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From my bench: Shell formed ring in 22k and Iron

by James Binnion on October 6, 2008

Shell formed Ring in 22k and Iron mokume gane with diamond

Shell formed Ring in 22k and Iron mokume gane with diamond

Here  is another iron / precious metal  mokume gane item. This one again required  some thinking on how to get a large volume shape without trying to carve the whole thing from a solid block. Due to the size of the stone 14mm x 10mm it was going to be a large ring.  My solution is a shell formed ring. The blank was 2mm thick so that the ring would have a substantial heft but still be way lighter than a solid ring. This allows the ring to withstand any knocking about it might receive during its lifetime without denting.

The  template was worked out using basic formulas from  Alan Revere’s book Professional Goldsmithing and a bit of tweaking based on experience. I made a couple of trial rings in brass to verify the size then cut out the blank. The biggest problem was getting the stone bezel segment of the template correct the shape for the curve in that area is critical to a good fit. Once the template was cut the ends were formed with a dapping punch and a wood stump. After the shell was formed it was soldered and then began the clean up and fitting phase to fit the finger tube and bezel into the shell. Once that was done the ring was soldered, cleaned, finished and then set.

Hope you enjoyed this one,


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Adam Caver September 13, 2009 at 8:53 am

Hey Jim,

Very well done! Thank you for including pictures of the works in progress for those that want to try it out on there own.

Maureen Brusa Zappellini September 12, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Gorgeous ring Jim- 22k and iron? astounding!:-)

atinuj October 9, 2008 at 7:28 am

Hi Jim,

This is a really beautiful ring. I made a ring like this a long time ago in class and after seeing your ring, I think I will have to refresh my memory and make another one!

BTW, we took Nao Sensei’s class together this past April.

Jim October 8, 2008 at 8:48 pm

Hi Mary,
I know it is large but it is a woman’s ring. She likes large bold work .


Mary, White Branch Designs October 8, 2008 at 7:58 pm

I agree, Absolutely Beautiful! Wish you had a smaller version a woman could wear. The lines remind me of patterns on an animal skin, zebra or maybe tiger.

Lisa October 8, 2008 at 8:36 am

Jim, It’s beautiful, makes me want to try something hollow!

Pedro October 8, 2008 at 2:54 am

This is craftmanship of the highest level. Perfect and awsome! I love the pattern. Being a newby in mokumé gané, I know how difficult it is to get their. I wish I can present an item being as nice as this one in the future. I hope to get even better just to keep me going.


laney October 7, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

tschetterstudio October 7, 2008 at 6:49 am

Really handsome ring, Jim! I always enjoy your posts as they are backed by your solid knowledge of metals. I’ve always wanted to know if you teach a metalurgy class because I’d like to take it!

Hanuman October 6, 2008 at 7:53 pm

I Love it Jim! The iron and gold mokume has kind of a woody texture. very appealing.

Susan Thornton October 6, 2008 at 7:42 pm

I love making hollow rings. I took a box ring workshop with Fred Fenster and really had a wealth of ideas after that week. There are so many great sculptural styles to box rings.

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