Well, it’s 11pm and I’ve just finished my first piece on the first day of my challenge.
I took what I thought would be an easy option for my first day (little did I know!) – part of one half of a ring shank, which had been slightly flattened and put away because I liked the pattern on it.
Part of the bezel was still there, although it was very deformed, and the other end had been roughly cut as well.
Well, my first job was to flatten it with a hide hammer on one of my small anvils. It was difficult to get 100% flat because of the raised pattern, but I think I managed it pretty well after quite a bit of hammering. Next, I marked the end as a curve and then cut and filed it smooth. The old bezel was straightened and filed down, then I filed the inner curve larger to be able to fit the new bezel.
I had a Swarovski rivoli gem (in Light Vitrail) which I wanted to use. I made my bezel using square wire soldered into a ring with scalloped edged bezel wire on top (to give the extra height I needed as well as the square wire holding the bottom of the rivoli gem in place). Having forgotten that the bezel wire was pure Silver and not Sterling, I spent a little while having fun with the soldering before pickling everything and then depletion guilding the wire before soldering again. I then soldered a jump ring to the top and the bezel to the silver ring shank.
I made my first cold-connection bail for this. First, I soldered three balls on the bail and then sanded them flat; this echoed the three circles in the pattern on the ring shank. I used a cut-down headpin (from my scrap tin) as the pin and a sterling silver crimp bead for the pin to go through in the middle of the bail.
A quick turn in the pickle pot and then into the tumbler (after a good wash!) for about an hour. I set the rivoli gem with the aid of some beeswax to hold the piece steady. I think I’ll give it a better polish tomorrow – I hate trying to get a good finish when it’s dark or under artificial light.
Anyway, here’s the finished product. Okay it’s not much of a change for the poor old ring shank, but at least it’s out of the scrap box and into the jewellery box!