I recently had the pleasure of creating a custom order for a friend who happened across a picture of some rings I had posted on my Facebook page, JudysTreehouse.
I was a little nervous going into production as it had been a while since I had made these and hadn’t made many in the past. I also wanted to add a little something extra special for her to the design.
Handcrafting jewelry usually results in each item being unique and different. Depending on the design, you may not always get an exact duplicate of something you’ve made in the past. You can try to replicate a piece but usually they come out with slight differences. This is what makes handmade pieces so unique and special. Then there are those “oops moments” when you unintentionally mess something up; cut a piece to short, make a wonky wrap, break a bead, snap a wire, etc. So, I decided to make two rings, just in case.
The first step was to cut the band. I used 20 gauge copper. After the cut, I then sanded the piece to smooth the edges, top and bottom.
The next step was applying the design I wanted to etch into the metal.
Etching the metal takes patience and practice. Sometimes an air bubble can ruin your design. Leaving the metal in the solution too long can result in the metal becoming too thin for the project. Not leaving it in long enough can leave you with a partial uneven design or not enough of the design showing through. In this case, it turned out perfect!
Applying the patina is my favorite part of the process. I used a butane torch to heat the metal to create the patina. As you can see, each piece turned out entirely different. This is another process where patience and practice develops your skill level. I absolutely love the colors that developed in each of the bands.
The next step was shaping the band around the ring mandrel. Using a rubber or rawhide mallet keeps the metal from being damaged. Hammering the metal not only gives it the desired shape and ring size but it also strengthens the metal helping it to maintain its form.
I knew my customer wanted a light blue rose but I wanted to consult with her on the band color since they were both so different. She chose the one on the left in the above photo.
The next step was to wire wrap the stone to the ring. Again, wrapping the wire and getting a secure fit takes time and practice. I started on the ring she hadn’t chosen because I wanted to practice my wrap and determine the wire design.
I was happy with the design and set out on the ring for Dianalynne. It came out perfectly…….BUT………. To help tighten and secure the wire, I had taken my pliers to the wire wrap on the underside of the band to give the wire a little twist. My pliers slipped and I gouged the wire! The wire was damaged but still secure and appeared to be sturdy enough…….BUT…….it did not meet the standards of quality I do my best to attain with each of my creations.
I was so devastated. The initial wire wrap had turned out so perfectly! I was afraid a second attempt wouldn’t turn out as well. I had to put the ring down and just walk away from it. So, I went shopping. But, all I could think about was the ring and how I wanted to handle the situation. I came up with a few thoughts, bounced them off of my husband but in the end I knew what I had to do.
I had to believe in myself and my abilities. So, I removed the damaged wire and set to rewrapping the ring……..and low and behold it turned out beautifully.
I was happy with myself and I had one happy customer.
I still have the other blue ring available for purchase. It is a size 7. I have not listed it in my Etsy shop, but if you are interested you can contact me and I will create a custom order for you.
I’m out of blue gemstone roses and my original supplier no longer has them in stock. But I do have many other colors in my stash and anticipate more rose rings coming soon to Judystreehouse.
Sometimes you just have to trust in yourself. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.