Sunday, September 6, 2009

Blog Carnival: First Piece of Metalsmithed Jewelry

The very first piece of finished metalsmithed jewelry I made may have been this piece. It is certainly from my first class. My mother has another piece I made which may have been slightly earlier, and I was unable to photograph it, so I'll talk about this ring.
What did it mean to you?
This ring would have been one of the first times I worked in sterling silver and I remember being terrified of making a mistake. I had purchased a very small piece of sterling silver sheet and making a mistake meant driving an hour to only local store I knew of that sold jewelry supply.
What materials?
This ring is made with 20 gauge sterling silver sheet, a purchased prong setting, and a blue faceted stone (I don't know what stone). The assignment was to make a band ring.
Were you in class/home?
I took my first metals class as an undergraduate at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. I was a Theatre Arts major and looking to take an art class as an elective. I saw "Beginning Jewelry Design" in the coarse catalog and didn't hesitate. I didn't even read the description, and when I showed up for class, I remember being slightly surprised that I would be working with metal. My instructor was Sue Dorman who talked about materials as if she were in a dream. I loved it.
What would you do different now to it?
Oh, so many things! If I was making this ring again, it probably wouldn't resemble this ring, but if I had to re-make it to do so, I'd use much thicker metal to fabricate. I would clean up those saw marks. I've never had much patience for sanding, but it doesn't look like I did any at all here. It looks like I had some trouble with the sizing as there are lots of hammer marks on the back, like I needed to stretch the ring. So most of the things I would do have to do with clean up and finishing, but the design isn't very interesting. I think now that when you're learning a new technique, that simple is better - first, learn how to do it, then design around the technique.
What did you learn making it?
I would have learned band ring construction - how to spring a ring and solder. I had learned piercing on practice sheets of copper and brass, but that was new as well. Here's a picture of my first piercing and sweat soldering exercise - not a finished piece of jewelry, but fun to look at.
Here is a list of other wonderful jewelers who are participating in this blog carnival!


  1. Nina, that's awesome! looks like we have a lot of over ambitious people in the group :) thanks for sharing :)

  2. Nina, you did a stone setting on your first piece of jewelry?!? Amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love it Nina, it has a vintage style. And I would have never guessed that you were a Theatre major. Do you do any acting? I'm sure it's in your blood too.

  4. Nope - not an actor. I was a directing and scenic design emphasis.