Torque ‘em over

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Oh yes it did.  The silver men’s torque is now LIVE on http://www.mtmaloney.com

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I’ve already sold a few pre-orders, but I’m happy to say we’re official and in business.  Get me those holiday orders asap so I can get you delivery before I skip town back to the big ‘Loon in Hong Kong.   Got a little film piece I’m making out there.  Gonna wear my own torque over there and get ‘er done right.

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Whether you call it a torque, a torq, a torc, or…..just a silver cuff, this is THE king of ‘em all and it’s made right here in the USA.  Maybe I’ll do a more ornate twisted wire version later, but like I said, Yurman already kinda perfected that and you could just buy it from him, right?

ABC’s

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Club rings.  They’re classic and it’s amazing how many of them suck.  I’ve done a number of them for different motorcycle clubs, but also a few non-MC club rings.

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One of my favorite club rings ever is over at Good Art Hollywood – a simple rose-window style signet ring.  Very classic.

So when the MEAN BASTARDS approached me to do a club ring for them, I wanted to keep classic lines on a modern club ring..getting all their imagery in place without making it too busy.

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They supplied a logo design and then some imagery requirements an I got to work on a classic club ring shape.

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Each member can have their initial put in the shield on the “bastards” side of the ring, where the “mean” side keeps the classic skull, dagger, and crossbones.  I’m proud of this one.  It makes me wonder if I should offer a cheaper club ring template for clients who want to wear something classic.  Trust me, I’m not trying to get away from skull rings.  That’s my bread and butter….but for the upcoming Saturn Series, it might be nice to offer a simple, minimalist club ring that can be worn with those new bracelets.

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One more quickie: A skull ring tribute to Janice Joplin?  Yeah, that’s awesome.

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Not an overly complicated design, but just a nice, understated tribute to Joplin and her 1971 album.

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Put some flowers in on the sides and went with a classic peace sign on the forehead as per client instructions.  This is what the Little Voodoo frame is all about.

 

 

Gray Ghost

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Finished up PJ’s bottom-jawed Big Voodoo from my earlier post.

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This light gunmetal finish will wear over time to a high polish.  Thing looks awesome.  I love how finishes like this accentuate the planes of the sculpt.  The Big Voodoo’s angular look (what really makes it stand out from other skull rings to begin with) is very easy to see when the surface isn’t all high-polish smooth luster.

It’s been a cool project.

Saturn Series

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On the heels of my tirade against whispy, cheap, half-measure jewelry (or more specifically the lack of substantial, classic men’s torques and cuffs on the market in the United States) I’ve decided to do something constructive about it.

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The Torque.  Or Torc or Torq.  Or, for the uninitiated, the “Men’s silver cuff.”  Obviously the first thing I have to do is name the thing.   I think I’m running with Torque since the other two look like spelling mistakes.

You can see I addressed the things that pissed me off in other USA products.  First of all, she weights 3 ounces.  That’s solid sterling silver.  The balls are 14mm in diameter and the band itself is a little over 8mm.  FUCK YEAH AMERICA.

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In all seriousness, this is what I wanted.  It’s solid, it’s sleek, it’s classic and classy.  It’s actually cast as one solid piece, not made from a bent rod.  Those ball ends can be made into small silver skulls or pretty much anything else that a client can think of.   Very comfortable too.

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I’m going to call this The Torque.  As in THE Torque.

Not willing to leave it at that, I picked up some silver rods to work with.  Why?  To make bangles.  A simple, solid silver bangle was just as elusive as the torque.

I quickly discovered why these are so expensive.  Because they’re a shit-ton of work.  I used two measurements…a 7.5mm wire and a .5 inch mm wire.  The 1/2 inch one I could barely bend and I’m a pretty strong dude.  Guess that’s out.  Just too much elbow-grease.  Tell ya what, i’ll do one for 1,500 bucks if any of you are insane enough to wear a bracelet this heavy.

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The 7.5mm wire was very very tough, but I was able to bend and hammer it into a bangle shape to fit over my long Mr. Burns hands.  I like this too.  It’s heavy, solid, and awesome.

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It can be worn together with the cuff or stacked up with other bangles.  Gonna call it The Ring.  Probably going to end up casting this one as one piece too, to save labor and keep the price reasonable.  I just don’t know what size to make it.

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Thing’s gotta fit over the hand and I don’t know the average hand size for men.  Best I can do, i guess, is offer the one at a size that fits me and hope that it fits everybody else too.

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I’m going to keep working on more of these designs.  Maybe one that’s a cuff without the ball bearings…..I don’t know.  The deal with the Saturn line is that they’re clean, simple, heavy, and sleek.

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These will be up for sale on the site soon, so stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

The 10th Dragon

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I’ve just finished a new wedding ring with a massive jade stone and I had to show it off.

