Monday, November 30, 2015

Spinner rings (part 2)

Wow, I completely underestimated the interest in my spinner ring designs, but I've been having a ton of fun working on new ideas. With the holidays in full swing now, I probably won't be able to do much in the way of custom designs, but this is just to post some new ones that should be making their way to my shop very soon.

Spinner ring designs with & without gemstones (bronze & copper combinations, sterling silver)

In the photo above you'll see 4 different rings: one is my classic 1/4" wide spinner in copper and bronze. At the back is a super-wide 1/2" cuff style in solid bronze (dimpled texture) with a smooth bronze spinning band. Back-right (leaning on the wide cuff) is a 3/8" wide hammered/dimpled copper inner band with a textured bronze spinning band and a 4mm round deep purple Swarovski crystal set in copper. In the front, center is a solid sterling silver 1/4" wide ring with each band having a different texture. The inner band has a somewhat unique dimpled texture while the spinning band has a scroll-y, elegant texture. The stone on the silver ring is a green tourmaline (3mm round).

Below is another view of the same 4 rings:

Spinner rings (top view)

If you like these, please keep an eye on my shop. At the very least, the originals should make it there before Christmas this year (2015). The plain bronze & copper 1/4" ring (bottom right in the photo above) is already available in my shop in just about any size you need! The other styles are coming soon!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Spinner rings!

I've been working on some new designs & learning some new techniques, and spinner rings were always something I wanted to make. I believed I already had the skills to do it, I just lacked one tool -- a large enough steel dapping punch to finish them off.  I finally was able to pick one up recently, and so my first order of business was to try making a spinner!

Spinner rings:  copper/bronze (left); sterling silver, rose gold fill & white gold fill(middle), solid copper (right)

My intial ring is made of solid copper -- the inner band and spinning bands are both solid, raw copper that's been given a texture (I used different textures for each band). They are soldered with medium silver solder for solid, strong joints -- that was the test, really -- could my solder joints withstand the hammering? Indeed, they can. Over the past few days, I've been able to create 3 different rings and I have so many ideas to expand on this design.

Solid, raw copper spinner ring

The copper ring went so well that I wanted to try sterling -- so the ring you see in the middle of the above photo was the next one to be made. I like the idea of making the spinning band out of wire, so I thought, why not hammer some 16 gauge 14k gold filled wire and make a pair of bands to go with the sterling? Originally I had wanted to do yellow and rose gold fill, but right now I have no 16 gauge yellow wire, but I have both white and rose, so I went with those. I gave the white a much more faceted appearance than the rose, so there's some contrast in textures, too. Another success!

Sterling silver, 14k rose & white gold filled spinner ring

How about two-tone? My endgame is to make an argentium & mokume ring for myself (if it works well, I will offer this design in my shop, perhaps by the holidays), but all of these rings are for practice before I go and attempt to work with the lovely copper & argentium mokume made by Shining Wave Metals.

Solid, raw bronze & copper spinner ring

Ultimately, I'd like to add cabochon settings to some of these and use rose-cut cabs and also personalize them by stamping the inner band with names or initials, perhaps wedding dates or other meaningful things. These would make lovely, very unique wedding rings & gifts!

More coming soon...

Monday, August 3, 2015

NEW colorful, custom chainmaille charm bracelets!

I've been asked to work on more than a few bracelets this year intended to be charm bracelets, so it got me thinking about offering something almost ready-to-wear/ship in my shop for the same purpose. I love the classic rose chain for a charm bracelet, so that's where I started!

Argentium silver & rainbow anodized titanium rose chain

Almost everyone who contacted me about a charm type bracelet was looking for some color, whether in mixed metals like sterling and gold or anodized titanium or aluminum. I'm not fond of aluminum, but I love working with anodized titanium.

I thought offering some less-common options would also be a neat idea, so I started working with bronze, a favorite metal of mine.

Bronze, steel & green/teal anodized titanium rose chain

Of course, these designs can be worn on their own and would look just as beautiful!

Argentium silver, anodized titanium & steel slightly modified rose chain

There's more to come, but for now, look for these designs in my shop HERE

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Anodized titanium rings & more

When I made the first of these rings, I had completely forgotten about using my good friend, the micro-torch, to anodize titanium. Yes, metalworking purists, I suppose you could say that such heat anodizing is sort of a poor-man's method, but there's something wonderful about the inconsistent color you can achieve this way. Each piece ends up being unique in its color pattern. Do it right, and you can even get color gradients from one end of the piece to the other. It's quite beautiful, really!

