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Latvian Legionnaire Ring Project

Article about: Recently, I was offered by a ring by a good friend who had recovered it in Latvia. It was your typical Latvia patriotic soldiers ring and had belonged to a Latvian soldier fighting with the

  1. #1

    Default Latvian Legionnaire Ring Project

    Recently, I was offered by a ring by a good friend who had recovered it in Latvia. It was your typical Latvia patriotic soldiers ring and had belonged to a Latvian soldier fighting with the SS. It had no markings at all and looked sadly worn out. It was in terrible shape when I finally got it in hand-the enameling was almost totally gone and the band was broken and bent out of shape. It was made of, what I assume, was called at the time "Alpaca" silver. Thinking it over, I decided that this would make for a good restoration project. Normally, I would not recommend such work on a period ring, but seeing as the condition was so deteriorated, I figured there wasn't much to lose in any case.

    The Alpaca silver was difficult to work with and vaporized quickly under even the slightest bit of heat and so the work had to go Very timidly. Just straightening the brittle metal of the band was abit of a sweat, for fear of cracking and losing pieces of it. The enameling was no easier. Since the Alpaca could not withstand heat, baking the enamel on was out of the question, and so a slow dry/harden enamel had to be used and took nearly a solid week to properly set. All after giving it a good long soak in the tank to remove any remaining enamel remnants and dirt. And, finally, the last bit was to search for other period Latvian rings to get the exact right colors and style of enamel. Was it translucent? Opaque? Dark red? Light red? But, after hunting endlessly for just the correct tint and appearance, I finally determined that the 2 colors chosen were perfect even to My fussy eyeballs, and so here is the before and after pictures as it sits today. I think it turned out pretty decent. I'm sure the Latvian trooper who originally selected it for himself back in 1941 would be more than happy with it too.

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    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Latvian Legionnaire Ring Project

    Wow you are a true artist I myself am against touching up items, this is one case where the end product was very nice. The paint looks great and the silver looks great without all the scratches and cracks. Looks great and still has some patina to it great job

  4. #3

    Default Re: Latvian Legionnaire Ring Project

    Looks great good job.

    Eric
    [h=3]e plu·ri·bus u·num[/h]

  5. #4

    Default Re: Latvian Legionnaire Ring Project

    That looks wonderful! I love the colour! Looks just like jeweller's enamel.

    When you mention giving it a week 'in the tank', what was the solution you soaked it in?

  6. #5

    Default Re: Latvian Legionnaire Ring Project

    A weak acid solution, is all, to thoroughly clean the remaining enamel debris off. And, yes, it is, indeed, jewelers enamel! It's hard as cement! Simple to apply and available on the net!
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  7. #6

    Default Re: Latvian Legionnaire Ring Project

    Was the acid Oxalic?

  8. #7

    Default Re: Latvian Legionnaire Ring Project

    I was actually sceptical at first when reading your initial post but after seeing the finished result I must say that it wound up looking really nice, doesn't really look "restored" like I feared it would -- it simply looks like a nice original, just cleaned up a bit... great job!

  9. #8

    Default Re: Latvian Legionnaire Ring Project

    The cleaning soak was a weak sulphuric acid that jewelers use sometimes to clean up with. A good friend of mine is a silversmith and he recommended it. I was hesitant to try anything harsher as I wasn't sure of the effect on the Alpaca.
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  10. #9

    Default Re: Latvian Legionnaire Ring Project

    Well, a good job! It is very hard to restore the original pre WWII enamel. Today only a few silversmith can do it. And can not be done without a silversmits owen where temperatures are pretty hard.

    Latvian national flag has a very special red colour - very dark red, like a blood. A brownish red. Your red enamel is too bright, remembers me more Austrian national colours.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Latvian Legionnaire Ring Project

    Actually, the red is abit darker than the photo shows, as it was taken in direct sunlight(on the hood of my car), so it does match up to other rings I found to compare it to much better than it appears. It was a tough tint to capture and this is about the closest I could come. When viewed indoors under fluorescent lighting it does look more flag colored than outside in the sun under the full light spectrum. Like I said, considering what I had to work with to begin, I'm okey with it and can live with the results! It's not like I'm going to be wearing it around or anything in any case, so I'm satisfied with it.
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

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