Appalachia Chatter and Chitter

Spoon Rings

Easy way to make spoon rings
Did you ever have a spoon ring? They were quite popular in the 1960-70s and recently they’ve made a come back in the fashion world-well at least at the Blind Pig house.

How to make spoon rings

Chitter has always liked working with metal. She likes bending wires into cool shapes-making art with beads, wire, and whatever else she comes up with. She once made a whole family of metal people with yarn hair.

After her Blacksmith class this summer, she tried to think of a type of metal bending she could do here at home-the kind you don’t need a forge for.

Making spoon rings
Years ago Miss Cindy gave Chitter a spoon ring. Chitter wore it all the time-but somewhere along the way she put it back in the jewelry box and forgot about it. As she was racking her brain for something to bend-she remembered the spoon ring.

I refused to give her one of my good spoons-and I didn’t have any old ones. Off Chitter went to Granny’s. Unbelievable to me-Granny gave her one of her good spoons. I said “Are you sure she gave it to you-gave it to you to destroy?” Chitter said yes she was positive. Funny how Grandkids change you-Granny used to get on to me and Paul about loosing her spoons-now she gives one to Chitter to cut and bend.

Chitter uses the following to make a spoon ring:

  • vice
  • hacksaw
  • vice grips
  • pliers
  • a spoon
  • 3/4 inch ratchet extension
  • grinder
  • brass hammer

Spoon rings are easy to make
First she uses a hacksaw to remove the ‘bowl’ from the spoon. Next she places the ratchet in the vice and attaches the spoon to it with a pair of vice grips.

Spoon rings
Then she uses the hammer to peck the length of the spoon around the ratchet into a ring.

History of spoon rings
If needed-she shapes up the ring with pliers-and then uses a grinder to smooth out any rough edges-and a buffing polisher to make the finished ring shine.

Spoon rings can be made at home
Chitter has made several spoon rings-the one above is my favorite-so simple-yet so lovely. One type of metal may work better than another-but Chitter doesn’t even consider what the spoon is made of-if she likes the design-she makes a ring. Earlier this summer, Miss Cindy and the girls hit every thrift shop in the Asheville area looking for old spoons and they found some beauties!

As I was writing this post, I googled around to see if I could find the history of spoon rings. Its actually very interesting.

Historians believe spoon-and other cutlery rings were first made in the 17th century in Britain. Folks who were too poor to buy rings or metal to make them-and happen to work for rich people-would steal a piece of cutlery to make a ring. The stolen cutlery rings were often used as wedding rings.

Chitter says she will donate one her spoon rings for me to give away during my Thank You November Month of Giveaways-so one of you out there will get to wear one of Chitter’s spoon rings too.

Ever worn a spoon ring?

Tipper

 

 

 

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50 Comments

  • Reply
    Dawn
    October 28, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I just googled spoon rings also and came across your blog 🙂
    My husband and I were holidaying in Anglesey Wales during the summer and he bought me a spoon ring from a farmers market, the lady had made them. It was a mustard spoon!!
    You are quite right with your history, even as far as some of the thieves who stole from the big house they were servants in, could and probably were deported to Australia for their trouble Eeek!! and all because they wanted their wife towear something pretty 🙂

  • Reply
    Janice MacDaniels
    September 30, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Hey, great post. My daughter-in-law and I were hitting the local antique stores/junk stores one day and as she owns a spoon ring and upon seeing several in the stores, we did wonder how hard it would be to make one. Her ring is the kind that sort of spirals a bit – doesn’t meet end to end. Beautiful work, Chitter!
    Janice

  • Reply
    Rachel
    September 22, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    She is talented!! I certainly do recall these rings. I’m sure I’ve had one in the past, but no longer do. I found a web page of a female blacksmith that also made other things from metal, such as light fixtures, etc. I’m sure her items were very expensive! I can’t find it now to give you the link. Amazing what you can do with heated metal!

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Two Bears Farm
    September 22, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I think it’s so cool that she learned how to blacksmith and made that! I liked hearing the history of them too.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    September 22, 2011 at 12:00 am

    wow you are one talented family.. i love those rings.. and have admired them for along time… i do remember them.. but never had one of my own.. you tell the girls i am really proud of all their accomplishments.. and these are things that can be passed down and im sure treasured for along time to come..
    have a great day and big ladybug hugs
    lynn

  • Reply
    Becky
    September 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I have! And I have one in my jewelry box right now.

