Ring A Month Challenge
Following on from last month’s reveal that I was selected as Cooksongold’s Designer of the Month, I have decided to take part in an Instagram challenge for this year. Anna of the Jewellery School of Scotland designed the challenge for jewellers back in 2018 as a way to get herself to ‘commit to making something consistently for a year’. The challenge has grown both nationally and internationally with both professional and hobbyist jewellers enthused to create a ring inspired by each month’s theme.
January’s theme was ‘At the Movies’ and after considering several film titles, I settled on making a cast silver Popcorn ring. I’ve used sand casting before but have not always had consistent results so it was definitely a technique that I wanted to practise more of.
A mould for sand casting is created in two parts using a metal frame filled with Delft Clay which is not clay at all but a very fine sand mixed with oils so that when packed down it becomes really dense. The piece of popcorn is pressed firmly in to the first half that has been filled with the sand before the second part of the frame is added and packed with more sand. The mould is then opened up and the original piece of popcorn is removed to leave a void where the popcorn was. Once the two parts of the mould were put back and clamped together again, the scrap silver could be melted down to a molten state and poured inside to create the complete cast of the popcorn.
I cast a few pieces and once I had chosen the best piece I then spent time refining the cast, filing back any imperfections and polishing it before soldering it to the shank and gilding it with 24 carat gold leaf to replicate the areas where the kernel pieces stick to the popcorn. All in all, I am pleased with the result and it has attracted a lot of favourable comments on my account – so much so that I would make them to order if people were interested in ordering them. I am hoping that it will be included on the @RingAMonth account showcase so do take a look if you are on Instagram. I wonder what February’s theme will be…