This spring I've been doing a lot of experimenting, which is why my blog has been quiet lately. I've been working on 2 very different new concepts:  chainmaille & leather designs, and anodized titanium. This post is devoted to the latter.

1/2 inch open cuff ring, heat anodized titanium with copper rivets

Titanium is such a unique metal. It's hard, but becomes brittle if you aren't careful. It's very, very strong, but so light weight that you might mistake it for plastic. And of course, it produces the most amazing colors just with the application of heat (ok, lots of heat... you won't be able to do this with an oven -- but I suppose a gas stove burner might work... maybe not too well, though).

The one thing you can't do with it is solder it. Not really. The "stuff" that produces the gorgeous colors is the same "stuff" that prevents solder from sticking to it. It's an oxide layer that changes the optical properties of the surface of the metal (I just knew all those physics classes I took in college would be useful one day! =P). You can weld it with special equipment, but I don't have any of that. Most of what I use is home-brewed, so... poor man's anodizing it is!

1/2 inch cuff ring, "rainbow" anodized titanium w/5 brass rivets

I'm working on some new ring designs that use this heat anodizing. I'm also just working at getting some of the many colors consistently. The blue & purple is one of the easiest. So is yellow/orange/bronze. I keep trying to get a good green color, but it's difficult. I may have to resort to setting up an electrical anodizing system for that. The above "rainbow" anodized ring was the result of an experiment in getting to the green color. The rainbow effect was so neat looking that I left it that way. The ring itself is quite rough, as I never really took the time to file the edges.

1/2 inch cuff ring, blue anodized titanium w/5 brass rivets (die pattern)

The half inch rings are huge, though, and there's something nice about simple designs. So, I'm working on some quarter inch wide bands with single rivets. The first one is a blue/purple anodizing (left somewhere in the halfway between the 2 colors stage, to a wonderful effect), with a single sterling silver rivet in the middle.

1/4 inch blue/purple anodized titanium ring w/sterling silver rivet

A closer look at the color of the narrower ring band:

1/4 inch blue/purple anodized titanium ring w/sterling silver rivet

Look for made-to-order customizable versions of some of these designs (maybe not the 5 rivet design, that one was done on special request) to land in my Etsy shop soon!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Riveted arrow open rings -- made to order, coming soon

Open arrow rings (copper, bronze, sterling)

The first of these rings was a special request from a customer looking for something very particular. It was a blend of a design currently in my shop and another design from elsewhere. The original ring design in my shop was a titanium rivet ring -- a minimalist design that is just a flat metal band with an open front and a single rivet on one side of the opening.

Original titanium rivet ring

 Though the original customer and I did not end up completing the deal (I didn't feel at the time that I could fully meet the request within the given budget). Eventually, I listed the rings created during those experiments in my shop, and of course, other potential customers asked about custom size versions of those rings.

Solid copper arrow rivet ring, distressed finish (the first one!)

Initially, I said no to these requests. Cutting the arrow shape (and getting it right) is a bit difficult, and I was never extremely happy with the result whether I used a saw or shears to do most of the cutting. Sizing these rings is also slightly difficult -- the rings require a template to make this part easier & allow me to create consistently-sized rings.

Sterling silver filled & copper arrow rivet ring, distressed finish

Originally, I created a template for a size 5 ring, only. It was almost pure luck that I got it right on the first attempt, but more recently, I decided to attempt to make a full set of templates for as many sizes as possible. I successfully created templates for sizes 4 through 10, including half sizes (except 9.5). These templates work so long as I'm working with the correct thickness of metal sheet to make the band. Going down a gauge or up a gauge results in a slight final size difference.

I really do like this ring design. It's striking. It's different. But it requires some precision in the cutting process, mostly on the arrow's tail portion. As you can see from the original 2 rings, I had a somewhat difficult time getting the cut clean, that is until recently, when I realized that I have a triangular-shaped file that can get into the point of the arrow tail and does a pretty good job of straightening the ugliest parts of the initial cut out.

Shiny bronze & copper arrow rivet ring

The above bronze & copper ring was made from my newly created set of templates. The arrow tail cut is clean, too. Overall, I was extremely pleased with this result!

I love making rivets by hand. I have a handy little tool that will set eyelets, but for some reason, I really enjoy hammering out a rivet head. I like the design possibilities I can achieve by using it as a decorative element and not just for cold-connecting two pieces of metal.

