Whenever I have a new design pictured in my mind or when I want to work out the perfect ring sizes for a particular weave, I like to sit down with every single ring size we make in a particular gauge (or two) so that I can go up or down in size by tiny increments in order to get the perfect fit. You're very familiar with this method of design if you own our Earring Designer RingSet. We've received a lot of very happy letters from people who use it and are experiencing a deep sense of creative fulfillment from working this way.
When we began making and testing our new specialty rings, I inadvertently discovered a completely different but complimentary and very liberating method of designing one of a kind pieces of jewelry that I'd like to share with you here.
At that time, when Gary was testing and working up new processes, he was making small amounts of many different ring sizes, inspecting them, then keeping the rings separated by metal and shape but mixing all the ring sizes together in each bin. I was fascinated with them and kept taking scoops of rings from the bins to do my own experiments. This bracelet was the experiment that resulted in an epiphany about spontaneous design.
Normally when I design, I have an image in my mind of what I want to make and I'm choosing the best rings to manifest that vision. With spontaneous design, I don't know what I want to make and am, instead, arranging and rearranging what I have (rings of all shapes and sizes) until they make something I love. It's a fun, low pressure way to work, particularly wonderful on those days when you feel fussy because you want to make something but you don't know what you want to make. It's also a fascinating way to become familiar with some of the unanticipated properties of each ring shape.
I love those mixes so much that we put together assortment packs, mixes of all different sizes in a single shape and a single metal, sold by weight. The trick to making the most of the assortments is in choosing the amount that best suits your plans. If you want to make earrings, you're only likely to need size matched rings in pairs... meaning you only need two of a given size to be able to use them for earrings. The quarter, half or single troy ounce units will be useful for that purpose, you're likely to find at least two of the same size ring, even in the small assortments.
If you're planning bracelets or necklaces and expect to need greater numbers of size matched rings, it's best to begin with a larger quantity of mix. If you'd like to use your rings 5 to 7 of the same size at a time, start with at least 3 troy ounces of mix, more if you can. 5ozt of each ring shape is the ultimate spontaneous design setup. It's inspiring, luxurious, probably even decadent, but it is so much fun.