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Hollow-form silver ring

Create a hollow-form ring that’s big on volume but light on the hand
Hollow form silver ring_hero
The outline of an ancient Greek urn inspired the shape of this ring, while the Mediterranean Sea inspired the color of the resin.

Materials 

  • Platinum sterling sheet: 22-gauge (0.6mm), half-hard, 64 x 89mm (2 1/2 x 3 1/2 in.)
  • 10k white gold solder: hard, medium, easy 
Tools & supplies 
  • Dividers
  • Jeweler’s saw, 2/0 and 6/0 blades
  • Bench shear (optional)
  • Ring mandrel
  • Rawhide mallet
  • Bench pin
  • Hand files
  • Sandpaper: various grits
  • Lightbox (optional)
  • Drafting templates
  • Tracing paper
  • Glue stick
  • Center punch
  • Flex shaft, drill bits
  • Soldering station: torch, solder (hard, medium, easy), fire-resistant surface (soldering pad, firebrick, or charcoal block), pickle pot with pickle, flux, steel tweezers (cross locking and precision), copper tongs, pick, tripod, binding wire
  • Rotary file
  • Dapping block and punches
  • Roundnose pliers
  • Ball burs
  • Rubber abrasive bits
  • Split mandrels
  • Epoxy resin: 
    • Clear
    • Transparent color (optional)

The high cost of materials is what first motivated jewelers to explore hollow-form construction techniques. Metalsmiths discovered that they could use this technique to make large and impressive ornaments that remained very lightweight. However, hollow-form construction techniques can also be applied to smaller jewelry items, such as rings. Similar to the flying buttresses of a Gothic cathedral, hollow-form jewelry garners its strength from the structure of its construction and not from the thickness of its walls.

To make this hollow-form ring, I used 22-gauge (0.6mm) platinum-sterling sheet. If you would like to make this project in traditional sterling, use 20- or 18-gauge (0.8 or 1.0mm) sheet. Traditional sterling requires a heavier gauge to accommodate the additional sanding needed to remove the firescale that will form on the surface during soldering.

Instructions

 
hollow form silver ring 1
Step 1
Hollow form silver ring 2
Step 2
[1–3] Make the shank. Use dividers to mark a 64 x 6mm (21⁄2 x 15⁄64-in.) strip on a 22-gauge (0.6mm) sheet of platinum sterling. Use a jeweler’s saw or a bench shear to cut the strip. Use a ring mandrel and a rawhide mallet to swage the strip into a cylinder, allowing the ends of the strip to overlap [1]. Saw through the strip where it overlaps [2]. Solder the cylinder closed with 10k white gold hard solder. Round the cylinder on a ring mandrel, and tamp it with a rawhide mallet to the correct size [3].
Hollow form silver ring 3
Step 3
Hollow form silver ring 4
Step 4
[4–6] Taper the shank. Use dividers set to 2mm (5⁄64 in.) to scribe a 9mm (23⁄64-in.)-long mark on each side of the solder seam on both shank edges [4]. Use a jeweler’s saw to taper the shank edges, sawing at an angle from the scribed line toward the shank edge [5]. Use a hand file to smooth the angle of the shank edges. Once the taper is evenly established on both edges, sand the shank edges with a consistent pressure in a figure 8 motion on flat sandpapers of progressively finer grits [6].
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