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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Primitive style ring construction.

I had created this ring a while back and a customer wanted it in a different size. With a primitive style ring with the horseshoe shank you may not just size it. You must recreate the whole ring. This design can be found in several old books on jewelry and archeology. One of my favorites is 7000 Years of Jewelry.

We begin with a 6 gauge piece of round copper wire from the hardware store. In this form the pure copper is hard as nails and needs to be annealed.

Annealing is heating the metal to a glowing red passing the torch up and down as in this picture. When the whole wire is glowing , allow it to go black then quench in cold water. This will soften the metal.

This is the starting shape.

And this is the form after much beating with a large hammer on an anvil.

Next it was annealed and then formed to about the preferred size around a steel mandrel. To finish the sizing process place the bead or stone on top of the desired size marking and mark the center hole in the shank on both sides.

The holes are then drilled after once again annealing the metal. Then finishing begins. First sand the interior with a coarse grit wheel or drum on a flex shaft. Then using finer files and sand papers smooth the metal before any polishing. I polish the whole piece then scratch finish with 1500 grit sandpaper for a rustic look.

Continue finishing and cleaning until you achieve the desired surface. In primitive pieces like this I strive for a smooth gloss interior and a slight matte on the out side. This shows an intermediate step.

To hold the ceramic raku bead in place I choose wire. A square 18 gauge silver wire was first twisted with a hand vise and a pair of parallel pliers.

A few turns both decorates and work hardens the soft silver.

The wire is then fitted through the ring and bead.

The ends are bent down at right angles and clipped.

A second wire 28 gauge gold filled half round is added and over wrapped to hold the twisted wire in place.

The ends are tucked in and all edges crimped with pliers to work harden and toughen the wire. Any ends should be filed with a cup bur or a file so they become smooth.

Here is the new ring . You can save a lot of time if you have a set of metal rolls or buy flat stock.. I don't have the rolls and already had the round so it was back to the ancient way to complete the process.

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