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madd-vyking

Sterling or Fine Silver, also size & gauge decision, Opinions?

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Hey there all...just been commissioned to do a pair of matching earrings and bracelet to go with these his/hers rings:

 

post-6814-0-18149300-1383949567_thumb.jpg

 

So I'm pretty stoked, to say the least.

 

Situation is this: I used fine silver and black niobium for these rings, 20g 9/64" and 1/8", E6-1. The weave works fine, but I've sworn to never use fine silver in a finger ring again until I reach a point where I'm soldering all the individual links, it is really just not strong enough for everyday wear, and I don't care to make things that will not hold up.

 

The earrings are no problem, I will be using fine silver again; earrings just don't see enough stress for it to matter. (At least the way people I know wear earrings--maybe folks you know have a bit more vigorous lifestyle...)

 

My question comes down to the bracelet. My experience is that bracelets do not get banged around nearly as much as finger rings, but certainly more than earrings. I plan on making the bracelet in dragonscale, 5 rows wide, with a similar pattern as on the (finger)rings with the black niobium, also using black niobium as the smaller ring of the weave.

 

So I'm trying to decide if I should stick with the fine silver, or switch to Sterling, which seems a bit sturdier? Also, was originally planning on 20g 3/16" and 20g 1/8" rings, but wondering also if I might not want to bump up to 19g, either 19g 3/16" or 7/32" and 20g 1/8" or 5/32" for better strength. (Not needing advice on which rings work w/ dragonscale, just should I go with 20g or 19g, really)

 

I know several people have made dragonscale from silver before, hoping for your thoughts, opinions and how well your projects came out with what you chose? (primarily as to strength/sturdiness)

 

Thank you all, in advance...

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Personally, I'd go with the sterling silver. Bracelets can receive a lot of banging around, almost as much as rings. Also, they can get caught on objects and get torn apart. Rings and bracelets tend to be the highest wear pieces of jewelry in terms of rough treatmeant and so stronger materials are better for long-term durability.

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Offhand, I'd say that unless you are *doing*something*drastically*wrong* jewelry made out of rings from TRL is pretty strong. I've had bracelets I've made break only twice. Once when a woman got it caught in the corner of a metal cash register drawer as she was closing it, and once when a 4 year old girl kept yanking on it as hard as she could.

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I don't typically have any problem with jewelry breaking on any kind of regular basis, but it's definitely all about what materials you use and where. You're not going to get away with 22g copper, for instance, connecting a clasp to a bracelet, no matter the weave. And I've unfortunately found out, that you can't use fine silver in a finger ring if that ring is going to see any kind of hard wear at all, maybe even just regular daily wear, at least not made in 20g. Mostly, I work in stainless and copper alloys, and I don't normally have any issues--if I'm worried about strength in a particular application, I stick with stainless or bronze or brass. I don't have nearly as much experience with precious metals, as of yet.

 

But there's a big difference between bracelets you sell for +/-$50, than in one that someone is plunking down $325 for. There's a certain expectation on the part of the buyer that they are purchasing a piece of a certain quality, and that quality includes durability. If I was the purchaser I would neither expect nor tolerate a piece that didn't hold up to normal wear, and as a jewelry maker I both want a quality product for my customer, and don't want to be haunted by frequent future repairs.

 

To that end I'm sticking with using fine silver in earrings, even though the color is just fabulous, until such time as I am able to solder each individual link, A least when we're talking about 19g and down. Larger than that in small ARs may be alright, but other than that I'm sticking with Sterling. I suppose there's a reason it's been the standard for some 900-ish years-maybe I shouldn't be so eager to reinvent the wheel.

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Just a little update, for those that might be interested...

 

Decided to go with Sterling for the bracelet, after all, and in 20g 3/16" w/ 20g 1/8" rings. ( Thanks Narrina and Jodey Hathaway for your advice!) The earrings are in fine silver w/ black niobium and chrome diopside stones. Delivered just today, and they're an Xmas present, so I can't post photos anywhere else just yet...so I thought I'd share here.

 

 

post-6814-0-96934100-1387235886_thumb.jpgpost-6814-0-32367000-1387235897_thumb.jpgpost-6814-0-99548800-1387235904_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Just a little update, for those that might be interested...

 

Decided to go with Sterling for the bracelet, after all, and in 20g 3/16" w/ 20g 1/8" rings. ( Thanks Narrina and Jodey Hathaway for your advice!) The earrings are in fine silver w/ black niobium and chrome diopside stones. Delivered just today, and they're an Xmas present, so I can't post photos anywhere else just yet...so I thought I'd share here.

 

 

Silver and black niobium dragonscale bracelet 037 (2) WM.jpg Silver & black niobium w chrome diopside earrings 039 (2) WM.jpg Silver & black niobium w chrome diopside bracelet & earrings 024 (2) WM.jpg

Is it bad of me to covet these? I mean I for one LOVE! Dragonscale, and that. . . . *drools* is spectacular!

 

I hear you on quality. My ex apprentice never understood why I focused so much on the quality of my work. . . Its your name that is going out there!

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You can work harden rings when they are already closed with minimal distortion. I preclose rings, spread them flat under a thick cloth or leather and gently wack at them with a mallet. Don't bang hard, or at an angle or you will ruin them though. Especially 20g and smaller.

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