Finishing my first photoetching project – a silver band ring

Photoetching - the finished ring in close up

I haven’t had a lot of time at the weekends recently, been busy with other craft courses and sorting out another car as we gained another driver in the family when my son passed his driving test early at the end of April. We’ve decided that he will have my car and I am getting a newer one, which we are picking up tomorrow. Exciting.

A silversmithing opportunity

Today I was supposed to be doing the pots in the garden but it was raining (shame) so I had an unexpected few hours to do other things. Did some chores but then decided to work on the band ring I had been making at my silversmithing at Leeds College of Art. Ages ago I set up a pine table that I got free from Freecycle as a workbench in the garage. My son fixed a board to the bottom of a shelf above the table to use as a silversmithing bench and I put my anvil and my vice on there. My mum was very ill from New Year 2013 and I was busy caring for her until she died last July and then there have been things to sort out, her house to clear and get ready for sale, son’s driving lessons and life in general.

My budding jewellery bench got neglected and very dusty.

Last weekend I spent one afternoon dusting it all off, tidying the garage and having a bit of a clear out. For the first time in nearly 18 months, I can use it again and I was really pleased to have this extra couple of hours.

The silver band that I have been photoetching in the course was too long to make a ring the right size, so I spent time at the class on Thursday cutting it to exactly 60mm, the size to fit on my left index finger. I have a lot of rings but not many that fit that finger and I like to crochet with a ring there as it catches the light and sort of pleases me.

Overcoming my previous error

When I was cutting through the joint, after forming the band into a ring, I made the mistake of catching the saw on the opposite side of the band. Today I filed the corners off one of the end pieces I had cut off and played around with the idea of soldering it to the front of the ring, to hide the cut mark. This went quite well but not perfectly but I did learn a lot in the process. Once the ring was soldered with its extra piece, I put it in liver of sulphur and warm water for a few minutes and then polished it lightly.

The finished ring

Photoetching silver band ring - the side
Photoetching silver band ring – the side
Photoetching silver band ring - the back
Photoetching silver band ring – the back

The etching on the silver band was not very deep so it didn’t hold the patina very well. Instead of repeating I experimented with some alcohol inks that I had bought from Ebay early in the week. I chose a deep blue and used the end of a cotton bud to move the ink into the etchings on the ring. The effect is subtle, oh so subtle, but I really like it.

It looks vintage and aged with a tiny hint of blue. I love the shape too and the effect of the extra piece soldered to the top of the ring. It fits my index finger perfectly and has a sort of dark denim tint – goes very well with the lovely red nails that Abbie did for me this week!

This is a technique I am going to try to perfect in the next few weeks. I’ve made a thinner ring from 2mm silver wire and I’ve given it a hammered and polished finish. I think I might try to solder the second end piece of my photoetched silver onto that to see how it turns out.