Hello, everyone! Since the launch of our Dragon Nursery, there have been many inquiries on these unique rings! To give you all a little more insight on how I make them (and why they're priced the way they are), I decided to document the making of one of the rings.
A: A special place to adopt one of a kind "dragon eggs" (opals) that are made into a special sterling silver ring just for you!
Q: What's so great about these "dragon eggs"?
A: Each egg has one of a kind physical characteristics with its own personality. You can read about them on their product pages. With each egg ring, you get an official adoption certificate and a decorative ring holder.
Q: Ok, but what are the eggs really made of?
A: Opals. Specifically, Australian boulder opals, Australian Lighting Ridge opals, and Mexican cantera fire opals. Sometimes other opals are used - it's always listed in the product description. These opals are all amazing because no two are ever the same. I specifically choose opals that feature unique, one of a kind characteristics. The patterns, colors, and opalescence on these stones are all extremely unique and stand out.
Q: Why are they so expensive compared to your other jewelry?!
A: Simply put - these opals are rare. The unique properties I previously mentioned are what make these stones expensive to buy. Each ring's price is reflective of the quality and rarity of the stone.
Now, onto our guided tour of dragon ring making!
Here you'll see the raw materials of the ring: the opal (egg), a scale patterned sterling band, a 28ga strip of sterling, and a 30ga sterling sheet.
First, I measure the strip of sterling silver to fit around the opal. This is the first step in creating a bezel cup for the stone.
Once I do that, I cut the strip and solder the ends together. At this point I'll also take off any extra height that the strip might have, so as not to cover more of the opal than necessary. After this is done, I cut a piece of the sterling sheet and place the soldered strip on top.
The strip is now soldered to the sheet.
Now I use shears to cut the excess off.
Once most of the extra sheet is trimmed, I use a dremel to file down the edge and make it smooth.
Now it's time to start working on the band for the ring. I get out my ring mandrel and wrap the silver around the correct size, then cut.
This is the tricky part. The ends of the band must fit EXACTLY against the side of the bezel. Otherwise, the joint won't take when I go to solder it. Here I am using a diamond bit to slightly curve the ends of the band.
After fitting the band to the side of the bezel, I apply the solder paste and fire to join them together.
Once both ends of the band have been soldered to the bezel, I put the ring in a pickling solution to get rid of the extra solder. Once it's out, I brush off the layer of pure silver that formed on the outside of the ring. At this point, if the opal is transparent, I will drill out a hole on the bottom of the bezel to let in the light. The opal I'm using today is opaque on the bottom, so I'm skipping that step. Instead I go straight to the blackener to achieve and antique finish.
The blackener is applied, so I go rinse off the extra solution in warm water with a soft sponge. Now I use a silicone polisher to remove the blackener from the surface, leaving it in the crevices on the design.
Finally, I can set the opal into the bezel and close the walls around it. Voila! The dragon ring is finished!