After successfully creating the bronze & copper ring shown above, I decided to test a couple of things:  1) see what happens if I use a thinner gauge metal sheet, and 2) see if my other size templates are as consistent.

Copper (patina) & sterling silver arrow rivet ring

Wow. The combination of the patina on the copper sheet and the sterling silver rivet is gorgeous! This made me start thinking... I need to apply this kind of patina (and others) to solid sterling, bronze, and play with both the rivet as a design element and the patterns I can create on the surface of the metal.

Look for a new line of rings based on this design to hit my shop in the next couple of months!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

New for Spring: "Duality" chainmaille designs

I've spent some time lately thinking about what sets my chainmaille apart from the chainmaille made by others, and one of the things that came to mind is my ability to put different finishes on the metals, either pre or post-weaving. Over the past few years, I have spent an almost inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to refine the surface of the rather rough titanium I start with, so that I can achieve a higher quality polished look on the finished pieces, and in that process, I discovered how to do some other things. For one, I figured out how to put an absolutely amazing shine on almost any kind of metal (titanium is STILL difficult), but also I discovered how to get a very nice satin finish as well. It isn't quite sandblasting, but it's close enough!

In light of this little epiphany that I had, I have come up with a new set of chainmaille designs for this Spring. I call them "duality". These designs will feature not just multiple metals, but also multiple FINISHES on those metals.

The first piece I made like this was for a custom order for a customer who asked for a steel and titanium full persian chain (continuous). He wanted it with satin finished titanium and polished steel to help make the two similarly colored metals contrast more. The results were not bad, but with the color of steel & titanium so close, that was to be expected.

Steel & titanium continuous full persian

A closeup of the test chain shows the difference a little better:

Polished steel & satin titanium full persian, close up

I took this concept a little further with the first of my new Duality pieces. To start, I opted to work with some polished steel, polished copper and polished bronze along with satin titanium and satin brass.

Polished steel & satin finished brass full persian

The results have been excellent! There are 3 new designs thus far, and I intend to make more & offer more custom options for each.

Polished bronze & satin titanium 16 gauge byzantine

The possibilities are virtually endless...

Polished copper & satin titanium half persian

The first pieces are coming to my Etsy shop today, Feb 5, 2015, with more to come!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Celtic amulets, finally perfected!

I wish I could say that this design was 100% original, but I was inspired by a circular celtic-looking pendant I saw elsewhere online. I liked the design, but had ideas of my own based on it. More specifically, I really wanted to put a stone in the middle of a similar design, and possibly change the shape of the Celtic part in the middle.

The first version was just working the bugs out -- testing ring sizes, arrangements, etc.

Celtic pendant - 1st version

I liked this one, but it did not have a large enough hole in the center to really put a stone. So, I kept playing with ring sizes and the alignment of the center components. The next version was similar to this one, but also included a new part of the experiment:  a wire-wrapped gemstone.

Celtic pendant - 2nd version w/wire-wrapped stone
Still not 100% pleased, I kept working. The next one I made again with no stone, but this time out of sterling silver, thinking I had nailed the base design. Not so ...

Celtic pendant - version 3 (sterling)
This time, I did get ONE thing right -- the center hole is larger & potentially big enough to fit a more traditionally set gemstone. But the celtic knot parts are still too twisted looking for my liking. I wanted something that looks definitively celtic, retains its shape, and has enough space in the middle for a stone.

The next version is where I really thought I was there, and really... it was close. Very close. I made this one in solid brass with a bronze outer ring and a center gemstone (6mm white topaz set in sterling silver).

Celtic pendant - version 4 w/6mm bezel set white topaz
The knot parts are cleaner (but not clean enough), and the space and tension are right to hold the stone in the middle without it twisting or wobbling. At first, I thought this one was it. But no ... my experiments had one more golden egg to lay ...

Celtic pendant - version 5 - THE WINNER!
Version 5 is exactly what I originally set out to create. In the end, the center stone is an 8mm round stone (in the photo, it's a mystic topaz) in a sterling silver bezel setting, and I finally figured out how to stabilize the celtic components in the center in just the right way to get the look I was after. It's made out of mostly jeweler's brass with some bronze.

Now that I know exactly what size rings are needed for each part of the piece, I can re-create it in any metal I want! The first 4 versions of this pendant are in my Etsy shop for sale. They're still beautiful, and version 4 will probably be reproduced in other metals, too, as well as be available for custom orders with different metals (mixed, too) and different stones. It's still beautifully Celtic-looking, too.

