Like many jewellers in the UK, from professionals of many years standing to hobbyists, I buy a lot of my silver, gems, consumables and tools from Cookson Gold. I get a lot off eBay too, but that’s for another day. Cookson recently launched a range of cast ring shanks and settings called Simplicity – basically you can pair up a shank with a setting and make whatever ring you like. They do them in silver, various golds and platinum, but being a bit skint I tend to stick to silver! I ordered a couple of the heavy shanks, a 6 mm and a 5mm setting and as usual, they arrived the next day, together with some 2mm precious stones for another project, but more on that another time.
I’ve not done any casting, or used cast silver before, so it was all a bit of an experiment. Rather naively I assumed all I’d need to do was solder the setting to the shank, pop a stone in, give it a polish and Bob’s your auntie’s live-in lover Once I’d wired the ring together with binding wire and soldered it together, I spent quite a bit of time tidying things up – polishing out casting marks and giving the rings a nice satin finish. The crossover shank was a lot harder than the D-section one to assemble, and took me a few attempts to get it to stay together – that’s most likely down to my own inexperience, as I tend to stick to rubover settings made from scratch. Still, got there in the end!
I didn’t realise I’d need to cut grooves in the claws for the stone – and never having done it before was stumped for a few minutes. A needle file was too big, so I used a 0.8mm engraving burr on my Dremel’s flexishaft to cut some grooves and that worked well. After some polishing (to a satin finish), the CZ stones clipped neatly into their settings, and it was just a case of bending the claws into place and tumbling.
The white 6mm CZ ring I made for myself as a replacement engagement ring – my previous (also homemade!) one had got too big after I’d lost six stone, and I’d got a bit bored with it anyway – not as heartless as it sounds, Beardy and I have identical heavy twisted silver bangles that are our real “commitment” jewellery – my silver wedding ring was 10p from the local charity shop! So I make myself a new one every now and then The turquoise 5mm CZ is for a designer craft show we’re doing next month in Hereford – really looking forward to that. Although if you’d like to buy it, it’ll be listed in the eBay shop tomorrow!
I really enjoyed using these very reasonably priced ring components – will definitely be making more! Although I’d LOVE settings for different shaped stones – how about it, Cookies?