July 11, 2012

Silver Swirl Smoky Quartz Ring

This ring design is from the book Beautiful Wire Jewelry for Beaders: Creative Wirework Projects for All Levels by Irena Miech.  It is made with 16g silver wire for the ring shank and a smoky quartz focal bead that is attached with 24g wire. The book gives the basic technique, but I found the measurement information confusing, so I just winged it.

The Zig-Zag Ring Shank

The back of the ring shank is made by just going up and down over the pliers.  I used  Beadsmith Duckbill Jewelry Pliers which makes the zig-zag long.  I suspect you could use the round nose or bail making pliers for a different effect.  I think a rounded 'wave' would be very pretty.

Making the Swirls

The hardest part of making the ring shank was getting the 'swirl' on either side even.  I found that it took about 1 inch of wire to make the swirl.  I worked the shank flat and made it nice and even, then curved it around the ring mandrel at the appropriate size.

Making the Ring the Right Size

If it is a little too big, it's easy to tighten the zig-zags on the back of the ring.  Likewise, I spread them to make the ring larger.  It's really easy to make these adjustments.

I made several of these - varying the materials and design slightly with each one.  I wish I hadn't sold them so quick or I could post pictures of the other variations.  I made one with gold and turquoise that I gave to a friend, so I'll try to take pictures of that one.

Choosing the Right Gemstone

Make sure the stone you use is flat on the back since it needs to sit comfortably on the finger.  I'm not thrilled that the stone can 'turn' in the setting, but I couldn't prevent it no matter how tightly I secured the stone to the ring shank.

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