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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Repurposed Earring Becomes a Ring

I purchased a lot of old jewelry on Ebay recently. Some was trash and a few pieces were interesting enough to warrant a second life as components in new made work. If you read the magazines about jewelry making you will see many pieces utilizing vintage material. Some of my Internet friends are telling one another they should feel guilty for using old jewelry components in new work. They say that it should be left to the collectors to enjoy. Sometimes I will agree if the piece is ultra valuable and shows current high sales at auctions, Ebay or Etsy. Most often what we see is not selling for much and is really not rare. Production volume is hard to determine exactly but you can research how long a certain piece was made and how popular it is and was. This is true for signed or unsigned pieces. Lets be honest every piece was made by someone and just because a trademark was applied it is not an indication of rarity or value. To me collectors are just fancy hoarders who don't often share what they have hidden away from the world. This goes equally for fine art collectors and for bottle cap collectors. And jewelry collectors are often the same. With the advent of Pinterest we are getting some peeks into the closets and drawers of some of the collectors and that is wonderful.
 Back to this piece, it is an unsigned vintage 1940-1960s looking cast plated rhinestone earring. Well made, with a pressed on screw back which I removed. Since it is about the same general diameter as the adjustable shank bezel ring I decided to place the earring setting into that. It is not round however. So taking a flex-shaft tool with a diamond wheel, I cut a notch in the side to accommodate the protruding curve .

This leaves room for the wires to flow out through the bezel .

This shows a bit more of the curve.

I smoothed the cut with a half round file then applied a large glob of E 6000 glue to hold the set.

The finished ring has a nice low profile and shows off the work of the original designer in a new way. Re using jewelry components is a good way to create new work and honor the original.  This could be duplicated with wire and settings soldered together, but if I were going to do that..I would create my own new design , not replicate something old. Repeating the past doesn't always add to the artistic dialog. Whether you reuse, repurpose, or cannibalize vintage jewelry is up to you. But if you buy it, it is yours, and never feel guilt about making something new from vintage..who knows..those "collectors" may like you reinterpretation better and value it more than the original. Enjoy creating with vintage components.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Simple ring from an unexpected stamping.

This arrow finding from bsueboutiques.com is always an interesting form but because it is 5 inches long finding a use can be a challenge. Since rings are always one of my favorites..that is what we will make. The first step is to anneal the piece. Heat it to a glowing red and let it cool slightly then quench and you are ready to bend.

Using a ring mandrel and a rawhide mallet Bend the tail around the mandrel about half way.

When you get this far you may find that the metal is very pliable and need only finger pressure to complete the bend.

Keep rolling and reverse the ring on the mandrel to eliminate any taper.

 At this stage if you are making the ring for your self you could glue or solder the arrowhead in place after adjusting the size to fit. If it is for sale..then wait to do that after the customer decides what size. A piece this big can fit from size 5-15 easily.
The finished piece fits over the ring finger comfortably and of course you could curve it on around so the point lies next to the shank. Embellishments can be added as well including patina or a spray finish. I plan to just seal the surface as I like the dark fire color.
The point of this is not just to show how to use this arrow but to get you thinking about other forms that can become a ring. Have fun creating.