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This isn’t a client piece, actually.  This one is for me.  I wanted to make a new wedding ring that was massive and used a jade gemstone as the prominent feature.  I found the stone in Hong Kong and I started sketching on the plane ride back to the US.

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I also thought this was a great follow-up to my bitching rant about lightweight jewelry.  This ring is solid sterling and completely massive.  And it’s an everyday wear.  

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I don’t think I’d posted a ring that was all about the stone in a while, so this is long overdue.  If anyone’s interested in a piece like this, email me and let’s talk.  See?  Not all skull rings, right?

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Bangle update coming soon!  I’m getting ready to take a few days actual vacation, so it’s time to get crackin’  Got a lot of waxes to finish before I hit the beach.  

Torc and beans.

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I am so sick of this shit.

I didn’t ask for much.  I just wanted a solid sterling silver men’s torc bracelet.  It’s a great modern look.  If you don’t know what a torc is, its not your fault.  It’s also called ‘torque’  and the most common incarnation today is worn around the wrist.  Back in the day, though, the Celtic people would wear giant versions around their necks.   Badass.

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David Yurman did a great one – made traditionally with woven cables of metal (which is where it gets its name)

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Awesome, right?  Well as often happens with awesome work – there are about 10,000 hacks out there right now doing the exact same thing that Yurman did.  They all have twisted wire, but now sport cheesy gemstones at the caps and are made of shitty metals instead of silver or gold in an effort to sell jewelry to people who don’t want to pay for jewelry.

All due respect to Yurman’s design, I wanted something solid.  Something kind of like this:

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….but maybe a bit thicker and heavier.  I have an average sized wrist and I thought a 7mm wide band in sterling couldn’t be too much to ask.

Wrong.

Nobody….I mean NOBODY makes one of these in the US.  I spent time on every freakin’ shopping site I could find.  I even got a freakin’ ETSY account, okay?  Nobody makes this.

Sure there are a couple dozen good makers in the UK, but I didn’t wan to get killed on the currency change and shipping.  I also found thousands of examples of sterling silver plated versions of cheaper metal….you know….just in case I want it to rust off of my hand in a few years, or better yet, snap like it’s made of fucking plastic when I’m trying to get it on my wrist.

Get it on my wrist?  That’s right.   Because almost every single one of these is about 2 freakin’ inches in diameter.  None of them would fit a grown man who doesn’t want the circulation cut off in his hand from the spandex-tight fit of these shitty dime-store trinket versions I found all over Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy.

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SWEET!  This one has magnets in it!  In case I was failed by my public education and I think this jewelry will make me healthier.  I’m telling you, these were all over the place.  I also found some sculptural  stuff that was pretty cool, but it wasn’t what I wanted.

I found actual quality sterling silver torcs on Etsy, but these dudes were making them 3mm in diameter.  WAY to thin.  I even had a maker respond to my question about band diameter with “they’re 2.5mm thick.  Perfect weight for a bangle.”

“Are you shitting me?” was my response.

“No, they’re already real heavy.”

I’m telling you, this interest in lightweight and inexpensive product has fucking ruined men’s jewelry in the United States.  You know what else is inexpensive and lightweight?  Paper.  Why don’t you wear a fucking paper bracelet and a yarn ring to match.  Or a ring pop so you have something to eat.

I know the grass is always greener, but the UK gals and guys are doing it right.  You can find good, solid sterling pieces over there with clean, classic designs.  Not just torques (torcs, or torqs) but solid bangles and linked chains.

You know, I encountered the same thing when I first started looking at skull rings.

All the best makers of realistic non-death metal rings were in the UK and New Zealand.  So I hooked up with Dana Ruth and learned how to make jewelry and just fucking made my own.  Enough people liked it that I started making them for other people.  Enough people wanted them that I opened up my custom studio.  Turns out, I wasn’t the only person looking for a ring like that.

 

 

 

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So the question now becomes, am I the only person who wants a solid, badass, men’s torc made in the USA and sized to fit an adult in sterling or gold?  The balls on either side need to be at least 14mm and the band should be 7mm at the thinnest.

We’ll see.  I’m going to make mine.  Then, I’m coming back for you.

 

 

Right between the eyes.

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This is Scott’s special custom Tiki Tattoo with a brilliant green gemstone inserted into the brow and some rooster-themed imagery along the shank.  Scott’s been waiting for me to finish this one for a while and I’m happy to finally drop it in the mail.
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I take pride in how balanced this particular ring is.  Tiki Tattoo was designed to be worn everyday even though she’s absolutely massive.  It doesn’t actually sit off of the finger that much and we wanted to keep that balance despite adding metal to set that central green gemstone.  That’s Chrysoprase, actually.  A badass under-utilized gemstone with an amazing natural color.

