In a 3-hour jewelry making workshop with me, Pam learned how to make a convex ring in sterling silver with an opal cabochon stone setting. Pam makes jewelry and cuts precious stones, so she has some hands-on experience and wanted to learn a new technique. Her jewelry and lapidary work can be seen here. In fact, the opal was a stone she shaped and finished, and had been waiting for an application in which to feature the stone.
The ring fabrication begins with 1mm sterling silver sheet, cut according to the desired ring size and width, plus extra length to account for the convex curvature. This ring was tapered at the base, and therefore cut to accommodate this shape. Making a ring convex (domed) has the look of being a more hefty statement ring, making it the perfect unisex ring design. Doming the metal also gives it more structure, as an archway would for a door frame, allowing thinner metal to be used.
The next step is to sand the inside surface with a flexible shaft sander and the side edges of the ring, smoothed out on a rotary sander. To curve the ring into a convex shape, it must be annealed and cleaned again before being hammered into the steel dapping block. This step also makes the circumference smaller to match the ring size. Then, the exterior of the ring is sanded smooth finishing with 1000 grit sandpaper.
The bezel is made with fine silver bezel “wire,” fit around the stone and soldered carefully onto the ring. The base of the bezel must be sanded to fit the curve of the ring and the height of the bezel needs to be appropriate for the curved cut of the stone, just enough to hug the stone in place.
The ring was finished to a low-gloss shine in a magnetic tumbler. Lastly, the stone is set with a burnishing tool. This is the final product, finished in just around 3 hours:
For more examples of what can be made in a 3-hour jewelry workshop, see this link:
For longer courses, see: Jewelry Courses in Florence, Italy