Introduction: Secret Compartment Ring

About: I'm a former bicycle industry designer turned professional jeweler. I like working with my hands and am happiest when I'm in the shop building my creations. If you need help with your project just let me know!

As a jeweler I've always enjoyed spy films where someone has a ring with a secret compartment- so I decided to make one!

I thought about what someone might stash in a ring and the first thing that came to mind was a memory card, so that's what I based this design around. The design is very versatile though so you can make it whatever size or shape you want. This ring is made from sterling silver but it could just as easily be made from copper or brass.


To make this ring you will need:

Jeweler's torch

Jeweler's saw

Ring mandrel

Small hammer or leather mallet

Various size files- I used a large flat file, a small square needle file, and a small half round needle file

Small drill bit


Red Scotchbrite pad


Hard, medium, and soft silver solder

Soldering flux

Sterling silver sheet and wire

Let's get started!

Step 1: Make the Base

The base of the ring is made from a 20mm diameter disc cut from 16 gauge (1.2mm thick) sterling silver sheet. You will need two discs (one for the base and one for the lid) so it's easier just to cut them both at the same time.

The ring to be soldered to the top of the disc is formed around a ring mandrel using 2.5mm wide x .75mm thick sterling silver flat wire. The outside diameter of the ring needs to match the outside diameter of the disc as closely as possible. Solder the ring shut using hard silver solder. The reason for using various grades of solder is because you don't want to melt a previous joint when you are assembling parts later on. Since hard solder has a higher melting temperature that gets used for first assemblies. Medium solder is used for secondary assemblies, and so on.

One trick I do when soldering complex joints is to cut the solder into tiny chips and then ball it up with a torch. Then you can place the solder wherever you want using soldering flux and a small brush. The reason for balling up the solder is that when trying to solder different facing surfaces together the ball is touching both surfaces at the same time and will more easily flow to them when heated.

Using a large flat file make sure one side of the ring is flat and solder it to the disc using medium solder. I use cross lock spring tweezers to hold the ring in place while soldering. After soldering clean up any rough edges with a file and sandpaper.

Step 2: Make the Ring Shank

The ring shank is made from a single length of 3.5mm x 1.5mm sterling silver flat wire. Just form the wire around a ring mandrel for your required finger size -tapping it around the mandrel with a leather mallet or hammer helps form it to shape more easily than just hand bending.

File the top of the ring flat with a large flat file and solder it to the ring base using easy silver solder. I find that drawing centering lines on the bottom of the ring base with a Sharpie pen helps me align things more easily. When soldering I hold the ring shank in place using locking ring tweezers (called head and shank tweezers.)

Once the shank is soldered clean up the joint using a small needle file and sandpaper.

Step 3: Making the Lid

The ring lid is made using the other 20mm diameter disc cut earlier. The first step though is to file a notch in the ring base using a small square needle file- I made it the same with as the ring shank at 3.5mm. This is to allow clearance for the hinge block.

Now cut a piece of silver stock the same width as the notch. This piece only needs to be long enough to allow a small hole for the hinge wire to be drilled through it. Solder this piece to the silver disc using hard solder, making sure it sits just proud of the edge of the disc.

Take a small piece of silver flat wire, file notch in it and bend it 90 degrees. Solder the inside of the bend with hard solder. Now comes the tricky part- this piece forms part of the latch so placement is fairly critical when soldering it to the disc. It needs to sit directly in line with the hinge and needs to be placed about double the thickness of the ring base wall from the disc edge. The reason for placing it that distance from the disc edge is to allow room for the mating side of the catch that will be added to the ring base. Once proper positioning has been determined solder it in place using medium solder.

When soldering the catch in place it can be held with locking tweezers or even pinned in place by drilling through the catch and the lid and inserting a piece of silver wire in the hole.

Fit the lid to the ring base, making sure there is minimal gap between the lid hinge block. The lid hinge block should also be filed to match the outer contour of the ring base.

Step 4: Finishing the Hinge

Now the hinge wire needs to be fitted. The wire I used was about .7mm diameter. Drill a hole through the sides of the ring base at the hinge cutout- ideally this needs to be as far back and as low as possible in order to get a good working hinge.

Feed a small length of silver wire through both holes to check the alignment. When feeding wire through a hinge, taper one end of the wire as this will make it much easier to thread through.

Remove the wire and set the lid in place. Now very lightly drill through the holes on each side of the base to make a locating mark. Remove the lid and drill the hole all the way through the sides of the lid hinge block.

Check the fit of the lid and hinge by feeding the hinge wire all the way through the ring base and lid hinge block.

Do not yet try to open the lid.

Now remove the hinge wire and the ring lid. The hinge block needs a bit of clearance in order to open- this requires filing the lower edge of the hinge block where it meets the ring base. It needs a slight radius there for clearance so it won't bind as the lid is opened. Just file away a little bit at a time until you have enough clearance. This make take several tries so just go slow, reassembling the ring and then taking back apart as necessary in order to check the fit.

Once you get the hinge working properly take it apart again and remove the lid.

Step 5: Making the Catch

The catch is made by soldering a a short length of wire to a piece of flat wire using hard solder- I used the same size wire as the hinge wire and the same flat wire as was used for the ring base wall. This catch will engage the tab of the ring lid when the lid is closed. Cut the catch to length to fit inside the ring base against the wall. It should be cut so that the round wire sits about half way up the wall.

The catch needs to be soldered in place in the ring base opposite the hinge cutout. Use easy solder for this. Make sure the catch does not stick out over the top of the ring base wall. File a small finger notch at the catch location on the outside of the ring base- this will make opening the lid much easier later.

Now fit the lid back in place by reassembling the hinge. Do not yet close the lid.

File a small notch in the tab on the underside of the lid. This notch needs to line up with the bit of round wire that protrudes form the catch in the ring base. This is pretty tedious work so just take your time and go slow. You'll know when the fit is right as it will have a nice snap to it when closed. You can adjust the fit of the catch by bending the lid tab slightly to get the fit just right. You can also alter the shape the round wire on the catch in the base using needle files or cutting burrs to fine tune the fit.

Once you have the fit right solder the hinge wire in place using easy silver solder and trim the wire to match the outside shape of the ring.

Finish the ring by filing/sanding any sharp edges. I usually file the inside edge of the ring shank with a small half round needle file- this takes the sharp edge off the inside of the ring and makes it more comfortable to wear.

Give the ring a good rub all over with a red Scotchbrite pad. This will smooth the surface and give it a nice grained texture.

Step 6: Finished!

What will you stash in your ring?

The neat thing about this design is you can customize it to your needs and make it your own. The top can be engraved, laser etched. or have small stones set into it. You could even solder a bezel to the top of the ring and set a large stone on top of the ring. It would be neat to have a cabochon cut stone the same diameter as the ring on top.

As always, if anyone has any questions or problems making this just let me know!

If you have a jewelry instructable that you would like to see send me a message and let me know- I'm always curious to see what people would like to learn! Also, if you're interested in having a custom jewelry piece made I can be contacted through my work at Hurdle's Jewelry.

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