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Twisted shank ring

Give an unassuming ring a brash new attitude with this easy forging technique

All too often, jewelry makers settle for making rings from a simple, flat band with a bezel-set stone — a style that, while functional, lacks distinction. Considering how each part of a ring interacts with the whole design and with the wearer is part of making artistic jewelry. While making the featured ring, you’ll see how changing the way the bezel cup is joined to the ring shank and how applying an easy forging technique to the ring shank transform a simple ring into an eye-catching design. Use the same technique to add a twist to other jewelry projects, such as wedding bands, stacking rings, and even toggle clasps. 

Information on twisting with gold and stacking rings is below the materials list. For instructions on how to make the ring, click here to download the free project PDF.

Materials

  • Sterling silver wire: 10-gauge (2.6mm), square, dead-soft, 76mm (3 in.)
  • Sterling silver sheet: 18-gauge (1.0mm), half-hard, 25.5 x 25.5mm (1 x 1 in.)
  • Fine-silver bezel wire: 3mm (1⁄8 in.), 76mm (3 in.)
  • 24k gold bezel wire, 3mm (1⁄8 in.), 76mm (3 in.) (optional)
  • Coin pearl 

Tools & supplies

  • Flush cutters
  • Bench vise
  • Pliers: flatnose, forming, roundnose, vise-grip
  • Soldering station: torch, solder (hard, medium, and easy), fire-resistant surface (soldering pad, firebrick, or charcoal block), pickle pot with pickle, flux, steel tweezers (cross locking and precision), copper tongs
  • Mandrels: ring, bezel
  • Rawhide mallet
  • Jeweler’s saw, 2/0 blades
  • Circle template
  • Dapping block and punches
  • Tape: double-sided, masking
  • Sandpaper: various grits
  • Files: hand, needle
  • Flex shaft, split mandrel, pink rubber abrasive wheel
  • Third hand
  • Tumbler, steel shot, burnishing compound
  • Burnisher
  • Bezel rocker (optional)
Twisted shank ring twisting with gold
Twisting with gold

Making the featured twisted band in gold is easy because most refiners sell 10-gauge (2.6mm) square wire in minimum orders of 76mm (3-in.) lengths. Lower karatage (14k) will show a pronounced color difference for rose and green. Higher karatage (18k or higher) yellow gold will have a more distinctly yellow color.

Karated gold comes in many subtle colors but is less malleable than sterling silver or platinum sterling. Order gold in a dead-soft temper, or anneal it before twisting. Rose gold will work-harden very quickly and requires special treatment to achieve a tight twist without breaking. Twist rose-gold wire in stages, annealing in between, to achieve a tight twist. Rose and yellow gold will also require annealing after twisting before the wire can be formed into a ring. Green gold is more malleable due to its high fine-silver content and may require less annealing.

Twisted shank ring stacking
Stack it all up

Stacking rings are a jewelry wardrobe option where each ring has no gemstone as a focal point. With these twisted bands you can “stack” two or three rings of different metal colors on a single finger. Twisted bands of sterling silver or platinum silver can be stacked with twisted bands of colored gold. 

Twist each wire in the same direction, and when you make your rings, the curve of each twist will nest into the curves of the rings next to it.

To make your seams disappear, use a round needle file to remove excess solder at the join. Polish the twisted bands with a pink rubber wheel in a flex shaft, or tumble-polish them. Thinner gauges of square wire can be used, but gauges larger than 3mm (1⁄8 in.) make a ring that can be too thick to wear comfortably.

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