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Along with a great brushed metal finish, this one is ready to go.  Safe travels, friend.

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That brushed metal…I can’t say enough about it.  I know a lot of us go for high-polish, but there’s something about that brushed metal look that just pulls out detail.  I wear high-polish stuff myself, so I’m not knocking it, but doing brushed finishes (like the Big Voodoo above) on these skull rings gives them a modern look.  I don’t know….I could go either way, which is why I usually just leave it up to the client.

Speaking of custom finishes, I’ve been working on a Big Voodoo with a bottom jaw for PJ which is going to end up with a gunmetal finish.  I don’t know if I’ve done a lot of talking about skull rings with a bottom jaw vs the jawless look, but I thought now’s a good time to start as any.  I think the whole jawless thing starts with Keith Richards and his badass Courts and Hackett skull ring.  Let’s be honest – it really set the standard.  So it follows that most of us in the skull ring business began by offering core products without bottom jaws.  After all, it made the rings smaller and allowed us to focus on the forehead shape without getting too wrapped up in what was happening below the first row of teeth.  Like my King Skull.

 

 

 

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The skulls tend to have a downward tilt to emphasize the brow.  Just looks damned good on the finger.  But with a little less surface area on the forehead and a more up-turned profile, I many of us are able to follow what the Deadringers in New Zealand were able to do with their classic model and offer a quality, comfortable ring with a bottom jaw.  It’s a bear to sculpt though, as the jawbone and how it intersects the main head is by far the toughest part of the shape to sculpt.

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And that’s the Jupiter.  You can see above, how they upper portion shapes are different and how much taller the Jupiter is as a result.  I freakin’ love that ring.  So I get the bottom jaw thing.  I really don’t have a favorite.

That being said, I never really considered my Voodoo line to have bottom jaws.  For those of you who don’t know, that’s the more hand-carved, raw, crazy looking set (Big Voodoo, Little Voodoo.)

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But recently I’ve had a bunch of orders coming in for this bad boy with a bottom jaw included.  Despite how it sounds, I don’t really have much of an ego about this sort of thing and if a client says “hey, that would be awesome with a bottom jaw, I’m open to the idea that they might be right.  In this case, they were.

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So PJ puts in his order for another one with the jaw and I thought it would be cool to show what goes into making the Big Voodoo with the jaw’ed look without losing it’s hand carved appeal.

All the core products start with a base wax cast from my master molds.  These are very low detail, as you can see below.

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The eyes don’t have good shape, the cheekbones don’t exist, the nose and teeth are soft and mushy, and the ring just lacks overall detail and shape.  I do all of this by hand to ensure that no two Big Voodoo’s are the same.

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Then I have to make a tiny jawbone.  Again, no detail yet.  Just the blocking for the jawbone, chin, and bottom row of teeth.

Cute, right?

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Then I have to shave down the Big Voodoo’s prominent upper teeth to make room.  Otherwise, the thing would look all stupid.  That’s a technical term.  This makes the jaw able to fit in place without extending too far down where the eyes are no longer center-focus of the mass, which they need to be.   You can see here that I’ve also shaped out the cheekbones a bit, which comes with shaving down the jaw.

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There, that’s better.  Sort of.  Cheekbones closer to done.  Nose started.  Jaw is a mess.  This is how shitty the wax looks when I first fuse the jaw.  Those of you who are always asking me if I can work faster should keep in mind this is how shitty your shitty ring would look if I didn’t carve things up by hand.

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So this is getting better.  Now I’ve blocked in some teeth, started to shape the jaw, continued to shape the nose,and started an overall de-shit of the ring.

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Each tooth has to be carved in, along with a hollowing out of the nose cavity, each eye, and the cheekbones.

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And finally we get the look we’re after.  Eyesockets are deep, bridge of the nose is finished, and we have teeth and detail in the jaw.  THAT’s ready to clean and cast.  Still more work to do, of course.  PJ is going to have to wait a bit longer for this one to get wrapped up.

I’m working on a new line of bracelets for the shop that I want to talk about later, so stay tuned.  Oh, and one more thing……

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I got my hands on four amazing pairs of amber eyes for Jupiter, King, and Big Voodoo skull rings.  I’m so excited about the quality of these stones that I’m going to give them away for free.  If you order any one of those three rings, I’ll set a pair of stones in it on the house.  Just shoot me an email and let me know which set you want.  I posted this on Facebook and only got a few nibbles, so right now I still have all four sets available.

Follow me on twitter at @MT_Maloney    When I get a deal or a special like this, that’s usually the first place I announce it. My clients aren’t really Twitter people, I’ve discovered, but I guess that’s what makes my special offers special.