I finished this ring some time ago but only now did I have the opportunity to describe the fabrication process.
It is basically a hollow ring, with an internal and an external section. This ring construction is often seen in class rings, for example, but can be adapted to a multitude of designs.
The outer shell and top are just one piece that is curled around itself. A stone can sit inside the top or over it, depending on the design.
To come up with the right size for my ring I drew the general shape and then adjusted it by cutting and sticking it together with scotch tape. The shape resembles a “diaper”, which is the nickname we used for it in class.
I drew around my paper template and cut the shape out of metal sheet. I used 0,5 mm sheet (24g). Then I used a dapping block to curve it until the side tabs almost closed.
I made the inner tube out of the same metal sheet. It should be longer than necessary so there’s enough to cut to size later. This inner tube should be the ring size you want to obtain. The outer shell needs to be a little larger.
I chose a rough topaz for the ring. I began shaping the top of the ring to fit the shape of the stone. Because it was a large stone, I chose to sink it into the top of the ring. A flat stone would just sit on top.
The stone determined the look of the ring from this point on. A faceted stone would have made a much different ring.
I soldered the side tabs to close the top.
So that the inner tube could slide in straight I had to file the side openings of the outer shell until it fit.
Once the tube could slide in tight and straight, I marked the area I needed to cut away. I left a little extra to file later on, after it was soldered in place. It’s always best to leave a little extra for safety.
After cutting the excess from the sides of the inner ring, I cut some decorative shapes with the jeweller’s saw.
Then I soldered the inner ring in place.
I filed the top of the ring so it would conform to the shape of the stone and also because I didn’t want straight lines in the design.
I tested the fit of the stone.
I used an interesting technique to obtain the decorative elements that would frame the stone. In class we called it “skimming the cream”. The general idea is to melt the metal on a coal block and then pull a bit of it to the side with tweezers. As it moves away from the heat source and cools, it creates a streak with an interesting molten texture. Sometimes it takes a while to get enough bits with a shape you can use but it’s fun getting there. Unfortunately I couldn’t take pictures of the process as I needed both ends. Maybe I’ll make a video one of these days, if anyone is interested.
I assembled the bits I wanted to use around the stone over plasticine, to plan the layout. The longer bits would be used as prongs for setting the stone.
I took pictures from several angles so I could reassemble the design I chose later on, when soldering.
I soldered the elements one or two at a time. I used binding wire to keep them in place during the process and also protected the rest of the ring with liquid correction fluid to prevent the rest of the solder from flowing again.
After polishing, I set the stone. I had to file the inside of some of the thicker “prongs” in order to bend them.
The ring was finished. I called it my Ice Ring. It’s still one of my favorite pieces to this day.
Later on I made a similar, simpler version for my mom with a rough azurite:
There is a great tutorial on the hollow “diaper” ring on Ganoksin’s website, for anyone who wants to read more about it.