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“What is the most difficult piece you’ve ever made, from a technical perspective? Describe why it was so challenging.”

This is a ring I created in 2003. In Essence, it is fairly simple but there were a number of techniques and design/skill elements that were new to me when I created it. It maybe isn’t the most technical thing I have done, but, it was the first that popped to mind that I have a super swell photo on hand of.
1. previous to making this ring a couple years, was the first time I alloyed my own gold. I melted down all my old jewellery, and under the supervision and direction of my mentor at the time, I alloyed it up to an 18kt yellow gold.
2. To get the maximum potential for this ring, I needed the gold portion of the ring to be a heavier gauge metal – thicker. So I sweat soldered it to another sheet of silver. This was technically challenging for me, not so much for the skill, but not not blow the job – and melt the gold and silver into a messy puddle, and have them both un-useable until set to a refiner. So I was holding my breath to get it done right. Whew! I got it done right.
3. To create this ring, it is a hollowform shell of 2 halves. the inner (silver) , and the outer (gold) are forged separately into opposite concave and convex shapes. So here the forging of the halves was a new technique for me. This is a very delicate and time consuming operation, as the two halves must fit perfectly together, with tension, and also be symmetrical in all angles and round as well 🙂 Getting a perfect fit took time, and was a challenge. The two halves are in fact not soldered together, they are held by tension.
4. The bezel setting of a large ruby. This was challenging as I created a cone shaped bezel, in order to accommodate the stone size to the curved ring band face. Again, I had never made a cone shaped bezel.
5. Flush setting Diamonds on both sides. Also a new and precise technique.
6. Setting the ruby in a hollow ring form. My usual method of a heavy handed hammer would not be a good plan here. So more traditional, and time consuming methods were used. I always use very heavy metal as well, I believe I used 18ga for this bezel, so setting such a heavy bezel in and of itself also required special skills.
7. The ring was finished with the inner silver surface to a high mirror polish, and the outer gold a matte textured finish with steel wool, bringing out the true deep depth of the yellow gold alloy.
So, for me, much of the ring was built with skills and techniques i had never used as such before, all in one package. This was my first ring in this style. Not all that complex, but for a whole lot of firsts, I was very pleased with my skillmanship and the outcome.
I enjoy wearing this ring on a daily basis. It’s huge. and very comfortable. Durable and crafted to last. 😀

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