Progress on the silver projects

Ever since I got my tool and soldering kits for Christmas, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to bring home unfinished projects from class to work on at home. I’ve still got a few bits and pieces here and there that I need to get (like the soldering block and doing more researching on how I can set up my own pickle and etching tanks) before I can really fully do everything I want in the comfort of my own home.

I was still working on various projects and was at different stages with each: the ring and charms I managed to get etched and oxidised, but I still needed to get them polished. I had etched the pendants for the matching friendship/family necklace set, but I had to clean them and I still need to get them through the oxidising process.

Etched paw print charms

The paw print charms I made in support of the Bengal Rescue Scotland fundraising auction and I’m planning to offer them as one of my custom made items once I open up my Etsy shop. I’ve been playing around with the idea for a while, but wanted to build up stock of what I can offer before I opened up shop.

Etched, shaped and soldered ring

I was very pleased to find that the ring was joined on my first attempt! The etching didn’t take as long as I thought it would which was great, although I was a bit apprehensive about whether or not the soldering would be a success on my first try. When I practiced on the copper ring when we were shown how to make rings, I didn’t manage to solder the join in the 3 attempts I made in the same class. I think I was a bit to eager to do what I needed to do and oxidised the ring before I even figured out whether the join was going to be invisible.

The oxidised ring

I wasn’t too concerned about the paw print charms because they were pretty much done, I just needed to get jump rings made to go through the drilled holes.

One oxidised paw print charm (right) and after it’s been polished (left)

As usual, I then had to polish off the surface so I didn’t send off the charms as charred pieces of metal with a barely visible paw print if you looked for it.

Both charms after they’ve been given a matte polish by hand

Jump rings attached: I coiled 0.7mm sterling silver wire around a brush and used wire cutters to cut them to the right length

I thought I had a smaller round brush that I could’ve used for slightly smaller jump rings, but I wasn’t able to find this, so I had to settle with slightly larger jump rings. The good thing about coiling a length of wire around your desired round item is that you end up making as many jump rings as you want at the same time. By coiling a section of my30cm length of 0.7mm wide wire, I made about 6 of them in one go.

Sterling silver etched ring matte-polished by hand. Almost there!

There’s still a bit more to be done with the ring, I’m not happy that the join is still quite visible, so I’ll need to speak with the instructor on whether I should add more solder and file this down to a seamless join, or if there’s another way of rendering the join invisible.

I’ll be sure to learn more about making rings for sure, I’ve got the rub over stone setting class to come back to when classes start up again in a few days. Which also brings me to the exciting news of more gemstones having arrived in the mail recently!

Sapphire blue 1.44ct iolite faceted marquis, from FindYourStone

6mm rose cut smokey quartz cabochon, from FindYourStone

Clear green 1.56ct scissor cut faceted tourmaline, from FindYourStone

4mm deep purple rose cut amethyst cabochon, from FindYourStone

5mm checker board cut faceted London Blue topaz, from RitchardsGems

Emerald cut faceted 3.03ct Swiss Blue topaz, from RitchardsGems

I’m excited about the gemstone collection I’m amassing. I know it seems silly to be buying all these gemstones before I’ve even got designs or pieces to set them in, but I’m a firm believer in buying the materials that speak to you before you even have a project in mind for it. The materials and items you buy can give you inspiration for projects. Some of the gemstones, like the cabochons, I’ve been thinking would be great for stacking rings or as a simple stone to be set in a flourished pendant. Some of the larger faceted stones like the emerald cut Swiss Blue topaz would look great as an engagement or cocktail ring, although it’d also be a very beautiful pendant for a simple necklace. I haven’t yet decided, but with some of the beautiful faceted gemstones I’ve got in my wee collection, I’m thinking engagement rings would be something I can definitely offer in the future in my Etsy shop or as custom designs from family/friends *hint hint*.

Anyone got any suggestions on how I can hide the join on the ring?

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