Not long after the covid-19 travel ban was lifted in most European countries, I was contacted by a young couple that wanted to design and make their own engagement ring and wedding bands. This international duo who initially met while traveling, were already in Europe and came to Florence (Italy) for a jewelry making workshop… with masks on!
Even though neither had previous experience in jewelry making or metalsmith work, with a little bit of assistance, Makela and Andres were able to create 2 practice rings, 2 wedding bands, and an engagement ring featuring a peridot gemstone, all in sterling silver.
In preparing for the workshop, Makela sent me some image examples of jewelry that they liked, and they purchased the stone that she wanted to use in the engagement ring. With the goal of producing wedding bands that are not so traditional, the desired effect was to create an organic pattern and texture. I supplied some scraps of metal mesh and window screen to create impressions on the silver sheet by annealing the metal, sandwiching it between 2 brass plates and passing it through the rolling mill.
The silver sheet was then precisely cut to measure, filed, and sanded. Then it was annealed again, shaped into the ring form, soldered, sanded, and polished on the buffing wheel. For the engagement ring, the band was formed, and to save time, a pre-made basket setting was soldered onto the band. The faceted peridot was then set in the prongs. This technique is not for a novice, but with a little assistance, the ring was completed.
This non-traditional approach to exchanging wedding bands combines the design interaction and learning experience of the couple with the satisfaction of knowing that something completely personal and unique was created by their own hands and shared with each other.
Find out more about bespoke jewelry workshops and courses with me in Florence, Italy.