I suspect your problems are not with technique but with design. And
by design I do not mean grandiose ideas, but simply making sure
that all parts relate to each other in some meaningful way. You
should not worry about time. Take whatever time you need. Quality
is way more important.
Spot on Leonid! My biggest frustration with the project is simply
not knowing what kind of parameters 3-stone rings are designed
around. By that I mean, what the standard proportion between upper
and lower bezel are, the “ideal” thickness for the main bezel and
lower plate (or ratio of bezel thickness to stone size), the proper
thickness of wire for prongs, etc,… It is one of my main gripes
about jewelry that I’ve expressed before. There is a plethora of
out there on all the basics: soldering, basic setting,
etc., but there seems to be a startling void of in
regards to creating (for lack of a better word) "standard/classic"
jewelry beyond simplistic solitaires. I presume that much of that
would’ve been learned first-hand in some sort of
apprenticeship, but there are people like myself that immediately
found a style (granulation) and ran with it independent of what one
could call “standard” bench work/experience. Given, I used to work
during my college year summers for a local jeweler doing repair work
(it’s how I got into this in the first place), but learning basic
repair is nothing at all like advanced fabrication. Thus, once I “got
on a path”, I never got the opportunity to learn the standard,
classic jewelry fabrication techniques. In many ways, it feels a lot
like being able to discuss fluid-dynamics in German, but not having
the ability/vocabulary to order food, talk about the weather, get
around town…all the basics/essentials in life.
I agree very much about quality superseding time requirements.
However, I like to set goals for myself and I discovered that if
someone is able to create the same piece in a fifth of the time it
takes me, it leads me to believe that there is a better way to do
what I am doing and encourages me to innovate more. It is all about
optimizing my efficiency…not about getting it done faster. My
grandfather had a saying that has always stuck with me, “Why is
there never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do
Hamish- I would very much appreciate any structural design info you
can give me! It would really help me to see the proper ratios of
everything (prongs, bezel thickness, base plate, prong diameter to
stone size, etc.)
The thinnest part of your ring should NEVER be under the stones.
Always make the under structure of the stones heavier than the
thinnest part of the bottom of the shank. When the ring is worn if
it takes a knock, you want the ring to bend or shift at the shank.
Not under the stones. If it shifts under the stones they will
break, loosen or just pop out.
Thanks for the advice Jo. I hadn’t actually considered that before. I
think next time I construct this thing it will help me establish
proper setting and shank thickness.
Thanks again everyone for your help with my questions! I really
appreciate the time all of you have taken to help me with this
Erich C. Shoemaker
Erich Christopher Designs, LLC