Modern Skullsmithing

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I’m making a few pieces this August.  If anyone is interested, time to visit my new site and see what’s what.   The Film/Animation side is still very much under construction.  More on that later.

I’ve gotten some tremendous feedback and support as I’ve been dealing with health stuff. I’ve been reassessing what I wanted to do, the kind of projects I want to work on, etc.  Basically it’s come down to working with the right people on the right projects within the right timeframe.  A modern strategy for skullsmithing.

I’m taking requests for pieces year round, but I’m only going to work on select projects during certain times of the year.   I’ll be offering specials and concept pieces via Facebook and Instagram (find me there through my social media links) .  For an awesome core group of regular clients who’ve sent me encouraging messages and with whom I’ve worked in the past – you know who you are – you can always get a piece made at the front of the line.

Given that my time is limited, I’ve broken things down between how I want to spend my time and how I don’t.  You all ever do this?

What I want to do:

  • Make clients happy.
  • Take more time to make pieces for clients.
  • Make the perfect jawless skull ring.
  • Get into bangles a little bit.  Something badass is waiting to happen here.
  • Get into beads.  I have no fucking idea how to do this.
  • Make clients happy.
  • Learn to set silver into stones like all-around badass and ring-making legend Alex Streeter.  Not going to duplicate his work, but I need to get some gold lightning bolts into some black stones.
  • Balance jewelry with sculpture, digital media, and the other artforms I work with.
  • Make clients happy.
  • Get some better packaging.

What I don’t want to do:

  • Make adjustments for people who didn’t size their fingers before ordering or tried to size it themselves to save a 5 minute trip to a jewelers to have it done right.
  • Talk concepts with people who can’t afford a piece to begin with.
  • Rush.  The rings are done when they’re done.  4 weeks is standard. Sometimes a week less, sometimes a week more. Don’t like that?  Get some pre-fabricated tin-filled shit from Ebay and have a nice shitty life.
  • Explain how veins in a stone aren’t cracks.
  • Discuss projects with people who can’t spend 3 minutes looking at the website to see what kind of work I do.

Sounds like I’m being a snob, right?  Well, think about it: maybe we need to be a little more snobby.   Think about how awesome it would be if you could strip the bullshit from your own life and focus on doing things that matter to you and only interface with people who make your day-to-day life better instead of worse.  That’s what I’m doing.

So, if you’re into it, send me an email at and let me know what kind of work we should be thinking about.  Meanwhile, stay tuned for updates here, on Facebook, and on my tiny little Instagram page.


















As some of my clients are aware, I’ve been suffering from some health problems recently. As a result, I’m sorry to say that I’m not taking any jewelry orders right now. The skullworks is getting shut down for the time being so I can focus on recovery.


I certainly intend to re-open in the future, but how and when that will occur is unclear. If you already have a project underway with me, rest assured I’ll be finishing out those pieces. All club members: if I’m doing club rings for you, please contact me at matt@mtmaloney and I will still be able to fill those orders.

It’s been an amazing first act and I appreciate all of you checking out my work. You can still connect with me on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

In the meantime I thought I’d leave you with something fantastic.  Or rather….not so fantastic…


That’s right.  One of my awesome clients – Jim – pointed out that a feeble attempt to ripoff my Tiki ring has been posted to Ebay.  Stainless steel, hollow-backed, and lacking any planar variance at all int he design, this epic turd had me and mine laughing our asses off for a few hours.

Here’s the original.

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So I’ve been asked a bunch of times whether or not I’m pissed off about this.  No, of course not.  I think if it were remotely close, it might be different.  But the chump who wants a 20 buck crappy-looking (and dishwasher safe) Tiki is not the same person who wants to get something custom carved in precious metal.   Custom is custom and…well…sculptural ability doesn’t grow on Chinese trees.

But I am sad to be signing off for now.  When I get my feet back under me and I can reassess things, I may very well start taking a few orders here and there, but I don’t really have any plans right now.  I have to feel things out.  You know how us artsy-fartsy types can be.


MT’s skull.


Gentlemen and the Leonids

It’s so great to finally see the Gentleman in all of its glory.


