I was sorting through a pile of $5 rings, and one in particular stood out to me. The design, patina, materials (copper lined in sterling silver), and a marking (“Orb Handwrought”), led me to believe that there was something special about it.
Upon initial research, I learned that Otto Robert Bade (the O-R-B), a Pennsylvania coppersmith, created my ring. Bade later moved to New York City and worked in the Rebajes Studio. Francisco Rebajes, a silversmith originally from the Dominican Republic, founded the Studio in the 1950’s. Over the years, Francisco and Otto, working in their respective materials, created many wonderful pieces of modernist jewelry that still survive today.
It’s hard to believe that from a random pile of rings, I found this one. My heritage is Dominican, so learning that the ring was made in a modern jewelry studio founded by a Dominican is truly inspiring. Second, given the age of the ring, I never thought that Mr. Bade would still be alive today; he is (aged 88) and lives with his wife at the relocated studio in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
After finding the ring Mr. Bade made so long ago, part of me wants to contact him to tell him about my find and to thank him. I may just do that.