Silver Rungs of Success: Ladder Shank Ring Design by Jeff Fulkerson

Step up your ring design game with a ladder shank

Silver Rungs of Success
By Jeff Fulkerson

I confess I’m one of those—the type who looks at a piece of jewelry and immediately turns it over to see what’s happening on the back. When I see a beautiful ring someone has made and then find the shank is just a piece of half-round wire soldered on the base, I’m kind of disappointed. That’s fine if it’s your first or second ring, but there comes a time when you have to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. I wanted to create a shank that was a little out of the ordinary, something you don’t see every day, and I think you’ll enjoy pushing yourself a little as you make this one.

So this ring design project is basically about the shank. One side will be wider than the other, and it will be open all along the way, connected with cross pieces that resemble the rungs of a ladder.

Silver Rungs of Success: Ladder Shank Ring Design by Jeff Fulkerson

Silver Rungs of Success Ladder Shank Ring Design by Jeff Fulkerson


Intermediate metalsmithing


  • 22 gauge sheet sterling silver (size determined by your cabochon)
  • 6″ 16 gauge square sterling silver wire
  • 10″ 14 gauge square sterling silver wire
  • Fine silver bezel wire
  • Scrap silver for balls

Solder setup, ring mandrel, jeweler’s saw, files, ruler, awl, flush cutters, finishing equipment

JEFF FULKERSON has been creating imaginative jewelry for 30+ years and has taught at museums, schools, and events. The award-winning silversmith has studied such Native American greats as Richard Tsosie, Jesse Monongye, and Michael Cheatham. Noted for his meticulous execution and attention to detail, Jeff loves the creative process of seeing his ideas take shape and come to life. See more of his work at

See inside the September/October issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist in our Lookbook!

Learn more about this project and many others in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist!

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