Thursday, 23 July 2015

Siena, my Florentine Ring and recipes for gold

Last weekend as part of our cultural excursions we caught the bus to Siena, which was a short 1.5 hour bus ride away.

Siena's historical centre has been Unesco Heritage listed as a 'living embodiment of a medieval city'.

Easily explored in a day we wandered around admiring the architecture. One of the highlights was a look through Siena's duomo which was built from 1215 and finished about two centuries later. The interior is absolutely stunning from the inlaid marble floor, black and white stripe marble pillars, through to the vividly coloured frescoes painted by Bernardino Pinturicchio in the Liberia Piccolomini, which also housed a great collection of medieval manuscripts. The Siena Duomo, also known as Opera della Metropolitana di Siena, is easily one of the most beautiful churches I have ever visited.

Amazing detail in the marble floor

Black and white marble pillars 

Vividly coloured frescoes in the Libreria
Amazing details in the ceiling
 We spent most of the afternoon exploring the church and its associated buildings and by the early afternoon we were ready for a relaxing drink of the local red wine, Chianti, whilst overlooking the Piazza del Campo.

 It is hard to believe that this is my final week at the Academy Riaci. On Monday I started my final ring, which combined all the techniques I have learnt over the past couple of weeks.

I love the way the ring was shaped using a bowl of lead, and a steel ball. This creates a slight curve on the surface whilst also helping to create the circular ring shape. It is a technique I have not encountered before.

Shaping my final ring
The next step was to solder the many pieces together.

I also learnt how to make 24k gold into 18k gold by melting it with silver and coper. I also learnt the ratios for mixing rose gold too. My teacher is quite the alchemist.

The recipe to make 18k gold is:
75% pure gold
20% silver
5% coper

The recipe to make rose gold is:
75% pure gold
15% silver
10% copper

pretty neat huh!

soldering the gold bezel to the ring
After a lot of filing and clean up, I then practiced some incisione on the sides of the ring band, using sealing wax to hold it in place. 

I chose to set an amethyst stone because purple is the colour of Florence. 

And here is the finished ring, a nice object that embodies my memories and experiences of my four weeks in Florence.

The final ring
I also finished the earnings I started in the first week too. 

Incisione earrings 

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