  • Reply
    teresa atkinson
    September 21, 2011 at 9:46 am

    If she uses stainless steel silverware, I have a box full – I can take pictures of the handles and send them to you – I do not use much stainless and these are some that I have gathered in box lot quantities — I’ll happily give them to her (maybe for a ring trade?)
    See you at the beginning of the month.

  • Reply
    Rick Kratzke
    September 21, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Those are beautiful, I have never heard of those. She is quite the artist.

  • Reply
    Stacey
    September 21, 2011 at 7:34 am

    That is so nice. I’ve never seen anything lik it. She could make and sell those, I think they’d sell like hot cakes.
    Stacey
    SWPA

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    September 21, 2011 at 6:45 am

    I love the spoon rings. Your daughter might just have a new business going! I have a key ring that is the entire handle of a silver fork (minus the eating end)– it’s long and big so I can find my keys in my rather huge shoulder bag!
    P.S. I LOVE your blog!! And I appreciate the time you take to do it every day!! Thank you!

  • Reply
    bakingbarb
    September 21, 2011 at 12:40 am

    A wonderful idea and always wonderful to see people reviving these crafts. I would like to make one of these.

  • Reply
    brenda s 'okie in colorado'
    September 21, 2011 at 12:12 am

    I love spoon rings. I had one when I was young, but have no idea what happened to it. The old vintage silverware is so much more interesting than todays. I love that Chitter learned to work metal. The ring she made is beautiful.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    September 20, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    My daughter has my old spoon ring, but I didn’t make it. However, the silver band I proudly wear on my left hand was made from a silver quarter by Mitchell. I have a “fancy” wedding band, but this is the one I treasure.

  • Reply
    Kelly
    September 20, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Hi
    I love the spoon rings. My daughter has been wanting one and I think these are beautiful. Would you daughter be interested in selling one. I would love to get my daughter an authentic spoon ring not one of those mass produced Claire’s rings. Please let me know. Would make a great Christmas gift.
    Thanks

  • Reply
    Donna W
    September 20, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    My mother had a friend at church make one for me. I know I didn’t throw it away, so now I am wondering where it is!

  • Reply
    RB
    September 20, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    I remember them but never had one. I always thought the spoons had to be made of silver (or gold if one were lucky enough to find one), or they’d break when you tried to bend them. Maybe not. Hmmm…
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    September 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Those are so beautiful I don’t believe I ever had one or knew anyone that made them. Would love to learn how to do it..

  • Reply
    Bradley
    September 20, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Reading Douglas’s post about his being too helpful reminded me of something that happened to a few years ago.
    My uncle gave me a group picture of an old church that had Grand Pa in it when when he was a boy. My uncle wanted me to take this antique to a photgrapher in town and have a copy made. I said that I would. PROBLEM…..Someone that knew those people from about 75 years before had taken the time to lable each one with their name using an ink pen. Guess what, when I got the copy it was beautiful. The photographer had diligently removed all the names and most were never remembered by the old folks.
    Talk about being on the roverbial list….I learned to never take anything for granite after that.

  • Reply
    tea4too0
    September 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    I remember the rings. My dad made several. He also made a necklace for me from a silver fork. Way to go Chitter. You have some great kids, Tipper. T

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 20, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    To expand on the ring from a silver quarter: I remember, when I was a mere lad, my daddy took a silver quarter with mommy’s birth date in it and made her a wedding ring. He sat for hours with an old flat iron between his knees and tapped on the edge of that quarter with a spoon. He turned it as he gently tapped. The edge gradually mushroomed out until it was about 1/8 in wide. When he thought it was the right size, he took his pocket knife and with the point drilled a hole in the center. From there he started whittling out the inside. When the inside was out he used steel wool to shine it up. It made a ring that looked as good any ring from a jewelry store. The inside of the ring had the 1924, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,QUARTER DOLLAR part of Liberty and In God We Trust from off the face and the reverse. We were poor folks and that is the only piece of jewelry Mommy ever had. She is buried with it on her hand.
    My wife had a gold wedding band when we married. The first winter we were married she lost it helping push a car in the snow. I backtracked looking for a little circle in the snow and found it. The next summer we went to Cocoa Beach and she lost it in the ocean. There ain’t no little circles in the Atlantic. Anyway, I found a silver quarter with her birthdate on it and made her a ring like my Daddy made. She considers it a treasure and has had it for 30+ years.
    I didn’t have a flat iron to make it on. I made it on a little anvil I made from a piece of “donkey” railroad track.
    If anybody wants to make a ring like this, all they need is a silver quarter dated before 1964, a steel soup spoon (a silver spoon wont work because it is as soft as the quarter),a flat piece of steel and steel wool and/or sandpaper. Oh! and also lots and lots of patience. I can send pictures if anyone is interested.