Look for version 5 to appear in my Etsy shop very, very soon! ^_^ In the meantime, here's version 4 and 5 side by side (please forgive the last 2 photos in this post -- they were NOT taken with my usual higher-quality DSLR camera).

Versions 4 and 5, side by side

Sunday, January 11, 2015

NEW 14k gold filled celtic knot rings!

One of my most popular items is my wire-and-chainmaille inspired triangular celtic knot ring. Originally, I only offered this design in sterling silver, but last year I added a bronze version to my shop, and now, I'm happy to announce that I now will be offering a 14k gold filled version, too!

Celtic knot rings in sterling, bronze, and 14k gold filled

The gold filled version is available in my Etsy shop HERE

Celtic knot rings in bronze, 14k gold filled & sterling silver

Celtic knot ring in sterling silver:  HERE

Celtic knot ring in bronze:  HERE (smooth finish) or HERE (hammered finish)

Custom metals are also a possible option, so if you'd like this design in solid 10 or 14k, please contact me for a price & timeframe.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bracelet sizing

I've had a few issues with folks not being sure what size bracelet they need, depending on the style of bracelet, so this post is to help you measure your wrist (or use an existing bracelet that fits) to figure out what size to order in a particular style.

Step 1: Read the listing of the bracelet you want!

I always explain any sizing anomalies in my listings -- for example, heavy gauge byzantine bracelets usually need 1/4 inch to a full inch added to your wrist measurement for proper fit. Be sure to read the listing for this information, you will need it once you know what your wrist measurement is.

Step 2:  Measure your wrist OR check the length of one of your existing, properly fitting bracelets

Sometimes its easy to just use what you have on hand -- if you don't have a flexible tape measure (the soft, super flexible kind used by sewing folks work best), then grab your best-fitting bracelet and a ruler OR a household hardware-store type tape measure.


To measure your wrist, get a tape measure (the kind you use for household measuring will be fine -- they are usually metal and not as flexible, but it'll do the job if necessary -- the best kind are the fabric-like ones that tailors use to measure things like inseam, waist size, etc).

Wrap the tape measure around your wrist snugly, but not super tight. It should be just barely touching your skin all the way around. Record this measurement -- this is your wrist size (preferably in inches!).


If you want to measure a bracelet you already have, the easiest way to do it is with a ruler & gravity. Take your bracelet and grab it by the clasp and let it hang in the air vertically. Hold your ruler up against it such that the tip of the clasp is on the first line on the "inches" part of the ruler (if your ruler only has metric measurements, that's fine too -- these can be converted to inches). Record the measurement where the tail end of the bracelet lands on the opposite end of the ruler. That's your current bracelet size.


Step 3:  Put it all together and figure out the correct size

Now we go back to step 1 -- reading the listing. Most of my listings make a suggestion to add a certain amount of extra length to an existing bracelet size OR wrist size. I usually recommend that you take your snug wrist measurement and add a half inch (for comfort and to make it easier to put the bracelet on or take it off) for bracelets that fit true-to-size (these are the very flat kind of bracelets). Some listings will suggest adding a certain amount to a wrist measurement -- these suggestions already account for that extra half inch I just mentioned.

Since that sounds a little confusing and complicated, let's look at some examples.

Example 1:  You want a 14 gauge byzantine bracelet, and you have an existing simple jewelry-store bought figaro chain bracelet that's 7 inches long. 14 gauge byzantine usually needs a whole inch added to your current size for a proper fit. So, you'd add an inch to that 7 inch bracelet length, and order an 8 inch bracelet.

Example 2:  You want a 14 gauge byzantine bracelet, and you just measured your wrist snugly at 7 inches. Here's where that extra half inch comes in -- if your wrist measures a snug 7 inches, you'll want to add the half inch for a normal bracelet, which brings you to 7.5 inches, and then add the extra 1 inch for a 14 gauge byzantine chain, so you would order your bracelet at 8.5 inches.

Still have questions? Ask before you order!

I will always gladly tell you what size bracelet you need based on the information mentioned above -- either tell me what size your bracelets currently are or give me a wrist measurement (and how you like your bracelets to fit, looser or tighter), and I'll tell you what size you should order. Because many of my bracelets' prices depend on length, please ASK  before you order!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New designs & unique pieces coming soon!

I'm in the process of listing a bunch of new pieces made during the holidays. There's a lot of new wire work designs, some chainmaille & wire work mixes, and some pearl designs, too!

Emerald, aquamarine & copper cluster ring

Sterling & Swarovski crystal star rose bracelet

Stay tuned for more!