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Getting better all the time

April 14, 2010

Last weekend I attended the wonderful world of WIREFEST, a huge event just outside of Philly hosted by Interweave Press. Walking in the door, you feel like you’ve just been transported to bead heaven ~ there are dozens and dozens of booths to visit, each filled to the brim with fantastic beads (usually at can’t miss prices), tools, books, people, noise, silver, glass, and just about anything else you can think of related to the craft of jewelry making. The only thing better in these parts is the BIG bead show they hold there in August. 

While I didn’t load up like I usually do (starting my Etsy store has made me much more frugal in my own personal shopping), I couldn’t resist a beautiful strand of 6mm faceted peridot rondelles. I just love the way they hold the light, and all the occlusions and rough spots in their cut make them seem ancient to me. I couldn’t wait to put a few into a ring. 

Three-Stone Peridot Ring with Three Silvers

Rings are one of the most difficult things to make, but one of my favorites (probably because I can admire the finished results so easily when I’m wearing them). But for years I was frustrated with my ring-making efforts because I just couldn’t find the right mix of materials — fine silver was just too soft and sterling silver was harder to keep shiny. So when I discovered the wonderful properties of argentium silver, I felt like a new world had opened up for me. I make my shanks out of 16-gauge round wire and can’t believe how sturdy they are. They’re thin and comfortable to wear, but they really hold their shape well and don’t tend to develop flat spots from heavy use. Did I mention they’re sturdy? 

Once I have the blank in hand, it’s pretty easy to craft a neat looking ring with a piece of thin wire and a few leftover beads. Eventually, I intend to sell my custom-made argentium ring blanks, and when I do I’ll post some instructions here for inspiration. Until then, I’m still working out the kinks on my photography skills. This shot is quite a bit better than the horrid earring shot of last week, don’t you think?

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