5 Cast Elements – Ring Series

Part of the course brief was to cast 5 of the same element and make some jewellery with them. This could be 5 in 1 making a bracelet or pendant, or could be a few different individual pieces. I decided to create a series of 5 rings using my cast faceted element. Below are some sketches of the ideas I had.

I designed the faceted pod in CAD and then 3D printed this at home, working out the exact size I was after. Although the CAD program tells you what size the piece is as you’re deigning it, I seem to work way better with the program if I can have the physical copy instead of trying to gauge it with a ruler in my hand and visualising the size. At the time I was experimenting with this, the college 3D printer was broken and I’d already 3D printed a couple of designs from the college printer which I didn’t like. However, using my printer doesn’t give a great finish. It’s perfect for what I need it to do but a lot of clean up is needed before or after if using the piece for casting.

I super glued a brass rod to the plastic piece to create the wax injection chamber then proceeded to make a rubber mould so that I’d be able to cast multiples (as I need 5 identical pieces). I then wax injected the mould which turned out great and sprued up my tree and had it cast.



The castings were in pretty bad shape, purely because of the 3D printed texture on them. However, using a vice and large file, I pinned the facets into the vice one at a time and filed the surfaces flat which made the pieces look miles better. I then began making my series of rings.

I originally wanted to set some flush settings into a couple of the rings with black and yellow 2mm and 2.5mm C.Z’s, however, I’d only done 5 of these previously and didn’t feel confident doing this without a backup ring in place. Also with time running out, I decided to leave this idea for now but may revisit it later down the line. My other thoughts were to oxidise areas and keum boo others. I’m not a fan of keum boo though so felt this was taking me down a style that didn’t fit my own. My final idea was to set pops of resin to the rings but I didn’t want to rush this with the exhibition approaching and decided for the sake of time and wanting the rings displayed at the exhibition, I’d give them a polish and leave them clean and simple. I’m happy with the results, I think the rings are a lovely design but would like to add a pop of colour later on.

I also granulated some silver then filed these to have a faceted appearance. I soldered these to a couple of the ring shanks. The ring shanks and stems were all given a hammered texture finish also using a ball pein hammer. Below is a little video of 4 of the completed rings in action.





3D Printing

I recently won some funding through a competition that was set up by Bridge 2 Business and funded by the John Mather’s Trust. I’ve been working with Bridge 2 Business since I began my Jewellery course at City of Glasgow college when I found them at the Freshers’ Fair (good thing I went!). With some of the funding I planned to purchase a 3D printer and after doing a lot of research, emailing people and companies, I finally decided to make the purchase. I found the ‘Dremel 3D Idea Builder 3D20’ on cooksongold. I set up the printer, which was fairly quick and easy. I then gave it a test run. The video below is of a pre-setting of a large dice within the printer. This took 20 minutes to print which is good for the size I think. The bottom and top of the dice didn’t print properly due to the printing platform being slightly too high, however, after a little adjusting the printer prints fine now.


After then registering my printer to the website and downloading the software I was able to link up my own STL files from working in Rhino to see the quality of small scale, detailed as well as simple designs.

After some testing I found my small and detailed pieces didn’t come out that great, but this also allowed me to see just how big/small my pieces were going to be, which is what I seem to really need the help with! The printer worked great on some frames I’ve been working on and again, allows me to see the size of everything. I can now edit the designs in Rhino, save them as an STL file and send them over to the printer.

I’ll be printing many more concepts out in order to finalise designs; sizes, shape etc. This machine, despite the finish of smaller pieces not always being fantastic, can really help me get my bearings which is exactly what I wanted it for. I will save money in the long-term as now when I send a file off to shapeways I know exactly what I’m getting back. Exciting times ahead!






Making Tools

We will soon begin flush stone settings at college and in order to do them we need certain stone setting tools, such as a burnisher. This is what I’ve made below.


I was given a wooden handle and an old drill bit and I simply had to put the two together. I secured the wooden handle in a vice which already had a small hole in it. I placed the broken drill bit faced down into the handle and used a mallet to hammer it into place.

I had to give the end of the burnisher a slight point, so I used the grinder and rotated the end against the grinder creating the point. I haven’t made it too pointy but can tweak it if need be when it comes to flush setting. I then gave the tip a polish to remove any tarnish.


Reticulating onto copper & Using Resin

A quick video demonstrating how I make a little series of pendants, earrings, rings e.t.c. Here I reticulate silver chips (not solder) onto copper and also use resin and dyes to colour it.

I wanted to pick up on a technique I  have been using since starting the NC course; Reticulation. This technique creates a texture I love however back in the NC I could only melt the silver, not actually reticulate it. Working with metal was completely new for me then so there was a lot of experimenting, learning and figuring things out. I ended up combining silver and copper, melting the silver over the copper, hiding the copper almost entirely with just a very small amount of silver being used and leaving a stunning reticulated finish. I fell in love with this technique and have continued to use this in my work throughout the last couple of years both in my college pieces, as well as my personal work.

Below are some close-ups of the results of this technique. I am contemplating whether this will become part of my final designs’ texture. It does seem to relate to a lot of textures I’ve found in stone walls and pavements so can easily relate to The Street brief. More development is needed in my designs first however before making any decisions.


Scrap Silver – Nugget Rings

Not college project related, but here’s a little video making what I call ‘Nugget rings’ (not the most creative name I know!) I had some scrap [pieces of wire, not long enough to make a ring shank and I wasn’t really sure what to do with them. That’s how this ring style came to be. Waste no more scrap silver! 🙂

More college project related videos on the way soon!


Videos – The Next Level?

Colin made a very interesting point last week; taking pictures of your hand made creations is just not enough anymore. The next stage now seems to be little videos, a speedy version of the making process of a piece.

I love this idea and have wondered for some time now how it is done after last years lecturer Lisa showed the class a video of a jeweller making some wooden jewellery pieces. It turns out a simple video/pic app is all you need! So I did a little search and found an app called PicPac with good ratings so decided to give it a go. I ended up loving this app as it’s so simple to use (so far!) so decided to give it a go. Maybe when potential customers see a video of the process they can appreciate the price more.

Here I am making some simple, cactus pendants. They are not quite finished, as they need more polishing and I’d like to add some liver of sulphur.

This is the result of my first attempt at making a little video; Making a cactus pendant.

This video is about 50 seconds long. This isn’t too bad, I can upload it to YouTube and Vimeo and Instagram has extended their video play to 60 seconds. Perfect fit! Could work on the angles but balancing a camera around your workbench and whatnot is rather tricky. Looking forward to making the next one!