Turquoise Pinky Bling
|Turquoise pinky ring|
The extra day off this week for Veteran's Day gave me some welcome time at my jewelry bench at home to work on a few projects. A loose turquoise cabochon (a gift from my aunt) had been kicking around my boxes for quite some time and so I decided to brush off some of the skills from my jewelry classes in Turkey to make a domed pinky ring.
I miss my weekly Sunday jewelry class in Turkey, not only for the camaraderie and Turkish language bath my ears would get as a result, but also for the designated time and space it gave me to create and practice. Now that I am far away from Istanbul, I must create my own discipline, and although time is always a struggle, it has pushed me to problem-solve in ways I would not have with my teacher readily available to help me through hiccups and demo any tricky skills.
For the pinky ring, I looked back to one of the first styles I had learned to make- one that my teacher called "karpuz yüzük", or "watermelon ring" for it's vaulted dome that tapered to a thinner part under the finger. Once I started making the ring— measuring it out, cutting the stretched diamond-like shape of the band, soldering, and filing— I was happy to find that these actions felt like second nature. Much like riding a bike or sipping a çay, these movements repeated again and again, Sunday after tireless Sunday flowed through my fingers. Like a channel from Istanbul to Chicago, the knowledge I had learned connected me back to the small studio, where my teacher shared the lessons he had in turn inherited from his teachers and a life of practice— a channel to a very deep pool.
When it came time to set the stone, I realized I didn't have the right tools and so improvised to curve and burnish the bezel. Polishing with my flex shaft was entirely new and took a little trial and error to figure out. The process made me realize the areas that I still need to seek to better understand and the tools that I still need to do the job well. Still, I was encouraged by the completion of my new pinky ring. One of my biggest fears about leaving Istanbul and my jewelry class had been to lose an important creative outlet and the guidance of my teacher. Now I realize that while in Istanbul, I built a strong foundation that I carried back with me—a wonderful gift that I can continue to tap into and strengthen.