21 Jul 2011

Make it: at The London Jewellery School

So last night I went to try my hand at making her own Silver Ring!  Being an avid Silver jewellery collector that I am, I thought it was about time I tried my hand at it!

So I took a voucher that I got from the Timeout Deal of the day and turned up at the London Jewellery School which is based in East London, in an unassuming office block, which looks more industrial than Creative.  But then how wrong could I be, beneath the surface of the block, is corridors full of creative businesses, including my base for the night!

I ran a little late, but the teacher soon got me up to speed.  We started by winding wire around our fingers to get a rough idea of size, we had to loop around the finger we wanted to make the ring for 1 3/4 times as we were making a scroll ring rather than a joined ring.  Then using a piercing saw we cut our strip of silver to the desired length and then began the first of many times we would file the metal, this one was to take off the sharp edges (safety first people!)  It reminded me of making a wooden pencil case at school and my teacher making me sand down the box for weeks!  luckily we had 3 hours and had to get going!

So then we had to heat the metal with a small blowtorch until it went pink, which is a process called to anneal the metal (from what I could get, this made it pliable so that we could bend and pattern it).  Then it was dipped in water, acid and then water again and we could begin to put a pattern onto the silver.  Some people went for a pattern which involved pressing a piece of lace or copper shape onto the metal by putting it through a large roller!  I decided on using one of the patterned hammers which gave me a bashed metal effect.  Then it was back to annealing and the water, acid and water again to help us for the next step.

For this type of ring you then polish the straight metal before you make the ring as it will be easier to polish before it’s in a round.  If you were making a joined ring, this would be the last thing you would do.  You could polish it up to a high shine on the rolling mill or make it matt, by rubbing it with sand paper, yes really it’s that easy!  I decided to make mine matt, but of course I was the only one, everyone else went for the high polish effect.  I have to be different!

The last step is to make the sliver into a ring.  You make the basic round (or oval in my case) shape with some pliers and make it into a spiral, trying to keep the spiral as close to each other as much as possible and keep it smaller than you need as it will get larger when you put the ring on a ring mandrel (the type of thing that you measure your ring size on) and start shaping it into a round by bashing it with a rubber hammer and trying to keep it in a close spiral as much as possible.  At this point you could leave it as a flat spiral or pull the metal spiral apart to make it staggered.

And voila, it really was that simple.  We all came away with a one of a kind silver ring.  Now the question is, how many times can I get away with making them as presents for my friends!

Live it. Love it. Make it
Heather

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