by Rhonda Johnson.
My grandson requested a custom ring for his 19th birthday, and wanted to pick out a stone from my collection. Although I’ve set stones, and experimented with many aspects of metal smithing, I’d not embraced the challenge of designing a ring.
It took a grandson’s wish to force me to overcome fear of failure. And I did!
For this design, I used Argentium® for the following: bezel, #4 low dome shank, 24 gauge sheet for the platform, hard solder pallion for the bezel, and medium solder pallions for the platform.
I didn’t have Argentium® easy solder on hand. Instead, I used sterling soft paste solder for the shank.
The dendritic quartz has been in my stone collection for many years, and presented a design challenge, due to the way it was cut. It has curvature on the bottom and didn’t seat flat in the bezel.
When burnishing the ring, small fold-like warps appeared where the stone’s bottom edge sat above the base inside the bezel. I thought the ring was ruined.
My husband, a metal smith for over 50 years, encouraged me to continue burnishing, and to use my polishing wheel. To my surprise, the folds disappeared and the ring turned out wonderfully.