeycomb sheet stamps, but I think that takes the fun out of designing and creating something by hand. I also created the tiny bee by hand, piece by piece, and used my x-acto knife and some sand paper to carve out the small details. I’m sort of attached to the little guy! (My father was a beekeeper for many years, so I think it’s just in my DNA or something to be a honeybee fan. Evidence as seen in my previous post about honeybees and honeycomb..)
Anyway, despite the somewhat discouraging former attempt, I’m definitely going to make more of these in the future. Next time, I’ll form the base by hand as usual instead of using those darn ring band bases. (So much for that!)
The third ring on my agenda was another rose ring. I spent substantially more time shaping and sanding the band on this one, and am truly happy with the result! The roses were much easier to form and set this time around too.
Oohhhh shiny! The band came out nice and smooth. I burnished and polished it a lot, so it has a lovely glossy sheen! I oxidized the inside of the roses to add depth, as I do with my rose earrings.
This ring is completed and ready to ship, in a US size 5 1/2. I’ll have other sizes available at some point, but not quite yet.
The listing for this ring can be found here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/104072934/fine-silver-rose-ring-size-5-12-hand
If you’d like to learn more about the process involved in working with fine silver metal clay – creating the rose jewelry in particular – please feel free to check out my previous blog post, Fine Silver Rose Earrings.