Lapis Murphy Ring & Fabrication

The process by which we create our jewelry is called fabrication, which might seem uselessly tautological, but the term has a technical meaning in our craft which is NOT CASTING. Fabrication is the building up of a piece by soldering parts together. For solder we use a silver-based alloy with small amounts of zinc to give melting and flow temps a little lower than the precious metal alloys the parts are made from. This gives strengths more similar to brazing or welding processes than to the ‘soldering iron’ results of the tin and lead solders with which people are more familiar.

The piece here is the most complicated fabrication we have so far accomplished, with close to a hundred solder joints. Fortunately they are often made several at a time. A lot of them have to be made above the block though because rings.

We call this a Murphy ring. This one is set with a good-sized lapis lazuli cabachon.

The price is $299. The size measures a ten. These rings run a bit large from having a hollow place behind the bezel. These rings are hard to size but I’ll probably do it. Or I will find a stone you approve and build a new one.

Mystic Topaz Earrings

Plain drop earrings with faceted stones. The stones here are mystic topaz which is white topaz with electroplating on the back to make them fabulously stunning and also fake. Bought these off a professional gem purchaser at a jewelry guild garage sale/swap meet. Along with a bunch of other stuff. This is the last pair we have. Maybe could get more. Sometimes they are blues & greens.

For some reason I didn’t take a picture of the back, which is open.

The pair is $72.

(It’s possible I haven’t remembered the exact commercial name for this particular treatment correctly. Se la vie.)



Amethyst Necklace & Extensions

This amethyst necklace has blue topaz side stones and a bones chain. Don’t know how good my pics are but this a a nearly perfect set of amethyst cabochons. The big ones are all still very bright and the little ones still show strong color. In basically an exact hue match and with only barely perceptible interior flaws. The blue topaz is of course very bright and, if you use your imagination, sort of blue.

The back on this necklace is plain. The price is $520.

The stock length for the (fixed) chain on necklaces is generally around 16 inches. This is usually about as short as anybody wants them. We make extensions for the bones chains which clip into it and make it longer. These come with the necklace. They can be any length above about an inch and a half. Sizing of the attached chain is also an option, but requires having the piece in the studio for torch work.

Bug Rings & Braid

Here are three rings with braid bands, two in the single braid style and one in the double. In two of the rings the bezel head forms a stylized scarab design.

So we call those Bug Rings.

Counter-clock-wise from the top in the first picture the rings here are: 1. A single braid set with a hexagonal green jade ($150) 2. a single braid bug ring with an amethyst body and a citrine head ($165) 3. a double braid bug ring with a lapis lazuli body and a holley blue agate head ($196.)

The braid for the rings is made by braiding three sterling silver wires together in a piece about twenty inches long. Pieces are cut from this and all those places where they cross are soldered. This assembly is forged to a suitable evenness and border wires are soldered on. This further assembly is forged and sanded flat enough to solder onto a heavy plate which is cut out and finished before being bent into a ring shank.

Rings that fit ME

Three rings that fit me. Some of our styles are heavier, wider, bigger than others. Some are lighter. We try to make a good distribution. Anybody can buy any kind they want. But these ones fit me.

From the top down these rings are: 1. A double braid ring with a moss agate ($175) 2. A lisa ring with a fire agate ($165) 3. A winged thor ring with twist bezel and a black onyx ($170).

Green moss agate is a stone from India, and was a perennial favorite among the rock hounds who I hung out with a lot back in the early days. All the moss agate we have to set are cut into gems in our studio.

Over the years we did a lot of the lapidary work in our pieces. Those days are probably mostly in the past but we still have a lot of rough and all the equipment (in better working order than its operators) so occasionally some cutting gets done still.

Tudor Rose & Shot

Here are some more tudor rose earrings, this time with stones. The larger pairs have (l to r upper) turquoise and citron chyrsoprase. The smaller pair has garnet.

The larger pairs (~ an inch across) are in the simplified style. The smaller pair (~ 3/4 inch) is in the original style and has ten shot dispersed into the design. Shot are solid bits of sterling silver melted and pulled into spheres by the surface tension of the molten metal. They are named after similar bits, lead or steel usually, used as firearm projectiles.

These earrings all have the french-kidney wires which we make. These wires are both wrapped onto the earring and provided with a safety hook to help guard against loss.

