I've started hammering sterling silver to create handmade rings and I love it, what's even more shocking is that I also love all the sanding and filing and buffing of the silver that comes afterwards to make it beautiful.
Which is weird because I absolutely loathed sanding in metalwork class at school. I guess sanding a piece of metal that is going to become a screw driver end just isn't as inspiring for me as creating something pretty. I've always been all about the pretty.
I recently made this pretty little hammered silver wraparound ring (click) below, created from 2mm thick .925 sterling silver wire. It's incredibly sturdy and yet easy to manipulate into about 9 different ring sizes, it can even be manually adjusted by hand. It's intended to be worn as a thumb ring which is oh so trendy at the moment but can be worn on the middle finger or other fingers and looks rather dashing there too.
This item sold already, so today I made another one, I hope to hammer many more over time to go to new loving homes, and I aim to diversify the styles on offer over time too.
What I like about hammered silver rings is how handmade they look. Whatever handmade jewellery you create it's typically very difficult to make it look factory made, but that is what is so charming about it ... the originality of each and every piece, geniunely looking like someone actually hand crafted it.
I also admire things that look a bit shabby and distressed, I like old houses, and I like making rings look somewhat battered and vintage rather than brand new and perfect. I find perfection in the imperfections.
What Is Hammering?
It's simple really, hammering is the process of taking a piece of silver and hammering it quite literally with a hammer onto a sturdy surface such as a block of stainless steel.
It can be as simple as gently hammering a piece flat or flatter without actually denting it, or it can be a matter of deliberately adding in knocks and groves to create that lovely hammered look. How much you hammer it and how many dings you create entirely depends on how you want your piece to look. That's what makes each handmade jewellery piece totally original.
Here is a picture of my hammer, a ring mandrel (you hammer the silver ring around it to create a nice round shape), and my block of stainless steel.
Where did I get my stainless steel block? My fiancee kindly picked up from the steelworks across the road from where he works. He decided to a paint one side green for me - I have no idea why, he's all about being extra that man.
You can buy a block like this online but the postage costs must be hellish so it's worth trying to source one locally, if you try to hammer on anything else it just won't work, it really does need to be a block of solid hard metal lie this.
I know ... because I tried it on brick etc first :D Don't bother, you will just smash the brick.
More images of our hammered rings ...