Tag Archives: gemstone

Making a Sterling Silver Ring with Vintage Jade Stone

Sometimes, handmade jewelry names itself. This is one of those instances. The gemstone is a vintage piece of jade that I took out of an old setting. I wanted to fabricate a ring that was bold and had a vintage quality with a modern edge.
First came the setting (not pictured), then the triple ring shank. This shank is a bit tricky to solder. First, you make three rings, each the same size. Then you solder the three rings together on one side. A sturdy soldering setup is key. Here I used broken pieces of ceramic flameproof block pinned to a soft soldering block to keep them from moving. The rings are wedged in place and soldered. Mine still slipped a bit when heated, but I was able to gently move them back into place with my soldering pick.

Triple ring shank for Cake ring
The completed ring shank, pickled and cleaned up.

After the ring was soldered, pickled and cleaned up (above) it was time to level the top of the ring a bit in order to create a flat place for the setting. This would facilitate a good seat for soldering the two pieces together.

Cake ring, after soldering the shank to the setting

It’s important to check the setting from all angles, to assure that the shank and the setting are centered properly before soldering. The above photo shows the ring after soldering and before pickling.

Cake ring, after applying the blackening patina

After all soldering and finishing work are completed, I applied Silver Black to darken the entire ring. Then I set the stone. At this point, the ring got it’s name: Cake! It looked like a fancy, decorated cake to me. No matter that it was green.

Cake ring, after setting the gemstone

After setting the stone, I polished back some of the patina to let a bit of the silver shine through.

Jade Cake Ring, on hand


Completed Jade Cake Ring

Twenty-five years – a family journey

The best part of what I do is to help people bring their dreams to life in metal. Recently I had an opportunity to create jewelry for a special occasion within my own family – a 25th anniversary memento. But I was coming up dry…
The story begins with my younger sisters’ college graduation. She moved from home base in Central Illinois to a suburb of Chicago. A few months after she got settled, our mom decided a visit was in order, and invited my older sister and me to accompany her.  That was November, 1986.
Our visits since then have encompassed trips to Urgent Care, the ER, post surgical care, stories of marriages and children, dinner, deaths, lunches, brunches, cookies and Cosmos, and before you could say John Robinson, twenty-five years had passed.  To my metalsmith’s mind, a journey this terrific deserved a commemorative piece of jewelry!

With weeks turning into days, I hadn’t come up with an idea I was excited about. But that night, just as I was preparing for bedtime, an image of interlocking rings appeared to me. This was it! I quickly sketched it out and fell asleep.

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The night before I was to leave, I started on the intertwining circle pendant. Four pendants to be exact: one for my mother, my two sisters, and me. At the bench, our story unfolded in my hands.  Sixteen circles lay before me, each soldered into an individual, perfect round shape. But something was missing. Life! I grabbed my two-pound forging hammer and tapped dings and dents into each of the rings – bumps along life’s path.
Cut open again, the circles were then able to be linked into groups of four rings and soldered. One ring for each of us, four rings per pendant. No matter what happened we would always be welded together. The following morning, I added a triangular shaped cubic zirconium gemstone inspired by our mom, mother of three daughters, the spark that created us and keeps us together. No time to make a chain, so I threaded each pendant onto a length of white satin ribbon. Packed in tiny handmade paper boxes and little gift bags, I started my journey to Illinois.

That evening, we broke from tradition and had an impromptu dinner at my sister’s kitchen table. Gifts were busted out, and I am pleased to say that the pendants were a hit, sparking stories and emotions that will live with each of us for a very long time. Hopefully, forever!