Friday, October 24, 2008

I Never Dreamed I'd Have to Do This Again!

There are very few pieces I make that take me as much as an hour to do. Even fewer that take me longer than an hour. I've been wire-wrapping for more than 20 years, so I've had lots of practice! THIS thing took me THREE HOURS!

It's a custom setting for a customer named Alice. I first made this ring for Alice roughly 10 years ago. I don't remember how long it took me the first time, but I'd be willing to bet it was even more than three hours. (This time around I had the original setting to look at--the first time I had to "figure it out".) The stone is huge, about 1-1/8" (28mm) long by 7/16" (18mm) wide by 1/2" (12mm) deep. I don't ever set stones that big in rings because, due to their size, the wires forming the prongs would be so long that they would have no stability and the stone would immediately fall out. Well, Alice wasn't to be deterred. She was sure I could come up with something! Hence the double-band. It spreads the wires further apart so they can form the prongs and stabilizing designs without being quite so long (and weak!) Alice was thrilled with the result, and the ring was worn proudly and without incident for more than a decade.

Well, like most of us as we get older, Alice's fingers have "grown" a bit. The ring no longer fits. So she brought it back to be made larger. It's not really possible to enlarge a wire ring more than 1/4 to 1/2-size, so a "remaking" was in order. I swear, I distinctly remember when I had finished it the first time, I was SO relieved! Man, I'd never have to do something like THAT again! Oops...

The original setting is on the right. I actually made two changes to the design as I was crafting the new one. Can you spot the differences? ;D

Now, I really don't want to have to do a setting like this again. I really recommend that a stone this large NOT be set in a wire-wrapped ring. But I DO have a lot of wire-wrapped rings that are equally as gorgeous that I make on a regular basis (and they don't take me three hours each to complete!) You really need to check out my Rings page on my website. My webmaster just got done uploading all new pictures, and they look great!



panzersoot said...

I just picked up the ring from Contemporary Concepts and cannot stop gazing at it!

Yes, this is the second time Jan got to wrestle with this big smoky quartz.

Some time before I met Jan, I was at a gem show with the stone and asked one of the MEN that did wire wrapping if he could do a double shank. I'd never seen one, but thought that, considering the length of the stone, a double shank would keep it from twisting on my finger. "Oh, no, you can't do that," sez the man. That's never been done. So, I reluctantly let him set it with a single shank. I wanted it low in the setting because it's 1/2" high and anything higher would catch on everything. When I picked the ring up from him, I was SO disappointed. It ended up being almost 3/4" high. YUCK. So it sat in my jewelry box.

When I met Jan, I mentioned the ring to her and her eyes lit up at the challenge. She had the ugly ring with the beautiful stone for months, studying and contemplating her attack.

Out of the blue, I got a call that the ring was ready for me to pick it up, and she hoped that I'd like it.

"WOW" doesn't come anywhere near my reaction! It was precisely what I'd been looking for, only more stunning!!

The photo does not do it justice.

Thank you, Jan, for having the vision to think beyond "what has been done" to "what can be done".

You're a GEM!


wiregems said...

Thanks, Alice!

As much as I might fuss about it, it's customers like you--the ones with the challenges--that keep my creative juices flowing!

OLLIE MCKAY ~ A Chic Boutique For Girls Who Shop and Girls Who Golf ~ And lots of Yada in between~ Enjoy! said...

Love the ring! Just finished viewing your website ~ you have so many beautiful items! I'm interest in the anklets, as I just lost mine last week :(( What type of clasps do you use? I prefer the lobster clasp instead of the round circular ones. How much more would it be to do that on any of your items? Keep up all the creative designing!