Alphabet Rivet Ring

Welcome to my new adventures in metalwork! I'm learning lessons at a fast and furious pace and I'll share what has worked and not worked along the way. This is the first ring I've made at home on my own. It's based on a basic cigar band style sterling silver ring project from a book on jewelry making (Mixed Metal Mania by Kim St. Jean).

I ordered a 24 gauge strip of silver online and began cutting and shaping it for the project. It felt so lightweight that I couldn't imagine it was ring-worthy. I checked the package and sure enough, although I ordered 24 gauge silver, I got 30 gauge! Since I'd already cut it, it was kind of late to get bent out of shape on getting shilled out of some silver, so I focused on saving my project. I decided to cut a matching strip of copper and rivet the stamped silver to the top of the copper ring. I cut a cigar-band shape from copper to match the one I'd cut from the silver. Next I stamped the silver with random letters. Then I taped the two together so I could drill holes for my copper nail head rivets. Riveting commenced after that. Oddly enough, a riveting hammer is the best tool for this job!

And we have ringage! I learned that your rivets cannot be too tall--cut them to 1-2mm beyond the width of the pieces and no more. Also make sure they fit snugly in the hole. I soaked the ring in liver of sulphur to blacken the interior of the letters, then shiny-shined it with a polishing cloth.

This was my first metal stamping and I double impressed a couple of letters--boo! Firm blows with a heavy hammer, but if working with 30 gauge, not so firm that you cut right through the metal. Be parTICularly careful around the edges and don't stamp too closely to the edge (another lesson learned!).

I love this little ring already. Next up on the workbench, an enameled pair of earrings and an etched pendant (one each for the girls). Many more lessons will be learned the hard way! Below are the rings and things I composed in a class with Richard Salley at Art is You. It was my introduction to metalwork and now I've got the bug!