  • Reply
    Douglas
    September 20, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    In late ’70s my wife’s best friend Libby came around proud of her new spoon ring, and it was a nice one. I suggested the silver needed polishing and she allowed me to take it out to my shop to clean it up. I did a beautiful job in that I used my cloth buffer to clean out all of the crevices so the entire surface was shiny as could be. Upon seeing what I had done to her ring with the removal of all the character in those crevices she blessed me down the road for a good while. I had destroyed her ring. And I had, at least until we could get a little more character worn back into it. Sometimes I can be a bit too helpful. We did make up later and Libby forgave me.

  • Reply
    janet pressley
    September 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I love this Chitter!! If I find a good spoon – will you make me one please???? Maybe???? Nana

  • Reply
    Elizabeth K
    September 20, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I don’t have a spoon ring, but I do have one made from an old key. However, for my graduation, 1975 – ouch! – my aunt gave me a bracelet made from a spoon in the same way as the rings. I have it put away somewhere, haven’t seen it for a while.

  • Reply
    Bradley
    September 20, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Tipper Chitter has so many diversifed talents. Those rings reflect that.
    This post woke all of us up today.
    Well, you know how so many things reminds me of something I have seen. That second photograph reminds me so much of a painting by Dieago Valasquez (Spanish Master) that I’ve seen. It was called “The Needle Woman.” Although the seamstress in the painting is no where near as pretty as Chitter, still the colors, (especially the red), composition, and pose are so stricking.
    Your girls have a lot of SMARTS.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    September 20, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    When my boys were small they had several ‘baby spoons’, and I had one made into a spoon ring. I always found it special and now that son has a daughter who I will give the ring to in a few years when she will appreciate it.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    September 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    What a talented child!
    Many yrs ago when they were popular my mother in law mentioned that she meant to give her daughter in laws our husband’s baby spoons to have a ring made with. When her oldest son’s marriage fell apart; I guess she changed her mind.
    Nearly 38 yrs. later, I’m still married to her second son & am tempted to see if she would let me have his. It would become a wonderful heirloom.

  • Reply
    Dorothy
    September 20, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Yes I have a spoon ring from long ago. I still wear it once in while as I just love it and think it makes a fun statement. I probably got it a craft show when I was selling crafts myself.
    Would be fun to have one made by your beautiful daughters.

  • Reply
    Ken
    September 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Tipper,
    How neat! And Chitter bent it over
    a mandrel of an extension from a
    wratchet to form. Now that’s some
    thinking talent!
    I’ve made rings from stainless
    tubing in the past, lots of polishing with no embossing design
    on it though. Those girls could
    master just about anything…Ken

  • Reply
    Tim Mclemore
    September 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I do remember those rings the girls use to wear, I remember a man who worked at a nut and bolt factory, he and his wife’s first wedding rings were made of stainless steel nuts ground down into rings and polished. They didn’t have enough money for gold wedding rings, but the love they had for each other was all that mattered. They went on and had 7 kids, that were like brothers and sisters to me growing up.

  • Reply
    Tipper
    September 20, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Thats the thing about Pawpaws-they are hard to find! And I didnt even find the one I ate-it found me through Granny and Pap : ) I read that you cant find them in the store/farmers market because they have so short of a shelf life-only lasting about 3 days once they are ripe. Your best bet is to find someone who has a tree. I planted my seeds-so maybe Ill have a tree someday : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    grandpa Ken
    September 20, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I can’t get this message to go through lets try again. Good for her I have liked doing things with small pieces of metal too nails, wire, and other bits. I made little things to play with lots of fun. And you can learn alot about metals how to work each one and keep it from breaking. I tried to find a pawpaw all weekend in Blairsville few people even knew what they were where do I find one to try?

  • Reply
    georgie
    September 20, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I wanted to make one in the 70’s, but Mom didn’t want to “share” her spoon collection with spoons dating to 1920. Has Chitter thought of a way to recycle the spoon bowls? She did a great job on that ring.

  • Reply
    Shannon
    September 20, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I LOVE SPOON RINGS…and earrings and necklaces….I only have one spoon ring, but would love another!

  • Reply
    Mamabug
    September 20, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I remember these lovely rings. The one I have now is made from one of my daughters baby spoons. I don’t wear as much as I used to.

