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Paul RichterThe Completed Skull Ring
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Mar
18
I am sure that my client in Australia is going to love this ring. Here is the skull ring which is now complete. You may remember the previous post where I showed you a few of the steps involved in the creation of the ring.

With the helmet on, the ring weighs over 40 grams. In the first picture you can see the ring as it looks without the "helmet". It is indeed a large solid ring. Some would call it a weapon. I see it more as a piece of art. Hand sculpted and manufactured. I admit, this is not my usual style of work. I had a lot of fun making it though.

Skull without helmet 
Skull with helmet 
 
skull ring, large skull, large skull ring, silver skull ring, heavy skull ring
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Published: March 18, 2013

Paul  RichterSkull Ring Part 3 - Carving the helmet
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Mar
7
The challenge here is to carve a set of wings which are basically symmetrical and the same mirror image of each other, but it helps that due to the natural organic aspect of the design, I allow myself to make slight differences in each. 

The pictures explain themselves, but here is the rundown:


  • draw a rough outline of the shape and size of the wings
  • place the sketch on the wax
  • transcribe the outline using a sharp tool to create a dotted line
  • remove the sketch which is now useless and full of holes!
  • begin carving the rough outline
  • start adding finer carved details
  • separate the winds and smooth out the carving, tweaking the details as necessary
  • align the wings and the shield roughly and melt together underneath to create a basic helmet
  • time to cast the basic design in silver
Part 4 to follow: tweaking and fitting the helmet to the skull.

Click the picture to visit the blog where I put bigger pictures. 

Wax Carving a Helmet

 
 
helmet, carving wax, skull ring helmet, feathers, detailed wax carving, custom helmet carving
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Published: March 7, 2013

Paul RichterSkull Ring Development Part 2
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Mar
7
This is the skull ring without it's helmet which is to follow. This is just after the ring has been cast in silver. It is now time to clean it up. This means tweaking the shape, finessing any lines that need to be sharpened up and finally it will be time for polishing.

Before final polishing there are a few more steps. I will need to create the "helmet" which is made up of a pair of wings which come together to hold a shield on the forehead. So instead of wasting time polishing the ring now, I will prepare it to the point of being ready for polishing, but I am going to be modelling the helmet to fit. This process of carving the helmet will be featured in part 3. 

I also need to make a mold of the ring. It took quite a few hours of carving, and I would like to make a copy of the ring so as to make the process worth my while. 

Skull ring casting
 
 
skull ring, carving ring, custom ring, custom skull ring, casting, silver casting, silver skull ring
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Published: March 7, 2013

Paul RichterWhat's The Catch?
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Feb
21
Okay, some call it a catch, others call it a clasp. But all of us bench jewellers or goldsmiths as I am known, refer to these essential components as "findings". Findings is a collective noun referring to (when used in the context of jewellery) all of the components that are used in the creation of a piece of jewellery. This includes but is not limited to clasps, settings, pins, hooks, posts and a myriad of other little inventions which include many different shapes and forms of each item. 

Back when I did my apprenticeship in South Africa about 20 years ago, becoming a goldsmith meant that you had to learn how to maufacture all findings by hand. We would melt the metal down, roll it out, draw wire from it, bend it, shape it, forge it, file it, anneal it, solder it, pierce it, sandpaper it, polish it and clean it. This meant hours upon hourse of mastering the ability to create and invent small object for use in jewellery manufacturing. This is what a goldsmith is and what he does. Similar to a blacksmith who does the same thing on a larger scale using a different medium. It is an acquired and learned skill. Some have great abilties which they hone, and some don't. Fortunately for the ones that don't have the background of creating components or findings from scratch, along came companies which cater to these non-goldsmiths. Everybody has there place in society and in business, so lucky for these jewellers, they now have a world of choice of components to choose from. 

I was first introduced to the concept of findings companies when I worked for John Donald in London, UK between 1998 and 2001. I would walk to Hatton Garden to run errands as part of my blue-collar, bench-monkey, goldsmith duties. Eurofindings was a place where we could purchase all of the little things that used to take me hours to produce by hand. It was amazing. The choice was really quite something spectacular.  I couldn't help but thinking to myself that it was l a bit like cheating. Like buying some of the crucial "bits and pieces" and soldering them together to create a "hand made" piece of jewellery. But this was the reality and this was a tool that all of us as goldsmith have resorted to from time to time to save time on creating small components that can be easily acquired and do not really detract from one's design or the quality. The quality is ultimately dependant on who is building the piece. A goldsmith with a solid understanding of how things are made and how they should be used goes a long way. I have seen some horrific offerings over the years from people who somehow manage to not only stay in business, but thrive. I guess that their customers didn't know better. Some did know better because I have had people come to me to have pieces repaired, modified, or remade completely when there is no choice. 

There is no turning our back on the companies that sell findings. I too use them for when I need to find a specific clasp or finding that is cheaper for the client to afford (or a price they are willing to pay). I give people a choice. That is because I can. Some jewellers can't. So the first thing they do is reach for their trusy catalogue and browse for a suitable part.

A case in point is a job I just finished this morning. A client of mine came to me with her husbands silver bracelet. He hated the lobster style clasp on it and wanted to have a clasp that is similar or the same as the clasp on her own silver bracelet. Now seeing as it is silver, I figured I would take a look in the catalogue for something similar to hers. Unfortunately it was    not to be found. Remember, people place different values on different things for a variety of different reasons. To her and her husband, these silver bracelets mean something. So I offered to hand make the clasp. The price would be twice that of a conventional commercially available clasp. It would take a couple or few hours to make. But she wanted it. So I made the clasp. Bigger than hers, seeing as it is for use by a man. 

