Turquoise is perhaps the oldest stone in man's history. The name Turquoise is derived from the French, pierre turquoise, meaning “Turkish stone,” because the trade routes that brought Turquoise to Europe from the mines in central Asia went through Turkey, and Venetian merchants often purchased the stone in Turkish bazaars. It is also one of the oldest protection amulets. If given by a friend, that stone would protect the wearer from negative energy and bring good fortune. It also bring peace to the home as well as having numerous detoxifying effects.
When I was asked to make this ring I was especially excited because not only have I not made a ring like this in years but turquoise is by far my favorite stone. I wanted to write this post to show you step by step how I made this ring from scratch using real turquoise and sterling silver.
First, you have your stone, make sure it's completely flat on the bottom otherwise it will wiggle around in the bezel (major no-no)
Here are the main supplies: The stone, a sheet of .925 silver, bezel wire, and half round wire (for the band)
First order of business is measuring the bezel wire around the stone so it fits perfectly, cutting it to that measurement and matching up the ends to create the circle and prepare to solder
For this step you use what's called "hard solder". There are three types; hard, medium and soft. You start with the hard because it requires a higher temperature melting point. This way, when you're soldering the other parts, you use a medium and then soft solder so that every time you do it doesn't melt the first part that you did since it will gradually need lower temperatures to work. A little hard to explain, I hope that makes sense, just keep reading and you'll see!
Sealed shut! Next is fitting it around the stone so re-shape it
After that you need to place it on the silver sheet to see if it lays flat, which, in most cases it doesn't, soooo....
...you need to sand the bottom of the bezel so that it does! This takes some time, and caution as you have to be careful not to press too hard and bend the bezel out of shape.
There we go, much better. Now to cut out a square so you can solder it together.
This part will require the medium solder (as mentioned before) so that when you're working, the previous solder on the bezel doesn't re-melt and come apart.
Set up your solder evenly around the inside of the bezel!
Here we gooooo
Perfect! Threw it in the pickle (shown later), sawed around the bezel to make a circle and now it's ready to add the band!
To make the band I used half round wire. It's easy because you can buy it as is and it fits comfortably on the finger.
The customer is a size 6 1/2 so you have to bend the wire around the ring mandrel to get the right measurement.
Awesome. Now you have to file the ends so that they lay flat against the bottom of the ring (see how they are rounded here)
File away and (excuse the nails) you have your flattened edges!
Now you balance it in your soldering pliers and make sure it's flush against the bottom of the ring so the solder can flow on every end.
Forgot to mention, every time before you solder you must add flux! Flux is a chemical that cleans the surface you solder because solder doesn't adhere to dirty surfaces :)
Just paint a little bit on and it will bubble when heat is added and disappear allowing the solder to begin working
Since this is the last step with the torch we use the easy solder (sheer solder looks different than the wire solder but it's all the same just cut with scissors instead of pliers)
Ta-da! Worked perfectly and gave it an extra tug to make sure all sides are secure. After you torch metal it turns these colors but thats when you put it in the pickle to clean it
THIS is the pickle. It's basically a mini crockpot and you add a chemical called sparex to water and plug it in till it gets hot
Once that's done, take it out and re-measure. Of course it's not a 6 1/2 anymore, so I put it on my big ring sizer which uses a lever to crank the ring bigger
Slow and steady and make sure the rotate the ring while doing it so the band doesn't pop off!
Now that the size is correct, time to the put the stone in!
Next, you have to burnish the edges so it closes the bezel around the stone and sets it in
Wish I had taken an action shot, but here it is! That stones not goin anywhere. Time to polish!
To polish this guy I throw it in my tumbler, which is basically a rock tumbler (remember those as a kid?) which is filled with steel shot that bounce around the ring as it tumbles to work harden and shine up the metal
Just add dish soap...
Let that tumble for 45 min to an hour andddd.....
Hope you guys enjoyed seeing how I made this ring. Tune in for my next post which will hopefully be about my TED Talk on being self-employed which I'm hoping will be up on the site by then! Have a good rest of the weeeeeeek.