Oh, how I love to make and see women wearing unconventional ring bands. They create a statement all on their own or add dimension and character to a stunning gemstone setting. They can be funky or sophisticated but more importantly, their uniqueness can perfectly reflect the spirit of the wearer whose eclectic soul is bored by mass-produced, generic jewelry.
My new Reef ring bands were first created through a happy 'accident' while experimenting with silver scrap. I have a bucket next to my bench where I drop every little leftover piece, mistakes (there are a few!) and silver sanding dust. The silver I purchase is made from recycled silver to begin with so that means each Reef ring band is made from recycled, recycled silver. So not only is every band unique, they are also made with less of an impact on the natural resources of our planet.
There is nothing quite as satisfying as taking a pile of scrap metal, lighting up a torch and heating it until it flows into a molten ball of silver goodness. (Not to mention it being incredibly therapeutic for when you're having a bad day in the studio!) Molten silver can be poured into a mold to create just about any shape or texture a metalsmith desires and is akin to a painter starting with a blank canvas. So many creative possibilities! Here's a video taken in my studio of silver being melted and poured into a small ingot mold.
In creating my Reef bands, I draw the silver ingot through a rolling mill that uniformly flattens the silver at progressively smaller increments with each pass through. In playing with this process, I discovered the silver started to develop stress cracks around the edges. Well, most metalsmiths will tell you that's because I didn't anneal (heat) the metal between passes and to start over. Oops…
But you know what? Those cracks and ridges are just so interesting and organically cool. And who here doesn't have a few cracks and flaws? Maybe we should celebrate them instead of trying to cover them up.
From there on it's up to me what part of the metal to use, how I will texture it and what stone (or stones) to add that complements the band. It's an organic process that involves a lot of creative play before moving on to the more technical aspect of making sure it's a well-made piece of jewelry that is comfortable on the hand.