I wanted to make a city ring.  Something you could wear on a pinky or ring finger in the board room that JUST walked that line between safe and dangerous.  (Isn’t that what a pinky ring is all about?)  Of course, they’re really big enough to go on ANY finger.


I’m working my way through the first order of 5 right now and they’re just about ready to go online.  Once I get a few more variations done, I’ll ask my web wizard to throw them up for sale.  I have all kinds of stones for these.


The ring is well-balanced and solid, not hollow backed.

And yes, it still features a small pair of skulls for those who want to look.   I have so many projects that I’m behind on but this thing just HAD to finally see the light of day.  It’s been a long time in the making.


Also, check out the Leonids with the red stone.  Client-provided that and it looks great.   I wish I had a better shot of it.  Oh well.

Jupiter in Jade and a stoney-eyed Madman. And a new King is coming.

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I’m really digging this recent pair of custom orders.  Skull rings with gemstones?  I’ve got two unique takes here: one a Jupiter and one a Big Voodoo.


Both are fully sugared up – the Jupiter with jadeite eyes and a full sugar aztec theme around the rest of the ring.  The other has a central image of an owl and then yellow and black stones for the eyes.  I’ll be putting more shots of both of them up on my Instagram page.  If you dont follow me there, you should.  It’s where I put most of my special sale announcements and show a lot of progress.

I’ve done a few custom Jupiter skull rings recently. The form is so classic that we can really go nuts with the surface and still get something with a lot of structure to it.  Setting gemstones in it is a bit of a war.

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But this one turned out great.  See a few more shots below.

I’m very proud of this ring, obviously.  Weird to make a piece of art that I’m actually happy with, but the last few rings I’ve done have just turned out so f’king well.  I DID fuck up a Tiki that I’m currently re-making for a client.  Sorry about that.   This one and the Tiki are my toughest sculpts so the chance of me totally laying an egg is a bit higher.

I set out (like seven years ago or  something) to make the best skull ring you could get.  Standing on the shoulders of giants like Courts and Hackett, Tony Creed, CrazyPig, and Ruby Crush, I wanted to make the largest, solid-but-wearable skull ring on the market – at least in the United States.  Like the man said, “If your’e going to try, go all the way. All the way.”

So did I do it?  Honestly, I’m not sure.  I think what I realized when I made the Jupiter was that there is no “best” ring.  There are simply levels and at the top of the levels is this little bar.  And leaning on the bar are these badass skullsmiths like Julian Lamb, Tony Creed, Courts and Hackett, the Deadringers maniacs, and Armand at Crazy Pig and a few other guys like John Mettier at JM Customs Skull Rings and Demitri Bakogiorgis who makes so much freakin’ product I don’t know how he has time to eat.  The ghost of Dave at Dave’s Custom Skullrings  is there who probably wins the award for craziest website.  Josh Warner is there, but but good luck getting one of his skullrings nowadays.  (He designed this amazing Club Ring which is taking the world by storm, and rightly so.)   Every day, more people make it to this bar and they all have the same realization:  it doesn’t stop.

Because the guys sitting next to you are still learning and you’re still learning and everyone still feels like there’s so much more to do.  Everyone is inspiring too.  Somebody drops a new piece and everyone says “damn, I have to up my game.”  When I see Into the Fire Jewelry put out these badass blackened skull that look like they were carved out of obsidian or Ruby Crush drops this fucking amazing gemstone ring…….


I’m going to design a new jawless skull ring that will replace the King Skull as THE fucking jawless ring on the market.  Just sit tight and you’ll see progress throughout the year.  I hope to have it live for Xmas, but you know me.  I’m slow as shit.  I’m going to retire the current King model and redesign it.  I love it too, but it’s time for a change.


If you’re the owner of my classic King Skull, hang onto that puppy tight because it will soon be ‘out of print’ so to speak.  I love this fucking ring.   I could keep making them, sure, but i kind of like the idea of the piece being completely retired out of respect and given over to the ages.  Makes it more of a collector’s item and preserves the purity of the design.

