Monday, November 9, 2009

My first custom made piece within Etsy

I got a convo on Etsy regarding my “Silver waves -Soft and chunky sterling silver and 18 carat gold ring art nouveau style”. I was asked if I had one in the size 6 (this one is 6,5). I don’t, but I have a few more of the untreated and freshly cast versions, which can be made smaller by cutting out a section of the ring shank and then re-soldering it. I asked the customer if she wanted to use to opportunity to have it custom made to her specific taste and she grabbed the chance. She wanted the ring very much like the original, but with the surface structured instead of polished. In addition we decided to put yet another ball of gold onto the last curl.

Once all the details had been agreed on, I happily went to my workshop today and here is the process:

When I had reduced the size I set out to file away the casting grooves and in the same process provide the surface with a structure. To me it made sense to take advantage of the many curved surfaces that meet and part and let the filing direction follow these surfaces. The result, I realized, was very much like the fur of my old cat Sebastian –a fantastically beautiful Abyssinian. These cats are very slender and agile and their short fur (with tickings) show off their amazing body to the max –and so did the filed surface of this ring! Here I have partly filed it –to show the difference

Here is the finished version with the original raw –and freshly cast one. The white is hiding the shine of the underlying silver very efficiently…

Then it was time to bend the gold wire, which took a little trial and error since it had to bend in two different directions and fit perfectly before I could solder it on. It’s always somewhat nerve wrecking to work with gold since it’s such a darned expensive material –approximately 40 times more expensive than silver! In order not to let any of it go to waste, you collect the filing dust on a sheet of paper as you work and save it for later cash-in.

After soldering the gold on and etching, the ring looks finished in shape, but awfully dull –the white zombie-look from the freshly cast version is back.

So, into the vile-smelling oxidization-bath (only to be done outside, in spite of the rain pouring down) and out comes something almost as dull looking, but now darker.

I love the transformation that happens when the final polishing sets in. It’s a bit like my childhoods magic markers –I t looks horrible, and all of a sudden, magic happens! Same here –Silver starts to shine and the item in my hands turns into a gorgeous piece of jewelry. Here it is (to the right) together with the original (to the left)

Nice, isn’t it?

If you want to buy the original, you can do so here. The “naked” version, without any gold or oxidization is here.

This story has an add-on:
Sadly, my customer experienced a terrible mishab: One of the bigger golden balls fell off! Obviously I hadn't been soldering it thoroughly enough and of cause took it back immediately to change it. Then we atsrted chatting again. perhaps a few more changes, now I was at it anyways? Another structure? Even a stone? Eventually, she decided on a cool champagne colored diamond in a tube setting and a very special allmost fur-like structure to the surface. What a customer! Here is the end result:

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