Rings and… Rings

The last few studio sessions were all about making rings, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better 🙂 This was a perfect opportunity for me to take a small break from my own jewelry line journey and explore the wide world of jewelry out there.

Rings, in my opinion, are at the core of jewelry making. It is not a coincidence that they often symbolize our most significant life events, such as marriage or the attainment of a profession (think about those pinkie rings of engineers).

While brainstorming ideas for the ring I wanted to create in class, I realized just how many different types and styles I had in my personal collection.

Statement rings are the first type that comes to mind; and indeed, I seem to have one for every occasion. You can always count on a statement ring to add a fun flirty touch to your entire appearance. Worn right, it can be the single piece that accentuates your personal style and draws the onlooker’s gaze, while still looking effortless and not overdone. When I wear one, I tend to go for simple and minimalistic style for the rest of my jewelry, as I generally follow the rule of having a single focal point for my looks.

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Another style, and one of my personal favorites, is stacked rings. A few thin delicate rings can be worn on the same finger or scattered across several ones, to create beautiful combinations and to add grace and sophistication to any look. This is the style I usually gravitate towards for my day-to-day looks. I like to start with one finger as the grounding point and to “work my way up”.

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Some rings may not be overly exciting; however, these clean, simple pieces contribute to a harmonious, wholesome look when another jewelry or clothing item is chosen as the accent feature.

When it comes to color, rings offer many creative ways to incorporate it. Some designers, for example, like to combine different metal types and finishes to achieve interesting color interplays. I personally like to keep it simple with only one type of metal, and, when the piece calls for it, to add a touch of color using different materials. Gemstones, for example, can be a great solution for an otherwise plain design. They also look awesome with a more sophisticated outfit. Sometimes, on more relaxed occasions but when I still want to bump up my look a few notches, I wear my vintage rings that incorporate pretty gemstones into unique and intricate designs.

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Regardless of the style you choose, the aspect of rings that makes them a winning piece in my books is the fact that you can spend your entire day staring at them 🙂 It’s one of the few jewelry items that the wearer can easily see without needing a mirror (or without cracking their neck). So, don’t forget to add that little touch of sparkle to your daily routine!

Having said all that, I still haven’t decided what type of ring I will be making during this week’s class 🤔 Anyway, as always, you are welcome to leave your comments and thoughts, which will hopefully inspire me to make a decision!

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Rings and Fire

This week I finally have the opportunity to speak about my favorite piece of jewelry – rings! Of course, they also happen be the hardest to make…

Rings are usually made by joining two opposite edges of a metal piece to create the ring’s circle. The only way these edges can be joined properly is by a method known as soldering. I was yet to master my sawing when soldering was introduced to me as the next must – learn technique. It involves extremely delicate work and took me many tries to even realize what I was supposed to do. And what better way to learn than to make my first ever set of rings.

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Soldering is done with the use of a torch and a silver solder. First, I flux the area where the two parts of metal meet (a substance that initiates the chemical prosses). Then, I cut up small pieces of silver solder and place them on top of the joint. Finally, I fire coat the metal and the solder spreads onto it, joining the two pieces together.

The purpose of making my first ring was to work on a piece that required soldering. In addition, the jewelry I was making had both a matte and a shiny surface to it, so I was able to experience creating different finishes. I can’t say much about the result, aside from the fact that I did not think the gold colour suited the ring’s design, so my instructor electroplated it in rhodium for me. Rhodium is a precious metal used mainly to coat white gold. It has a bright finish and doesn’t tarnish or scratch.

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After I supposedly mastered soldering (still have so much left to learn…) I wanted to know how to set gemstones into jewelry. I was shown a very basic technique of stonesetting, using a black gemstone that my instructor happened to find in the studio. This one was really made just for practice.

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As of now, I still didn’t make anything I actually like. Each lesson was only 3 hours long and I’m struggling to get my techniques right, since that’s what truly matters. I guess I will have plenty of time to make pieces that I like later on.

Anyhow, since this is all about rings now, I was thinking of getting into a more in-depth discussion of ring styles and their creation. Perhaps next week I can do a little overview of rings in general. What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Back To Basics

A few months ago, I put my computer aside and went back to the basics of jewelry making and metalsmith practice. After all, one cannot fully learn a skill without being familiar with its roots.

