Tag Archives: handmade jewelry

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

Making Peace and Love Earrings!

Peace and love? That’s a tall order for an earring. But these aren’t your everyday earrings, and I’ll tell you why.
I typically work out designs on paper and then create them at my workbench, changing things up as I go along. It’s an efficient way to work, and works pretty well for me. Other times, I take the luxurious route, one in which I allow the materials to speak for themselves, and very often these are my most inspired designs. A moment like this was gifted to me recently. I gazed upon the materials strewn across my bench and picked up some simple silver jump rings. If anyone out there has ever made jewelry, you will understand that jump rings are an integral part of jewelry-making. They do everything from creating connections between two elements all the way up to becoming a center-stage design element.
This time, I was inspired to intertwine the two rings and solder them to a “stick” of silver that would create a long, dangle earring. I grabbed my pencil and scratched out the idea before it was gone…then scanned my bench to see what else I needed to bring this idea to life. I already had the silver jump rings. Then I spotted several lengths of square wire that had been bent into an arc – these were meant for another earring design I hadn’t yet completed. Easy prey, they would soon be sacrificed to the new idea. My thought was to get this prototype soldered together to see if it would work – THEN I would make it from proper materials. Next…the soldering station.

Soldering setup for silver earrings (c) Nancy Lee

The image above shows the slightly tricky setup for the earrings. The arced square wire is laying flat, with one of the two rings already soldered to it. The next soldering operation is in the works, with the inner ring snug against the end of the square wire. It really wasn’t hard to do once I got the rings to stop slipping off of the square wire. The tension of the jump rings ultimately helped to grasp the square wire and hold the assembly in place. With the aid of some T-pins and honeycomb block, I was able to secure the soldering assembly into a softer soldering surface below. The rest was easy.
After the earrings were soldered, I tumble-polished them using stainless steel shot, which gave them a high glow and very sturdy feel even though they look quite delicate. Then I did a “test-dangle,” to make any final adjustments to the earrings. This is when I discovered the symbolic “peace” element I had inadvertently created! Can you see it? Enjoy!

Peace and Love Sterling Silver Earrings (c) Nancy Lee 2013 all rights reserved

Special Holiday Hours and Events at Nancy Lee Designs

Here are the Holiday Hours for Nancy Lee Designs Studio:
Wednesdays 5-9 PM
Saturdays 12-4 PM
Gentleman’s Night (and Ladies, too)
Wed., Dec. 19 from 4-9 PM
free gift wrapping, hot cider and chocolates
Special Event on
Fri., Dec. 21 from 5-8 PM
Other galleries in Complex will be open. A potion of the proceeds from this evenings sales will be donated to Heifer International.
You may also schedule an appointment. Use the “Contact Me” Tab on the left of your screen to send me a quick email request.
Click here for a MAP!
1125 Brookside Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46202

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