This is what the difference is between a jeweller in a jewellery store chain, and a myself as goldsmith. We do all of the regular jewellery business, but we come with a backing of more options. We offer the more affordable options that most jewellers offer, but we also have the abiltity to solve a problem by creating something specific from metal in it's raw and shapeless state.

Below are pictures of the example I used referring to the clasp made for the bracelet. Not a particularly astounding project, but an example nevertheless. 

silver clasp
silver clasp
silver clasp
silver clasp
silver clasp

  
 
silver, goldsmith, findings, forge, create, manufacture, clasp, catch, setting, bracelet, repair, modify
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Published: February 21, 2013

Paul  RichterSkull ring carving 1
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Feb
20
I am currently developing a huge skull ring for a client in Australia who found me via my website. I am happy to be creating something for someone who has put his trust and money into me from half way round the world. 

This is the first installment of the production. I decided a bit too late to start taking pictures, so the description starts where the actual skull is near completion. The process starts of with a solid piece of wax tube with a hole in it which I carve to rthe right size of the client's finger. In this case it is a large one- size 12! In this set of photos you can see the skull taking shape, and the horns are one. I am now starting to decoratively carve the shank with a feather motif.

Stage two of the process will be to carve the featheres helmet which will sit on the skull. I want to create the skull to the correct shape and dimensions before fitting the helmet. I also want the skull to be perfectly cleaned up and polished before fitting the helmet. I don't want it to be a one  piece carving, for accuracy and cleanliness. 

Skull taking shape \
Front on skull
Skull ring front
Skull ring finger
Skull ring finger 
Carving skull ring shank 
 
skull, ring, wax, carving, silver, horns, helmet, production, big, large
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Published: February 20, 2013

Paul RichterMother Holding Infant Angel
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Feb
14
I was commissioned to make this pendant of a mother holding an infant angel after my client's personal loss. This one is hand carved and set with three small diamonds. It is also available in any metal of your choice. If you are interested in this keepsake or if you know of anyone who may like to own one, please contact me. 

Mother and Baby Angel Pendant 
 
pendant, baby, mother, silver, keepsake, infant, loss, memory, love
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Published: February 14, 2013

Paul  RichterEyeglass Repairs
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Feb
14
As part of my range of services, I am offering repairs to metal framed eyeglasses. I use a laser welder to perform these repairs, so that the visibility of the weld and thus the repair are minimal. Most optomotrists in Ottawa will send your glasses out to Toronto or Montreal to have them repaired. This ends up costing you a turnaround time of a week usually, which is is unfortunate when you need your glasses for daily life.

Prices vary from repair to repair, depending on the complexity. A typical range is from $40 to $60 depending on the break. All the work is guaranteed, so if they break in the same place again, i will repair them in a more agressive way, but at no charge. 

I already have certain optometric clinics in the Ottawa area that are using my service, or simply referring clients to me. If you know of someone that needs a pair of glasses fixed, please send them my way.  
 
eyeglass repair, glasses, repair, frames, fix, optometrist, spectacle, local, repair, emergency, ottawa
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Published: February 14, 2013

Paul RichterCollaboration News
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Oct
26
Suzanne Spisani and myself have decided to collaborate more closely on a co-designed and produced line of exclusive jewellery to be coming out in the near future.

We are very excited about the potential of this move. More details to be shared as and when developments are made.
 
 
suzanne spisani, design, collaboration, paul richter, exclusive
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Published: October 26, 2011

Paul RichterGold price rises above platinum today.
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Aug
22
Remember when I would tell you that Platinum if at least double the price of gold, and therefore beyond your budget? Well surprise surprise. Gold poked it's head above the platinum price today, making it more expensive than the rare white metal. This means that we will most likely be producing more platinum pieces in the near future. Don't be confused though. The price quotes refer to 1oz. of the metals respectively in their pure form. Platinum is typically alloyed down to 95% pure with 5% alloy (typically iridium or the ever more popular ruthenium). Gold jewellery in North America is typically either 10K or 14K and sometimes 18K. Using 14K as an example, the pure gold is alloyed with a variation of alloy metals to bring it's purity down to 58.5% with the balance being alloy materials. This means that for now, the price per gram of 14K white gold versus platinum is still less expensive. To remain competitive and viable in the market place, we are unable to raise the profit margins on our staple raw material to proportionally reflect the increase in it's pure price. The question on all of our minds is this: Where do we go from here? Nobody can answer this question absolutely, so we wait and watch with baited breath.

Read more about this here: http://www.wealthwire.com/news/metals/1664

Gold Platinum Ratio 
 
platinum, gold, price
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Published: August 22, 2011

Paul RichterMilling a ring
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Aug
13
The rotary tool path of a patterened band being milled on the Roland MDX40A 
Rotary Milling 
 
roland mdx40, cad/cam, wax model
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Published: August 13, 2011

Paul RichterNew Collaboration
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Aug
11
It is with great honour and pride that PBR Designs is now working in collaboration with jewellery designer and manufacturer Suzanne Spisani of Spisani Designs, based in Revelstoke, British Columbia. 

We look forward to a succesful relationship with Suzanne. Her wonderful work can be seen at http://www.suzannespisani.com/index.html

Suzanne Spisani 
 
suzanne spisani
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Published: August 11, 2011

Paul RichterFirst time advertising
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Aug
2
We sponsored a hole in a local charity golf tournament this summer. Here is a picture of the sign that was placed on the hole. It was a proud moment. 

 
 
sign, advert, golf tournament, pbr designs, sponsor, golf, sign
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Published: August 2, 2011
 
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