The usual price for the simplified tudor rose earrings with stones is $50 and for the original style is $90. Of course, whenever you’re talking including stones, it’s possible to make choices which might add considerably to price.

All can be ordered small, medium or large sized. (Of which small and medium are pictured here, with large being ~ 1 1/4 inch across.)

As with all chassed pieces, reflection is a constant annoyance for the photography, and, as usual when I encounter such an impediment in this bloggy endeavor, I simply choose to ignore it.


Black Onyx and Necklace

For us, the piece we call a necklace has the chain permanently attached. A pendant has the chain separate. Often the chain on a necklace is one which we make ourselves. We call the chain on this necklace a bones chain. (We also call the necklace style a bones necklace, but that’s a fairly obscure designation.) The design here is a version of the heart wing.

The stones on this are all ones we carved and polished ourselves. They are in a stone ordinarily called black onyx. Onyx is a gem name with an ancient and confused heritage. In my mind, it is properly a black and white banded agate from which cameos can be carved. Sardonyx is the read and white version. Silver onyx is, on another hand, a soft, white, banded stone like alabaster. Black onyx might properly be black agate, which it normally is, except nowadays it’s almost always color enhanced. The material we use for black onyx is dark agate dyed black. We find it a wonderful medium: hard, tough, uniform, easily polishable, and, as far as we have noticed or anyone has reported, completely colorfast.

This piece has just about everything we ever put into a necklace including the filigree wire-work on the reverse. According to the anticipated price on the design sheet, we once had great hope for it, and, while we still love it, we might be ready to negotiate that a bit.

Garnet Rings

A big gallery of some pretty lousy pictures of garnet rings. I was trying to show how lively and bright these stones are but washed out the silver work in the process. Probably won’t use this set-up again, but in the spirit of simple and repeatable we’re going to inflict them on everyone anyway. Waste not ….

Over the years (decades?) sterling silver rings with colored stones have become probably the major part of our work. Garnets are always a mainstay. Pictured here, left to right on the horizontal paint-brush picture are: 1. a 10 x 8 mm oval cabochon set in the filigre style ($141) 2. a 7 (ish) mm round faceted stone set in a winged thor ($196) 3. a 6 mm round faceted stone set in a filigre ring ($190) 4. a 5 x 7 mm oval cabachon set in a winged thor (with a twist bezel) ($191, that’s what the list says, seems high?) 5. a 4 x 6 mm faceted oval set in a twist ring($112.)

As always, sizing is included with the purchase, (mostly) free of additional charge.

Plain Bands and Site Plan

We call most every ring with no stone a plain band. These are in a low dome style. The thinner ones (~6mm w x 2 mm h) are formed from stock wire. We call them plain Thor rings and can easily produce them in any size. The wider ones (~8 mm x 2 mm) are cast from molds taken off rings I forged from silver bars. We have a lot of them on hand so there’s a good chance we’ll have one that fits. We’ll probably cast more batches but we don’t do it regularly. (Nothing like an order for incentive.) These are called plain Lisa rings.

Either style can have (a limited number of) words stamped on it.

Prices at present for these rings in sterling silver are $40 for Thor and $60 for Lisa and $15 to $25 for stamping. Plus shipping if needed ($10 usually.)

Site Plan. We have a plan for website and internet commerce. We’re (Wayne really!) putting lots of pictures in lots of blog posts with some hopefully not-too-random comments and lots of tags. Each post is in particular tagged with the sort of piece (ring, earring, etc.) it is and our name for the style and the kind of stone if it has one. This stuff is all in a tag cloud over to the right. So if you click on the one called ring, right now you will get two posts about rings in a column you can scroll or swipe through. There’s also some tags for informational topics addressed. So if you tap site plan on the list, you will be brought to this informative post.

It’s a simple-minded plan. Admittedly.

Tourmaline Pendant

This pendant is kind of based on the Tudor Rose design but it has seven petals instead of five. It’s right at an inch across. It’s made out of sterling silver which is 925/1000 silver alloy with that bit left being copper to add some stiffness. 99% of the pieces we make are in sterling, which works good for our fabrication process which in jewelry making means soldering metal together to make stuff. Instead of casting.

We call this style of pendant chassed which means the metal is worked with punches to get the shape. This one is pretty simple and has only a soldered jump-ring for a bail to wear on a chain.

This piece is set with a very nice Green Tourmaline. The price today is $108. We generally have a selection of chains which will fit and which can be purchased separately.