  • Reply
    Judy
    September 20, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I had forgotten all about spoon rings! Her ring is just beautiful. I love it. I know how that grandmother feels. I would give my grandson just about anything he asked me for. We grandmaws and nanas are like that. Yes, we are.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    September 20, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Great idea and such talent. It may be a good thing to try for my daughter and grand-daughter for Christmas. Talent does abound in your home Tipper!

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    September 20, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I’m impressed. Making something fine from what you can find and using what you have got–that’s the real art! Now I know which give-a-way prize I want. Keep up the good work!
    Rooney

  • Reply
    kat
    September 20, 2011 at 9:32 am

    My SIL made one for my daughter and of course I wanted one so he made it. So wonderful that your daughters are so talented. I understand your mom giving up the spoon. It’s a grandparent thing, i guess cause i do things for my grandsons that i might not have done when my daughter was growing up.

  • Reply
    Jen
    September 20, 2011 at 9:23 am

    The possibilities are endless and very vovely…thanks for the tutorial, also. I vaguely remember seeing them in the past, but never had one. Your girls are so clever and creative!

  • Reply
    Sassy
    September 20, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I never had one myslef, but do remember how popular they were. I just loved how pretty they looked. Now after reading your post it has sparked an inner joy and has my mind thinking about all the different types of designs.
    Also like the history, how cool was that…. a wedding ring 🙂

  • Reply
    Carol Isler
    September 20, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I’ll have to show this post to my Mary. She is the most creative of the three gals and she loves rings. I remember spoon rings from when I was a teenager, but I never had one. It didn’t occur to me to make one of my own. Momma would have wore me out if I used some of her silver. Thrift store hunting is a good idea. Did you know that Goodwill has an online auction? I just found that out last week. Got me an old timey meat grinder. Always wanted one.

  • Reply
    dolores
    September 20, 2011 at 8:50 am

    I had forgotten about them, and as we speak, I had found the one I saved from years ago. I used to love wearing it. I hope your daughter, who seems to have talent in many areas, has access to more of the silverware to make the rings. She could go into her own business at craft shows.

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    September 20, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Here’s another interesting variant, the technique imparted to me by a convict, something they did to pass the time.
    Back in the day when coins were made of silver (why glory be, the 60s and before)…
    Get a silver quarter, or if you’re fingers were really fat, a half-dollar (remember Franklin?). I was, among other things, a paper boy back then and so had an ample supply, or at least some I didn’t spend immediately.
    Assemble some patience and a spoon. Turning it slowly in you fingers, gently tap, tap, tap and so on around the edges. Gradually, the soft silver will flatten fairly symmetrically, if your hands are steady, leaving you with a band, wedding or otherwise. Then drill the center, file and smooth the inside and outside edges and what remains is the ring, less the hours spent in that mind, rather than that place.
    Anyway, it works and makes a fine tale.

  • Reply
    sandra
    September 20, 2011 at 8:33 am

    i had one many many years ago, had forgotten about them. this one is pretty. i am thinking silver is the easiest to bend, good idea shopping around for the spoons.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    September 20, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Tipper,
    What wonderful talented girls you have…I certainly remember spoon rings…I never had one that I remember but tried on my friends ring as she was showing it off that her boyfriend made for her..ha All of us thought it was so neat and of course wished we had one. Spoon rings go along with mercury dime necklaces..of the day…I did have one of those!
    Great job Chitter…I see braclets and necklaces in the future!
    Thanks Tipper great post!

  • Reply
    Canned Quilter
    September 20, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I own a spoon ring that was leftover from the 70’s. Didn’t know they were making a comeback. Maybe I will dig mine out again.

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    September 20, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Yes, I remember the spoon rings. Don’t think I ever owned one but remember my sister did. Very talented girls you have there.
    Patty H.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 20, 2011 at 7:46 am

    I do remember them, they are so pretty and to think Chitter has learned to make them. The girls are so talented in everything they undertake.

  • Reply
    Mary
    September 20, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Way to go, Chitter, keeping old things alive! I have seen a lot of these recently at craft fairs and such.
    We were too ‘poor’ to buy a wedding band when Hubby and I got married. We were at a small carnival, and he won a spoon ring tossing darts.
    I wore it until it could be replaced with a ‘real’ one. It was in my jewelry box when our house burned years ago.
    Thanks for the memory, once again.

  • Reply
    GrannyPam
    September 20, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Years ago, when Greektown (in Detroit) was still Greektown and not a casino, there were a variety of funky art shops and artists there. There was on particular gentleman who made all kinds of jewelry and knickknacks from sold tableware. I didn’t buy any, but was fascinated by all that he had made.

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