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Project Dragon's Tail
Dragon's Tail
A few months ago I got the idea of crafting a solid gold ring with assorted gems, motif and a "hidden" message on the inside. While I was toying with the concept I wanted to try to create something that was unique from everything that I'd seen before - such as inverting the faceted, round gems so they actually point outward (hence the name of the ring "Dragon's Tail") but also allows the gems to refract light through the ring to the finger the ring is on (and, I suppose, the reverse would apply). Along with that I also wanted to have a message on the inside of the ring (I reveal most of it here).

Before getting into how I created the solid gold ring (which is surprisingly challenging with just a few hand tools readily available - such as turning solid gold plates into approximate circles), let's take a look at the gold ring in its final form.
Dragon's Tail Gold Ring Post Mortum


The Dragon's Tail is surprisingly heavy for a ring, too; I'm estimating over an ounce although I'll get the ring weighed and put a number here later. However, there's nothing quite like a heavy, solid gold ring as compared to today's metal filled rings or cheaper gold plated rings. It almost seems to have a medieval feel to it. UPDATE: Got the ring weighed and it turns out to be 19.8 grams or .7 ounces.

NOTE: Click on any image on this webpage in order to see a larger size of it.

Crafting the Dragon's Tail
Here, you see that I've already drilled 2mm holes in both gold plates that were 74mm long by 16mm wide (the outer 3mm thick plate and the inner 1mm thick plate). The gems go into the 2mm plate inverted (so their pointy end faces out) and the holes in the 1mm thick plate are there to allow the refracted light to travel through the ring. The 3mm round, faceted gems used were citrines, sapphires and rubies.

The outer 3mm thick plate also has a groove cut 1mm into it on the top and bottom. This allows one to add a bonding agent (such as silver solder) into the groove to bind the outer and inner gold plates together.

At this stage I had also already had polished (with 2000 and 5000 grit sandpaper) the gold plates to a mirror finish, added a motif to the outer surface of the think plate and stamped a message in the inner plate. You'll have to forgive me...I had already started working before I thought to document it.
Earlier I mentioned that the inner gold plate goes in to the inside of the outer plate. The inner ring, aside from holding the stamped message, also serves as a retainer to prevent the 3mm round gems from falling out (recall the holes are 2mm in diameter so you have an entire mm of retention per gem).
Once the inner ring is positioned inside the outer ring (and the holes are aligned with the flat ends of the gems) you will need to bind the two rings together by filling in the groove area at the top and bottom of the inside of the outer ring.

I had originally attempted to use pure silver but could not get it to actually melt with the torch I was using...got close to white-hot but that was it. If you have more awesome equipment you may be able to fare better; otherwise you can use a binding agent such as silver solder.
On the inner ring I had stamped it with a message...that message is actually just three words that you may be able to partially make out in this photo:
Strength - Wisdom - Evolution
Lastly, this is a few different pictures of the ring from varying sides...if you can really say a circular ring has a side. If you look close you can see the pointed ends of the gems protruding out (about 1mm) from the ring...the points really are not that sharp.

I'm not sure what my next project is going to be, but it will probably be a little LESS expensive than a new computer gaming rig, lol.
  UPDATE: A few weeks after I had finished crafting the Dragon's Tail, I ran across an article that talked about a mysterious structure someone using Google Maps had discovered in the middle of nowhere in Egypt. Having an interest in unique architecture I checked out some of the images of it and discovered how similiar it looks in comparison to my ring. Just goes to show that some patterns you may think of are not as unique as one may assume. Check it out below (click the image to enlarge):



Desire to achieve balance is rarely tuned to the domain it is realized within, thereby recasting it into atypical substance.

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