The Making of the Initial Rings

My adjustable initial rings are my #1 seller.  Then they were featured in the US weekly holiday gift guide, and now there’s a literal frenzy over them!  While I’m waiting for some material to arrive so I can make more to meet the demand I thought I’d share with you the process of how they are made.  They’re extra special in that I create each and everyone especially for the recipient, one at a time by hand.

The rings are solid cast brass. Before I even begin to personalize them they are first often filed and sanded, then tumbled for over 1-2 hours to smooth and shine them slightly. (They do have a slight matte finish)

Each ring is individually hand stamped with the letters the buyer chooses:

Here I am looking pretty exhausted after having hammered about 25-30 rings.

Below you can see some of the stamps I use.

Then each is formed on a mandrel with a rawhide mallet until they’re the desired shape and size

The letters are oxidized to make them stand out, then the rings are lightly sanded and buffed by hand to remove extra color and smooth them slightly. I use both fine grit sandpaper and polishing pads to achieve the finish.

Finally I give each a wax coating to protect and preserve the finish. (This also helps slightly with those who react to brass and sometimes get the “green” effect.

The finished product:

Rings can be purchased at http://www.valeriemiscellanea.etsy.com (when available!  They sell out quick!)

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Jewelry Studio Behind the Scenes: Packing and Shipping

Just wanted to give you a little “behind the scenes” information about my packing and shipping.  While I sell a lot of jewelry direct in person at art shows, I also sell to boutiques as well as online at Etsy in two different shops.  This then entails a lot of packing and shipping.  I like to minimize the impact on the environment by doing several things:

1.  I use recycled kraft boxes.  They’re sturdy, and look nice and simple, but they’re also 100% recycled!

2.  The plastic jewelry bags I try to use are really neat. They’re actually biodegradable!  The oxo-biodegradable plastic will break down naturally and return to nature once its useful life is finished.

3.  I hoard any packing materials I receive, thus recycling bubble wrap and other materials to add extra padding to protect shipments.

4.  Finally the bubble mailers I use are made from 100% recycled white kraft paper and are ecologically friendly.

I do my best to source these all at good prices to keep the shipping costs low for you, my customers!

Of course, in addition to trying to minimize environmental impact, I also always add a personally hand-written thank you note.  Your jewelry is coming from me (the sole designer and creator of the jewelry) direct to you!

Studio Mod Complete (almost)

Well, here’s the update on the studio mod from a week or so ago.  The shelves are in and raw materials and finished inventory is just about organized.  My desk is clean for perhaps two mintues!  My studio is of course an ever-evolving space.  (Also note, I don’t do my dirtier solder work in this room, that is in another workspace!) ImageImage

Studio Mod In Progress

There’s some big developments underway in my studio, as in an entire wall of shelving! My husband and I are making it entirely ourselves and it’s almost complete. I’m really loving how the stain is coming out all rustic like reclaimed barn wood. I’ll post the finished project soon!