Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mokume Gane Ring

This is a ring I made today for my mom, to give to her on Sunday for Mother's Day. Her birthstone is sapphire, and this is a 7 mm stone I'd bought last year for this purpose. She likes jewelry that is small and delicate, whereas I prefer bolder jewelry. I hope mom will like it! This was as small and delicate as I like to go!

The construction was straightforward, but since I was using a piece of 20 ga. mokume gane ("woodgrain" in Korean) of silver and copper, I was sure to make a template of my piece in copper first to make sure of the pattern I wanted. Mokume gane is a bit pricey, but you use small amounts of it at a time so it's not so bad. After sawing out the shape, I soldered the ends of the ring together. This is where things got funky! When I began soldering the seam closed, the seam actually opened up the hotter it got. Then when it cooled back down, the seam came together again. WEIRD! I figured it was part of the properties of this mixed metal. I actually had to use 2 sets of tweezers to hold the seam together, with the torch free-standing and the solder snippet carefully balanced on top of the seam. That "seamed" to work and when I soldered on the setting for the stone, nothing unusual happened.

I used liver of sulfur (LOS) to give the piece a patina. The problem with LOS is that it also darkens the silver. There is a solution called Baldwin's Patina (sold by Rio) that I need to buy! It only reacts with the copper and darkens that part. Once my mom tries it on, I will see if I need to re-size it, and if so then I will bang the back on a mandrel to stretch out the metal. I will also re-patina it with Baldwin's. That will really bring out the pattern and it will not look so funky as it does now.


Anonymous said...

That is absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

Sharon said...

I think you did a great job of keeping your style but turning it into a smaller piece your mom will like. So much more unique and personal than the standard plain setting you would normally see with a stone that size.

Sharon said...

So ... did she like it?

stoneaddict said...

Ha ha... Yes! She really liked it! And it fit! I think I may make another with an opal for my etsy shop. Thanks, Sharon!!!