Took me about two months to finish this one. Had a hell of a lot of detail to work out and I wanted to make it exactly perfect or Patrick, my awesome client. This was all about the badge. We worked a design together that would be definitively NEW YORK for the shank and wouldn’t compete with the shape of the badge. It’s a big ring, like I like ‘em. I’ve been toying with the idea of offering a shield line of rings for cops and other law enforcement agencies, but the problem has always been that for the most part you can by cheaper, mass-prodcued rings depicting simple agency shields and insignia. But Patrick’s idea was so personal and his emphasis on the badge looking substantial was such that I couldn’t pass on this project. We also worked in his service years onto the side and his initials on the back. The result is a super heavy piece unlike any other cop rings I’ve been able to find out there. Solid sterling too. Gonna please, I can tell you that.
Yes, I’m back on the bench. Happy to be back, too. Got a lot of projects wait-listed from motorcycle club rings to wedding bands to full custom jobs to the good old fashioned custom skull rings.
A couple of things will be changing in 2015. I’m going to pace myself a bit better, not rush multiple jobs or take on more clients at one time than I should. I got into this business to focus on individual clients and when I’m knocking out 20 or 25 rings at a time, that just isn’t happening. So don’t be disheartened if you contact me to place an order and I ask you to hang tight for a few weeks. I’ll get to you. I just think your project deserves my full attention. If you doubt my intentions, know that I was invited to create rings for the Sons of Anarchy season finale event and I declined because I wanted to deal with individuals like you guys. Yes, I’m Jerry Maguire.
Speaking of individual clients, this post is largely for Dylan who has asked me to make a custom Tiki ring with a gemstone. I’m feeling the amber.
I picked up these stones on Lamma Island a while ago, but I only have a few left. I still have one of the bright yellow ones from the far left and the four transparent stones on the right. This isn’t cheap amber. Not that resin, assembled shit you get in the states all the time.
This is Lamma. I get off the ferry here after about a 45 minute ride from Hong Kong island. It’s a tiny little fishing island and I hike right over the mountain to Yung Shue Wan to visit the Lamma Island Amber Shop.
Cool right? This shop is tiny and set into a dark corner of this tiny little road called “Main street.” I’ll usually swing by this great joint called Lamma Grill for a whiskey and the closest thing to a great American cheeseburger you’re gonna find and then find this shop which is practically GLOWING like a gemstone.
The place is run by Udo and his wife. That’s Udo below selling amber in Tibet in ’92.
I freakin’ love this place. I spend a lot of time looking through their stock and their finished jewelry. I’ve made a few skull rings with their amber set into the eyes. Just a great place. I wish I could just import from these guys regularly, but the demand for amber just hasn’t quite caught-on in the US yet. So what I usually end up doing is swinging by to pick up gifts for family and friends.
So yeah, if you’re ever in HK, catch the ferry at pier 4 to Lamma and visit them.
So Dylan – let me know what wer’e gonna do. Drop me a line. And I’ll catch the rest of you cats in the next week. Stay tuned.
D has been waiting and waiting for me to finish his full-custom silver turquoise gemstone ring and I’ve finally been able to deliver. He had a specific design in mind and was inspired by my latest jade ring that I hacked up a few months ago with some Hong Kong jade.
D’s not a jade guy, but we set out to use a massive oval-shaped turquoise stone as the centerpiece. We designed the shank together and the result is badass.
Doing a ring like this is always a dialogue between the stone and the silver. We want the stone to be the star, but without a big gob of silver behind it, it isn’t a ring worth wearing. You can buy all kinds of shitty gemstone rings with turquoise or whatever else in craft fairs all over the country. The one thing they have in common: they suck. Hollow-backed, shitty metal, etc. Many of them are made with SILVER WIRE for the love of god.
Just like my skull rings, this all goes out the window. Solid backed, cast as one piece, and heavy, this is a grown-up’s ring.
D was super patient and also contributed more than half of the design process. Symbols and the bezel cup treatment were all him. Very cool product. I’ve had about a half-dozen emails since posting the facebook photos of this sucker asking about cost. This is full-custom and takes a lot of work to create at this detail level. The stones are individually selected by me based on the client. So yeah, they’re expensive. As I’ve made more of these, I’ve been getting better at balancing my time and production costs with the price. I’ve finally figured out that these should be $1000 with shipping included to your door. I’ve made ‘em for less in the past, but I’m shuffling priorities and these take SO much attention, I have to make some changes if I’m going to continue doing pieces like this.
I’ve had a few more pieces flying out of here. A few class rings, actually. Who wants a custom skull ring for a highschool ring? Cool people. That’s who.
That’s Jessica’s custom Big Voodoo. Did a little voodoo in simliar form around the same time.
The skull rings I wear typically don’t have gemstones, but that’s my own thing. I have a huge-ass piece of jade around my neck and another on my left hand, so I don’t need anymore stone bling. But there’s no doubt – it looks awesome on the right design.
Then a Mystery Cave combo. I put this up because I don’t actually sell a ton of Mystery Cave rings. Which is a shame. It’s one of my favorite designs. The people who want them and wear them are fanatical about them and I love that. It’s a special ring for a very specific type of style. I dig it with the men’s torque because it makes a similar shape to the balls on either end of the bracelet.
