Unstable ring: Stage 1

Currently at TAFE, we’ve been working on a concepts based brief titled Wabi Sabi Suki.” 

This is the first ring, that I’ve ever made, so I wanted to share with you (some of the excitement!) and a few progress shots of the first of two rings that I’m currently making. This one is titled “Unstable” and was actually inspired by the act of baking gooey, chocolate brownies, hehe.

The ring has been made from sterling silver – it only looks white and not the usual silver colour, because it’s been through the pickle (sulphuric acid solution) to clean off all the borax from the soldering process. This fine silver layer builds up on the surface after heating it and placing it in the pickle solution. But unfortunately this beautiful pearly white colour doesn’t last and will quickly rub or wear off after short while.

The reddish looking residue that you can see in some of the progress pictures, is a mixture of methylated spirits and rouge, painted on to stop existing solder joins from re-running. A life saver for this project!

At the beginning, I cut out a rectangular strip of silver, then used a mandrel and mallet to form it into a ring shank. I scraped out a curve from a charcoal block and soldered my silver tubes on this curve, then I soldered it onto the ring shank.

Unstable ring

I soldered the first of two flat plates onto the curved tubes and the ring shank…

Unstable ring

Then soldered more tubes on…

Unstable ring

And more tubes of different lengths, in all sorts of fancy angles… and added the second flat plate on top…

Unstable ring

Until, the final stage, where I cleaned off the rouge and bead blasted it. Afterwards I sent it off to get it plated in black rhodium. (Check out that big patch of fire scale (that grey shadow on the top plate) that I’m so lucky to not have to clean off, because the black rhodium will cover it completely, hohohohohoho.)

Fire scale builds up in sterling silver, after the heating process. From my understanding, the copper content in the sterling silver reacts with the oxygen from the orca torch and leaves a grey “shadow” just below the surface. It can only be removed from filing and or emerying the shadow out.

Unstable ring

The finished ring! 

Oooooooooh. I filed off the black rhodium from a few tubes, to reveal a subtle shimmer of the sterling silver.

What do you think of “unstable”? Share with us in the comments section below!


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