Friday, March 4, 2011

Make a Ring from a Silver Liberty Mercury Dime

Piggy bank!
We collect coins. No, we are not serious collectors. Rather, we are the sort of collectors who throw pennies in a piggy bank-- a real piggy bank shaped like a piggy-- and then on a stormy day when the power is out, we all sit around the table sorting through the pennies to see if there is anything special.

We've been sorting coins sporadically for years -- since luckily for us the power does not go out very often. That is how we found this silver liberty mercury dime.
Penny sorting time!
The coin was so dark it looked like a penny... but the small size made it clear this was no penny. As the kids say, "score!" My daughter and I claimed the silver liberty mercury dime and decided the coin would make a really nice ring.

Silver liberty mercury dime
16-gauge round or half-round sterling silver wire
Hard silver solder
After: Mercury Dime Ring by
Ring mandrel
Rawhide mallet
Soldering torch & equipment
Annealing pan
Charcoal block

Soldering pick
Sparex acid pickle
Pickle pot
Copper tongs
Wet/dry sandpaper

Step 1
Form the sterling silver ring
Measure for ring size. Form the ring from the sterling silver wire in the size needed using a ring mandrel and a rawhide mallet. We used half-round sterling silver wire since it is more comfortable for a ring and we had some in our scrap pile, but you can use round wire and wire in a different gauge if you prefer. Check the ring for size before soldering. Solder the ring closed.

Step 2
Anneal the dime. Place the dime on the charcoal block on your annealing pan. Heat the dime until it is annealed using your torch. You can tell the dime reached the annealing temperature because the metal of the dime turns cherry red. Do not overheat. Cool the dime and pickle to remove any oxidation formed when annealing. Rinse off the pickle with water.

Step 3
Form the dime. Place the dime on the ring mandrel. Shape the dime so it is the same arc as the ring. To do so, place the dime on the ring mandrel at the same size as the ring. Position the dime so the line for the ring size is in the center of the dime.  Hit the dime with the raw hide mallet. The shape will be sloped. To even out the dime, turn the dime over so it faces the opposite way and hit the dime again with the rawhide
Finished Mercury Liberty Dime Ring by
mallet. Continue to move the dime until the shape is perfected and the dime sits flush against the top of the ring.

Step 4
Solder the ring to the dime. Pickle. Remove the ring from the pickle using copper tongs and rinse off the pickle with water. Sand away any excess solder, if any.

Step 5Tumble the ring to harden and burnish the sterling silver ring and silver mercury dime.

Related Tutorials 
Make Hammered Copper Earrings from Washers
Make a Pendant from a Copper Washer
Thoughts on Soldering Torches & Other Equipment
Soldering for Jewelry Makers
Solve Your Soldering Problems

Further Reading: Soldering
"Hot Connections Jewelry: The Complete Sourcebook of Soldering Techniques"; Jennifer Chin; 2011.
"Soldering Made Simple: Easy techniques for the kitchen-table jeweler";  Joe Silvera; 2010.
"Step-by-Step Jewelry Workshop: Simple Techniques for Soldering, Wirework, and Metal Jewelry"; Nicola Hurst; 2008.
"Complete Metalsmith: Professional Edition";  Tim McCreight; 2004.

Further Reading: Coins
"A Guide Book of United States Coins 2011: The Official Red Book"; R. S. Yeoman, 2011.
"Coin Collecting For Dummies";  Neil S. Berman, Ron Guth
"2011 Hand Book of United States Coins: The Official Blue Book (Handbook of United States Coins (Paper))"; R. S. Yeoman; 2010.
"Coin Collecting for Kids"; Steve Otfinoski; 2007.
"The Everything Coin Collecting Book: All You Need to Start Your Collection And Trade for Profit (Everything Series)";  Richard Giedroyc; 2006.

Day 104. Month 5. Jewelry from Found Objects.  $ spent: 0
Found materials: Mercury Liberty Dime, scrap silver wire
New Jewelry a Day.  

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