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An apprentice's journey

I’m a traditional goldsmith apprentice from South Africa. I started in April 2020. This will be a visual journal of sorts of the pieces I’m proud of or in most cases just the acceptable to decent work. And an introduction of myself into the community. Comment and criticism are welcome and appreciated! New perspectives are how you get better

Everything is handmade by me. These are just a few to get the ball rolling and in no particular order. Will upload WIPs for the more interesting ones in time

His and hers wedding bands. Making these developed my filing skills more than any other piece I believe

When these got back from the setter the one claw had broken off. Being pink sapphires you can solder on them with no issue. What no one told me was that when you heat them up they go white for a while. My face was ghostly pale when I saw them go white. It gave my coworker quite the laugh haha

Modern look on a classic

The client just wanted an amber necklace as a gift for his wife that had just given birth to their first child. He didn’t have anything in mind beyond that and a few reference picture and said “Go wild” So I did. They both loved it

The only thing I didn’t make on this was the crucifix and the Madonna.55 hollow 7mm balls, 2 hollow 8 mm balls, and 2 solid 8mm balls (To get the weight feeling like his old one) took me all in all just short on a week to make it all. And a headache was had by all in the workshop with all the hammering in the dome making process haha

Dark blue sapphire with a double halo. I’d normally be instructed to make the halos have an airtight fit into each other but the client wanted an air gap. Still very nice albeit a little more tricky to make

16 platinum tubes of varying sizes on the second chain and just 4 on the other. This was one of my favorite projects to make even with a bunch of alterations and interruptions in the process. In hindsight I probably should have made little links and set the diamonds into them but this method was a better learning experience for myself. I also should have just drawn down thick wire instead of making chenier


Fantastic work!

Nice work!

Your picture of the wedding rings, is the same type of design that I used when I hired someone just starting out to learn the very skills you mentioned. Getting the angles correct, is no easy challenge. I found the design in a small book, that was showing the skills for making jewelry. I tried to find the book to share with the general group, but it must be hiding in my attic and it’s much too hot at the moment to continue looking. The book took a step by step approach to learning basic skills and over the years, I used it as a reference over and over. It was probably the most used book in my jewelry making collection. Sorry I can’t remember the title.


Some of my work


Truly lovely and precise work! I can’t wait to see more!!! :heart:

Beautiful work Rydrenn


Wow! Your skills are phenomenal! You must have a marvelous teacher.

Stunning work!

Thank you all very much!

@Tjones79 It really did the trick hey. I still battle with my filing occasionally but that’s because of a lack of concentration more than ability. My go to book right now and probably for the rest of my career is Oppi Untracht’s Jewelry Concepts and Technology. As far as I understand I won’t ever need much more supplementary works.

@StephanieG11261 He’s a fantastic goldsmith. He’s spent the better part of his career thus far learning to be better. I’ve learned some things from him that I doubt I’ll find anywhere else in the world



You inspired my to find that book! It helps that it’s only 66 degrees Fahrenheit outside instead of the 100 plus degrees we had last week.

The book is titled The Jeweler’s Craft by Jamie Pelissier, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold Company New York. L of CCCN 80-39912, ISBN 0-442-24336-7.

I had both of Untracht’s books. Great massive reference books, as well quite a few others. But it seemed like I was always picking this book up. It’s only 1.3cm thick. In the book he has divided it up into 5 main chapters. Technical Drawing, Goldsmithing Exercises, Jewelry Exercises, and Workshop Notes. Your ring was exercise 22.

Mr.Pelissier’s book deals with more of the technical aspects of construction. Taking the craftsperson through 53 different exercises to develop a solid base of knowledges and sufficient skill level to “start you in the continuous learning process that is fundamental in this craft.” In the chapter Workshop Notes, he has rough drawings of shanks, various prong settings, uses of springs in metal, joints for soldering, various catches, riveting, and various uses of hinges.

When I was trying to develop new designs and ways of doing my designs, I was constantly going back to the old technics.

Some of my work

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I just went looking for these books on ebay and found them going for $90+! I guess that’s a bargain if I consider it equivalent to a college textbook…

Hello Thomas Jones,
I, too, have the Pelissier book and find it interesting reading. His bio states that he set up a jeweler’s school in Mexico and I can certainly see the sawing exercises in particular as being suited to the beginning jeweler. Some of them seem like “make work” to me and I’d rather saw out shapes for jewelry and have to refine them with my files (which is also good practice) than saw out useless shapes as an exercise. It is an interesting reference book and the various step by step rings are useful exercises that produce something wearable/sale-able.

I looked at your work and you are a truly accomplished jeweler! A feast for the eye! Many thanks for sharing.

Thank you royjohn for your kind words ~