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The very first items I made were a few simple pendants. These actually enabled me to practice sawing, which is the most important technique to learn.

My instructor told me that for the first few months of his studies, his only goal was to perfect his sawing skills. I, on the other hand, had to acquire all that technical knowledge in a few sessions. The right way to saw is by long gentle moves, while keeping the hand in a vertical position. As beginner metalsmiths probably know, the gentle saw blade keeps breaking until you learn to control it.

And all that time, I kept thinking, why not just laser cut the damn thing 😊 there is a certain charm in hand craft, yet I could not stand the crooked edges created by my inexperienced hands.

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Despite the hardships that come along with learning a new skill, it is extremely inspiring to discover a completely new world of possibilities. I come from a field that is constantly changing and which is now almost completely digitalized. Perhaps that is the reason I am so drawn to the handcraft of jewelry making, which passed from one generation to the next almost without change.

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The edges of my creations remain crooked, but the materials and textures inspire me to continue. Being an architect, these always get me excited. Shiny, matte, dimples, scratches, light, mass and the absence of it. All of these are different faces of the same material. One small piece of metal can turn into so much.

The only problem is, I have so much left to learn…

So tell me, have you ever struggled with a new skill yourselves? You are welcome to tell your story in the comments!

Macro vs. Micro

Architecture school was tough but facinating.

We learned design principles and modern production technologies. In addition, we explored the social and environmental impacts of architecture and urban design.

Designing a building is the art of combining many issues into a single elegant solution. Before we even got to the actual program, including drawings and models, we explored concept, design and surrounding environment for weeks. When I started working, many of these ideals were lost due to deadline pressures. However, the skills I gained remained with me and I rely on them for almost everything I create.

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My fascination with the micro scale though was always there. the amazing fact is that, in the end, macro and micro are very much the same. This can be observed in many aspects of life, where the same rules of physics apply to small and large scales. If you look closely, our world is designed in a fascinating way.

Due to the incredible parallels between the scales, I am now able to take the skills I learned in architecture school and apply them to my jewelry practice. In addition to the conceptual connection, I am planning on using the same computer – aided design programs and 3d printing for my jewelry line as I use to design buildings.

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A word about 3d printing and laser cutting technologies: the first allows for the creation of complex forms which could not have been created using traditional production methods. The latter can help create complex shapes in one single piece. Both are used in various industries, including construction and jewelry making. The same technologies, applied to both large and tiny scales. Beautiful.

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I would like to know your thoughts on this. Have any of you applied your existing skills to create something new? Let me know!

Lia.

10,000 ways

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.
Thomas Edison

Why do so many of us hold back our passions in life?
One very famous reason is our fear of failure. We all share it but almost never tell. The virtual community space though gives us an opportunity to share our feelings and fears. By connecting to each other and sharing stories, I believe we all can feel less alone in our individual journies.

My name is Lia, and I am here exactly for that reason. Lately, I realized life was too short to hold back my dreams. I decided to go on a journey, one I’m happy to share with you.

Currently, I’m a practicing architect at a relatively large firm. My interest in architecture began to develop eight years ago when I decided to study a subject that will make me use both sides of the brain, combining analytical and conceptual thinking skills.

Nevertheless, after a few years in the construction industry, I decided to try something different. Ever since I can remember, I have been passionate about art, and especially jewelry. I always wanted to make my own pieces, but coming from a family of strict Russian engineers, that wasn’t much of an option.

This journey will be my way of going back to my true passion. I don’t know what will be the end result, since I’m telling you the story as it unfolds. My goal is to make you all pursue your passions in life, and understand that your struggles along the way are perfectly natural and shouldn’t put you off of your goal.

I have experienced so many frustrating moments and made so many foolish mistakes, that lately I figured, why not share them? This way I can make people see how creating something from scratch really looks like (spoiler: not even close to the glamorous beginning you may have heard of :))

I hope this journey with me will help each of you put things in perspective and maybe laugh a little 🙂 Remember, there are 10,000 mistakes on the way to the answer!

Any feedback from you is highly appreciated, and will help me continue and push through the obstacles. You are welcomed to revisit me every other Saturday!

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