I love playing with textures on plain silver. I think it's because it's such a forgiving technique. You can change the look of a piece completely by using different hammers, or by holding the hammer in different ways.
The two rings below were originally hammered with the ball end of my planishing hammer. Somehow they felt very "beginnerish", I felt I could have done more with them. So I threw them on my worktable and left them there for months. I was originally planning to melt them down, use them in my blob rings or something. But I felt guilty (silver's not cheap!), so one day I picked up a different hammer and went for it!
I'm so much happier with them as they are now. I used the same hammer for both rings, but by holding it at different angles I was able to achieve vastly different textures. Adding a patina and shining up the high spots really brings out the pattern. Now they're sitting on my worktable, waiting to be listed on Folksy!
I do seem to have a very bad habit of half making a piece and leaving it unfinished for ages. Maybe it's a good thing - making a piece when it doesn't feel right usually ends up with a pile of scrap and a bad tempered me. Waiting for my mojo to reappear is probably the right decision.
This first ring, again, has been sitting around for months, waiting for me to finish it. I've been setting stones for a while now, but was never satisfied with my bezels (that's the piece that holds the stone tight). Having invested in a graver, which is a little sharp steel tool that shaves tiny slivers of silver off the top of the bezel, I'm finally ready to reveal my settings to the public, with only the tiniest of cringes.
The second ring is one I made with the help of Jinks McGrath's "The Rings Book". Playing around with the shape of the shank is something I couldn't wrap my head around, but I think I may finally be getting somewhere. This one is contoured so it's a little thinner around the back, making for a more comfortable fit.
Now I'm all fired up and ready to attack my stash of stones. Maybe some earrings next? .....