Making the Big Cat Ring
A New Jewellery Design Project
With my first sterling silver skull ring under my belt and a couple of experimental months after picking up my carving tools for the first time, I was ready for a new challenge. After spending a few weeks jumping from one idea to the next, learning new skills and techniques, exploring what was possible and what was just wrong, I needed a touch of external pressure and expectation to take my work to the next level. I asked a few of the locals, the stylish-badass-biker sort, fearless and selective, what they would like to wear and one of the response came back as a solid, sterling silver, lion head ring. I would consider these guys to be in the right market for this style of jewellery and I know that they would not wear just any old thing. Challenge accepted - a design they would want to wear, crafted to a high standard.
I have seen some lovely lion, tiger and panthera rings but some seemed to be lacking character. I think it is possible to carve a creature and focus on the shape of the animal rather than give it personality. With this in mind, and with an aim to make my design a little different, when I started working the shape I focussed on the personality of the Big cat as a starting point. I looked at the crinkling of the nose, and how a snarl makes the cheeks pouch up. The teeth, and the opening of the mouth, the slit of the cat's eyes and the flattening of the ears, looking at how to recreate all of this in wax.
I didn't want the lion to appear threatening but more protective, strong, defiant but not aggressive.
In initially the lion was meant to appear male and have a mane but as the face was the main challenge, I focused on that to start with. By the time the face was almost finished I was reluctant to add the mane on to the ring, it looked pretty good without it. I decided to leave the mane, I didn’t want to destroy a strong design by over complicating it. Also, the mane would have sat around the head, making the ring bigger, bulkier and less comfortable. Creating a lion's head ring, complete with mane will be a challenge for the future, next time I will be considering the overall size of the ring and probably making the head smaller to make room for the mane.
Lion Ring or Big Cat Ring?
Designed as a Lion Ring initially, the lack of mane made the subject less obvious. I didn’t want to dictate to anyone, so without the guide of "Lion", different friends named different big cats that they thought the ring was similar to - A leopard, puma, panther, lioness, lion. I thought it would be best not to force one of these so named it after the Big Cat family.
Design Video - Making the Hex Cavelli Big Cat Ring
The Big Cat Ring is available in silver and with a black, oxidised silver finish.