To make the sphere we did not use a dapping block. Just the dapping
punch held upright in a vice. That is the rod with the spherical
end, that fits in the dapping block. Held the disk with fingers and
hit disk with planishing hammer. Took me about a week. I had never
made anything in silver before and could only hammer for about 10
minutes before I needed a rest. The most important thing I learned
from this, apart from pay attention and try not to hit your fingers,
was that hammered silver flows in waves.
I could not understand why the older students kept laughing. When I
was swearing and almost screaming in frustration at times. They said
it was because they remembered the same experience, they were not
laughing at me but at their memories of themselves. After making the
sphere I turned it into a pendant container that slid open on a
chain. And I sold it, way far cool!
Then my teacher said I could make what I wanted so I wanted to make
rings. He taught me how. In our class we had all levels of students
making what they wanted. We worked step by step, often with
experienced students, many full time professional gold and
silversmiths, giving advice. When we finished each step we lined up
at the teachers bench and when we got to him he told us to go to the
next step or fix it. He would not let us go on if the quality was not
good. We also worked a full workshop day this was not hobby land,
even if you did not make jewellery for a living, you were expected to
work to professional standard. THIS INVOLVED LEARNING WHEN TO WALK
AWAY FROM THE BENCH RATHER THAN CONTINUE ON TO DISASTER.
Then I learned to make rings with bezel set stones, cabs for
beginners. With the bezel is set into the shank. It took 3 hours
EACH to make the first 10, before I set the stone. I got the time
down to 1 hour. Asked the teacher how to improve the quality, “Go
back to 3 hours!”
I did and got it back to 1 hour and better quality. All I did for
months was make rings. The class though I was mad as they were doing
all kinds of cool stuff. In the end I could make rings as fast as
anyone, faster than anyone in the class and of better quality.
Except for the Japanese guy who hammer set opals in.7mm 18ct bezels
as a living. He went to class on his day off.
I made 500 of these and sold them all, it took a while, for $50 each
that is $25,000. Profit $20,000 materials were cheap in the good old
days. This is what I mean by practise. I still make these rings 30
years later and they still sell really well.
Why? Because the the shops are full of fancy jewellery claw set with
little stones usually 9ct disasters waiting to happen. Ever wonder
why there are so many repairs shops. Because it was rubbish to begin
with, a 9ct 4 claw,.5mm claw, set stone is going to break some time
I am very often asked to repair these. I look at the ring and VERY
GENTLY EXPLAIN WHAT THE DESIGN FLAWS ARE AND TO TAKE IT BACK AND ASK
FOR A FULL REFUND. You see in Australia it must be by law “FIT AND
PROPER FOR ITS INTENDED USAGE”. No time limit for these goods. My
friends in the trade are quality jewellers etc. That jewellery does
not make a statement like a good sized stone bezel set in a ring by
itself. Louis Comfort Tiffany knew this and his classic solitaire
diamond ring design is still a winner, NOTE THE 6 CLAWS ARE
PLATINUM. Today with a few thousand dollars worth of equipment anyone
can solder the components together and set the stone. He did it by
Want to inspire your self look at Rene Lalique the greatest to have
OK read the rest of the posts you are not a complete newbie so some
of what is above may not be for you. But even a newbie can make
jewellery that is good enough to sell. However some of the things
you want to do are trades in their own right, and take years to
learn. Match your designs to your skill and the final piece will be
So you want to make a locket? Follow this link. If you make a mess
hammer, reticulate and set a stone in the metal, and make a pendant.
Then try again and again and again.