Friday, June 3, 2011

Cuneiform ring

I was recently contacted by a client who wanted to commission a custom designed ring for a family friend as a high school grad present. I always find it very inspiring when someone comes to me with a project that has a great deal of thought and or meaning
behind it. This particular job contained both. I was informed that the recipient was deeply interested in ancient history, language, and art and that she had completed a school project involving cuneiform symbols. Essentially these were originally pressed into clay tablets as pictograms. Then they were refined to represent the pictograms and became one of the world's first written forms of language. Above are the cuneiform symbols, sounded out phonetically, for the word, "Hope" and this is the message my client wanted on the outside of a custom made sterling silver ring. As you can see, essentially this is a combination of triangles and lines. The cuneiform symbols were originally very uniform as a result of being pressed from the same object, often a reed. I wanted to have a similar result on the ring I made. My client also asked that it have hammer marks to resemble an ancient artifact. I began by carving the general ring size into a block of wax and used my reamer to shave the inside to the exact inside ring diameter. I then measured and marked out the desired
ring thickness and proceeded to remove the excess material. I then went about creating a template for the cuneiform text, I made a small triangle of wax and using an ink stamp pad I proceeded to stamp out the word for hope to the exact scale I needed it on a piece of paper. I wrapped
this paper on my finished wax ring and scribed through the paper and into the wax. Using dental tools I cleaned it all up and prepared my wax for casting. Once cast into sterling silver I filed and sanded the metal before adding the hammer marks that would aid in giving me an ancient look. I patina-ed the ring to add depth to the recessed symbols, and then polished it to a high shine. A personalized message was hand engraved on the inside in Latin and this inspiring piece was ready to be presented to it's new owner.
Happy Graduation Mariel.