Making Sea Glass Rings

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I like to take photos while I'm making jewellery, and if I'm making it bespoke for a particular customer I enjoy sending off pictures as their piece takes shape. One of the most interesting items to photograph as a work in progress is the sea glass ring. Probably because there are so many processes involved and each ring is different, a different piece of glass, different shapes, sizes or thickness etc!
When a customer contacts me the first step is for them to pick a piece of sea glass, this either involves me digging out my happy box of glasses or sending photos so that the customer gets a range of options.
     
Once the customer has picked their personal piece of sea glass then the fun really begins...
I start by making the ring to the customers size measurements- there's choices to be made- the thickness of the silver wire, smooth, round, hammered or a  flat finish?  The customer whose ring images I'm going to share chose a thicker 3mm hammered texture ring to match the lovely chunky sea glass piece she chose. She particularly loved the ridges showing on the glass, as it shows the history of this Scottish glass, it was probably thrown as waste from a bottle or a glass factory on the coast of Scotland in the 18th or 19th century to wash ashore all these years later. We guess the ridges were from a bottle originally but there is no way of actually knowing what it was.
    
 
Once the ring is made I start measuring and fitting a thin strip of fine silver bezel to go around the sides of the glass- this will eventually hold the sea glass securely in place. Once the bezel is soldered to shape I cut out the backing piece. I'm really conscious of the environmental impact of everything I do and am constantly trying to minimise waste and recycle everything, so measuring the backing silver for the sea glass often looks like a jigsaw puzzle as I squeeze every usable millimetre from my silver sheet.
     
 
Once the bezel strip is matched with the piece of silver sheet backing it is soldered together to form an individual cup which should cradle snuggly around the piece of sea glass it was made for. Each piece of sea glass has its own unique bezel cup.
         
The bezel cup now needs to be cut to shape and filed so that the outside is seamless and its ready to be attached to the ring. This is the delicate part as the various pieces of silver are different thicknesses and can withstand differing amounts of heat before melting in to a blob! They have all already each been soldered at least once and it gets harder to work with each time you heat it. So it's fingers crossed when we attach the cup to the ring.
       
If it successfully attaches then it gets popped into a pickling pot to be cleaned up and comes out all white in colour and ready for a polish and the final fitting of the sea glass. Once the seagrass is all cosy in its cup/ring then I bend the bezel strip over the top of the glass to hold it firmly in place before a final polishing reveals the completed ring.
             
  
 
       
 

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