I love this combo. Tiki ring and a torque bracelet. This man knows his gear. As much as I’ve been a chain guy and I still love my Gotham wrist chain, I’m now a big fan of this torque. They’ve been popular as well. Wasn’t sure if you guys would wear ‘em because nobody in the US was making a decent one in this style, but my question has been answered.
Since we’re talking torques, I thought I’d give some advice about getting these to fit on your wrists correctly. DONT open them too wide. THey don’t need to be opened up that much to slide on. You want it to be extremely tight coming on and off.
So the way NOT to put this bracelet on is like this:
I know the wrist looks like the skinniest part of your arm, but it’s also the most solid. It’s full of bones, cartilage, and scar tissue. BUT if you slide the torque UP your forearm a few inches (where it LOOKS a lot thicker) it will actually slide on easier. See below.
Now you got that bad boy on and it’s still tight and right. I’ve been knocking these out for clients and a few have been paired with rings.
If you’ve ordered one from me in the past few weeks, you should be getting it soon. I’d love to get some snapshots of my f’king Torque Army out there.
Speaking of Torque Army, I’ve knocked out a special one for a warrior overseas in Iraq. He’s got some custom stylized skulls on the end of his.
Tour isn’t up for a while, but I’m going to ship it to friends/family so he’ll have this bad boy waiting for him when he gets back state-side.
It just so happens that I’ve recently finished some of my favorite Big Voodoo skull ring projects in recent memory. They all came in at about the same time and each one had different challenges. I’m going to start with Steve’s custom King Skull with gemstone eyes. This f’ker was one of the most difficult projects I’ve ever had. Fuck.
The trick was setting the stones a specific way and allowing me to do some custom carving on the inside of the shank. Usually this leaves a pretty big cavern inside the ring so my hotdog fingers (or Izzy’s in this case) can reach in there and solder the settings. Usually I cast in place and I can’t freakin’ understand why I thought I didn’t need to in this case.
Nothing beats a King Skull. It’s the king of all jawless skull rings. But these fucking stones almost beat my tired ass. The sides had some pretty awesome dimensional carving as well.
Steve, the client, was a champ. He waited patiently while my crew and I hacked and pressed and torched our way to finally getting these stones in correctly. Steve’s a happy man now and I am too. The ring is excellent.
From sleek to raw, I also finished a long-term memorial Big Voodoo ring for Rick. This was a piece for his fallen friend Asa and we did it up right.
This is raw and powerful. We batted ideas around for a while before settling on horns and a pure copper iron cross, cast and set flush into the skull’s forehead. The turquoise stones in the eyes were gifts from Asa and we left them raw.
Overall, the ring has a kind of energy that I f’king love. It looks like it was hewn from a viking axe.
This is what the Voodoo series does best. It gets that raw hand-carved look and feel into the ring, even if we trick it out with stones, custom carving, and copper features.
I also knocked out a pair of Big Voodoo’s for Pierce and his brother. I got my hands on some genuine top-grade amber and PIerce jumped at the chance to get some set into a full-jawed version of the BVD for himself and second cigar-smoking skull ring for his brother.
I was given specific instructions to make the brows distinct and get ATTITUDE into these bad boys. Custom as hell.
Pierce’s brother got a pissed-off skull with a cigar nub in its chompers. Those are lab-grown rubies in the eyes.
Pierce got the amber and we went for a kind of raised eyebrow look. It’s Clint Eastwood without the magnum.
LAST but not least, I finally finished a skull ring for Ice. Who’s Ice? He’s the cook over at one of my all-time favorite dives in Atlanta. The Highlander. This place is awesome. Great food, great beer, and not a lot of collared shirts. It’s dark, dank, and still sports a pinball cabinet. Ice cooks his ass off and his grub has made Food Network more than a couple of times. It was an honor to carve the man a custom piece.
I’m flat out tired. I’ve had so many projects coming over my desk and I’ve been at this for a while, so it’s about time for a break. I’m going to be taking November and December off. If anyone wants to put in orders before then, I need them in the next couple of days. I don’t really have time to do any gemstone work right now (except for turquoise, which is faster) so those projects will get moved to January.
I’m starting a waitlist for January projects, so email me if you have something in mind. I’m going to be restructuring my shop a bit to do a limited run of each ring. In other words, I’m probably only going to accept so many orders per year. I’m not bumping prices up, but these rings are about to get a lot more exclusive. Not trying to be a prick, you understand, but I didn’t get into this business to work all day and night either.
Got another post about the Torque coming up soon. They’ve been moving like hotcakes. Stay tuned.
Funny enough, i’ve had a number of people try to order with my online order forms without leaving their email addresses. If you send me a question and don’t leave email, how can I get back to you?
Makes sense, right?
“Hey man, are you currently taking new orders? Hit me back.”
Meanwhile, I want to remind everyone that I have to have the Christmas cutoff coming up. I’ll need all Christmas orders in by November 3rd.
Otherwise, I won’t be able to get orders collected in time for Xmas delivery. I’m at the bench and taking orders until then. I’ve got a bunch of projects coming down the pipe soon, so stay tuned. Happy rocktober.