Love jewellery? Why not make your own piece in Bristol’s very own silversmith workshop

Pick up a new hobby, have fun with friends and create meaningful jewellery


Jewellery is an important part of self-expression. Small items which can hold a lot of meaning and be passed on to generations. Rather than spending your hard-earned cash on impersonal jewellery that will tarnish or break, why not invest in your very own personal piece?

We went to Silver and Steel in Bedminster last week to make our handmade silver rings. We went through the process starting from a thin bar of silver until we left with the finished ring. After the 2-hour workshop, we walked out with our handmade silver rings and a new set of skills for £80 per person. And for the gold girlies – the studio can direct you to gold plating services.

The ring process

We started by choosing a bar of silver and deciding if we wanted a hammered, shiny or satin finish. To create a hammered effect we used small iron hammers to create tiny dents in the surface of the bar. Then we annealed the metal which is a process that brings the finer silver particles out of the alloy to the surface making the ring easier to bend and shape. For this it is submerged in a ‘pickle’ a heated chemical compound.

After this, we calculated the length needed for our bar with a ring size calculation and cut off the excess metal with a fine saw.

Next, we joined the ends together into a roughly ring-shaped oval using a bezel and hammer. At this point, we fused the ends together using solder and a blowtorch creating a complete loop in a slightly wonky shape. After this, we used the hammer and bezel hammering it until a perfect circle shape was created.

The final step is polishing. Here we used a rotary drill tool fitted with polishing materials to sand away imperfections and create a shiny or satin finish.

We then cleaned our rings in a sonic silver and walked out with the finished piece.  (P.S. Don’t wear white like I did it is a bit of a messy craft.)

 

The studio

Silver and Steel has classes starting from £45 with one-off classes or multiple-session workshops if you want to build your skills. Here you can make rings, earrings, stone settings, create wax castings or even go for a date night.

We recognise that this sort of workshop is a luxury, so if your student budget doesn’t stretch that far, Silver and Steel offer reduced concession rates on a trust basis. This is to allow everyone to be able to experience their workshops even if they can’t afford it.

In addition to workshops, the studio offers daily tool hire and resident artist positions to jewellers. This is to make jewellery making more accessible and sustainable giving people access to expensive machinery they otherwise wouldn’t.

The small business was set up by Bethany May who has focused on creating a collaborative creative and learning space for jewellery making. The studio even recycles its silver by melting down all the scraps and pouring it into ingot moulds before rolling it out into wire or sheets with the rolling mill. Since opening in 2023 the shop has won a small business award “New Kid on the Block” at the Small Awards in 2024.

Additionally, if you’re keen to start a new hobby or get deeper into jewellery making Silver and Steel offers a structured 8-week beginners course where the basics of jewellery making and recycling will be taught.

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