It’s also with a heavy heart that I announce that the Gentleman ring is officially out of pre-orders and will be going live on the site in a few weeks.  Stay tuned for more of that as well.  Look at that freakin’ master wax:


So I’ll leave you with an inspirational video.  What?

Gentlemen, start your engines.

Remember when I announced development of a new Gemstone ring.  (check it out HERE if you haven’t read it yet.)

Well, folks, the Gentleman ring is finally ready for pre-order.  It took a lot of time to get her ready but here she is, complete with a massive 30mm x 22mm oval gemstone.

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The goal was to make a REAL gemstone ring for clients who want a good, custom made, solid backed, hi-quality piece.  As usual, I set out to make this ring after discovering that there were very few quality gemstone rings for men or women who want a significant stone in a substantial ring.

Which gemstones are available?

  • Black Onyx
  • Tiger’s Eye
  • Black Lace Agate
  • Aventurine
  • Rose Quartz
  • Red Carnelian
  • Mother of Pearl
  • Malachite
  • Blue Lapis
  • Dark Green Jade (for an extra $20)

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How much does it weigh? I have no idea.  I’ll get that figured out by the time in lands on the website for general sale.  Right now, i’m taking 5 preorders.  That’s right, 5 preorders based on my digital renderings here.  This beauty is going to retail for $475 when she’s done and the first five will run at $425 each for sterling silver.  I don’t have a price for gold yet, but if you’re interested, just shoot me a message at



The Red Devil


I’ve had a few requests for skull rings with gemstone eyes recently and I have a pair that I wanted to show off because the results were just so cool.

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This bad boy is a fully customized Little Voodoo with a pentagram centered on the forehead and a little bit of sugar around the shank.  Yet another example of how the Little Voodoo can be customized despite the small surface area.

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This is a small skull ring, dig?  Or at least it’s small for my line.  It does best with one central image and then some minor ornamentation to support it.  Sometimes i get clients who request a smaller ring but have a ton of imagery they want to include.  If this is YOU, then you should really spring for the Big Voodoo.  Don’t worry about being able to ‘pull off’ a bigger ring.  It’s all about how you wear it.

Speaking of bigger rings.

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Another red-eyed demon – this one a Jupiter with the stones set DEEP in the socket.  Fangs as well.  Pretty slick, right?  This was a tough one to build.

And then there’s this:

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This is a Jupiter Skull ring with blue sapphire eyes.   Kinda hard to see in the photos, but there’s even a starburst specular highlight in the stones.  This is another example of the Jupiter ‘sugared up.’  Yeah, its a big ring, but we can fit a lot more imagery on the surface too.

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I’ve also had a few requests for a smaller, more understated ‘realistic’ skull like the King Skull or the Jupiter….something about the size of the Voodoo, but with the classic lines of the realistic series.  I’m eventually going to do something like that, but I haven’t finished the Gentleman yet either and I have to take one thing at a time.

Still on the waitlist right now, but I’m taking new orders in late August so hang tight and stay tuned.

The Gotham Necklace

I had a client put in an order for an amazing project many weeks ago and I’m happy/relieved/and a little self-impressed to report that she came out beautifully.

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This is a claspless full-custom silver necklace using my Gotham links, a special toggle I came up with in a dream after eating a bunch of Chinese food, and a custom hand-carved cross based on the client’s designs.

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She’s heavy and might be the all-time crowned champion of “pieces I’d rather not send to the client because it looks mighty good on me instead.”   But no, she’s off to a happy home.

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Making a Gotham is hard work when it’s only a bracelet.  A necklace like this is a real ball-buster.  Each link is individually cast.  The chain takes a while to build and solder closed.

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Getting the thing cast and built takes time and a lot of elbow grease.  But to me, this is what is so f’king cool about wearing a custom chain.  It represents a lot of time and labor and there’s really no comparison.  All those shitty machine-assembled pieces just don’t feel the same.

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The necklace before final polish.

I have a few more rings coming up soon, so stay tuned, but I’m also done taking orders for the Summer.  Yours truly is skipping town for a bit to get some R&R and I won’t be taking any new projects until August.   I’ll do one more big post before then of a couple of AMAZING custom skull rings I’ve been working on.

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