Saturday, January 23, 2010

Don’t you just love rubies?

Red, passionate and with a very special sparkle to them. These stones, actually more rare than diamonds and a kind of sapphire are considered special by many –including me. So, when I got hold of this fantastic large (almost 8 mm in diameter) round cut ruby from Mozambique, I felt inclined to produce something special, and so I did (well, I think at least). Here’s the somewhat lengthy process, reminding quite a lot of the Silver flames ring.

I started out with the bezel. It was important to me, that the brim to be pushed over the stone was fine silver, to ensure a snug and secure fit. However, I also wanted to be sure that the tall setting I wanted was sturdy enough to withstand quite a lot of pressure, and so I created an outer layer of 0,4 mm fine silver and shaped into a cone using my bezel block.

Now I made a preliminary sketch of where I approximately wanted to go. I often change the design as I work and so it also happened here.

Once I was sure it would fit the ruby, I created a smaller cone of 0,5 mm sterling silver to be fit inside the outer one for the shoulder to carry the stone on. After a lot of fitting, filing and refitting, it was perfect and I soldered the two cones together:

After grinding the shoulders to a perfect sloped fit, I started working the ring shank. When I had hammered the 4 mm thread and started cutting it, I decided to split one of the ends into two and cut off bits and pieces along the shank to give it it's "grown" nature. Of cause that also meant quite a lot if filing...

Then a thorough annealing (the silver was VERY hard from the planishing)

I spread the two ends and filed them roundish before shaping the ring shank, using the bezel as a guide and trying it on again and again as I worked.

Here the basic shape is finished.

Now I wanted to give it life, let it look almost grown, by adding the tube settings and balls of silver and gold. This part is enormously fiddly and so I forgot to take pictures along the way, but here I have finished all the soldering and filing and have just set the large ruby (sorry about the blurry picture).

The end result after oxidizing with LOS and polishing was sumptuous and very special indeed.

I am really very happy to see how my designs start to become more and more distinct and bold while keeping the romantic flow of Art Nouveau.