A promise ring is a piece of jewelry designed to designate either a religious vow of celibacy until marriage or the intention of a future marriage proposal. While these keepsakes are available for purchase in stores, you can make a meaningful symbol of your intentions with a hand-crafted promise ring. Make your ring from real silver using metal clay and hand-modeling techniques.
Things You'll Need
- 10-gram package silver clay
- Small dish of water
- Ring mandrel with size indicator
- Sewing pin
- Fine sandpaper
- Small butane torch
- Wire brush or stiff toothbrush
- Burnishing tool, polished agate or metal spoon
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Remove the clay from the package and condition it. Moisten your hands with water and knead the clay in your fingers until it's pliable and soft.
Form a basic ring band around the mandrel. Roll the clay into a long, thin coil by rolling it back and forth between the palm of your hand and your work surface. Wrap this shape around the section of the mandrel that corresponds to your desired ring size plus 1-1/2 additional sizes (to account for the clay shrinking as it dries).
Refine the ring shape. Press the ring gently against the mandrel with your fingertip, moving all the way around the band of clay; this will flatten the inside of the band. Trim away any uneven portions using the pin as a knife.
Remove the ring from the mandrel. Let the ring dry partially (about five minutes), then gently pull it away from the mandrel. If the ring cracks or breaks during this process, moisten the pieces and stick them back together.
Wet your finger and rub the surface of the ring to smooth out imperfections.
Write an inscription on the ring band using the sewing pin. Depending on whether you're making a pre-engagement promise ring or a chastity ring, you could write messages like the name of yourself and your significant other, "Our Love Waits," or symbols like a heart or a cross.
Dry the ring completely. This will take roughly an hour or two, depending on the clay formula and moisture condition. The drying process is complete when the clay is lighter in color and dry to the touch.
Sand the ring. Rub away any rough places on the dried clay ring with fine-grain sandpaper.
Fire the ring. Place the clay ring on a brick or block of cement and place the flame of a small butane torch (such as a creme-brulee torch) directly over the ring. Keep it engulfed in flame until the entire ring glows orange.
Finish the fired silver. After the ring has cooled (at least an hour), brush away the ash and burnt clay base with a stiff wire brush or new, stiff toothbrush. Rub the ring firmly with a burnishing tool or the back of a spoon to make it shine.