Arts & Crafts Magazine

Adventures in Metalsmithing: My First Commissioned Project!

By Whollykao @whollyKao

adventures in metalsmithing: my first commissioned project!

03 It’s been a while since I’ve written about my metalsmithing class. I’m still really enjoying it: in fact, I look forward to it every week! And now I am proud to say that I’ve worked on my first commissioned project – a ring for my friend Cathy. Cathy’s husband, Andy, asked me to make her something special for their anniversary, and suggested a ring.

I started out by finding out Cathy’s style and what likes: what styles of clothing and jewelry she digs, what stores she’s in to. I just wanted a good sense of what kind of ring would be best for her.

Using the information I got from Andy and from Cathy’s close friends, I came up with a couple design options for the ring. This is the one that was picked.


After the design was chosen, I ordered the materials, and made the ring during a weekend metalsmithing workshop. It was my first time working with gold, and I was nervous. I had only ever worked with silver, and from what my teacher said, working with gold was a lot different than silver because of the metal’s properties. And since gold is priced per the market value of the day, I couldn’t afford to make any mistakes. My teacher Marilyn helped me out all throughout the process – I was really grateful for her guidance and help!

My starting materials consisted of:
-white gold wire for the band
-yellow gold wire for the accent ‘stones’
-a small sheet of gold for the bezel that wraps around the stone
-a sapphire
-gold solder.

With those pieces, I was able to create this ring. There was a lot of sawing, drilling, and torch work involved. Once the metalsmithing part was complete, the ring was polished until it shone. There are several special machines that scrub away all the imperfections on the ring to make it all shiny. It was kind of amazing to watch the transformation.


I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and am glad to say that my friend Cathy really digs this ring too! And now, I can proudly say that I’ve got a commissioned project under my belt. Woohoo!

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