Presuming a simple colour transition as it appears, you may use a blend, if you:
1) Select the Compound Path with the ring to the right and the straight part to the left and Object>Path>Offset Path with a negative value that gives you just a narrow band in the ring part, colour it very pale, the outer path darker;
2) Maybe adjust the straight part of the inner path to get a slightly broader band with the inner path reaching into the transition between ring and straight part;
3) Object>Blend>Options>Smooth or a suitable number of steps, then Object>Blend>Make.
You may try without 2), then Undo and apply it if needed.
Always work on a copy of the original artwork.
do you mean the curve between them or the lighting? for the curve, i drew the circles and the straight separately and used smart guides to get the curves between them in a vaguely right place. for the lighting, this uses a blend between the initial shape and a minus-value offset path:
edit: so like Jacob said.
Sometimes, the order of posts is really a matter of chance (and rifts in the time space continuum). I had just been away for almost an hour before seeing the thread.
And judging by the time of the OP, E is probably over there and will only see this thread again in quite a few hours.
You should be able to reproduce what Doug and I have suggested.
The outer shape of the fused wire part in the O(riginal) P(ost), as is the corresponding outer shape in post #2, is the Compound Path mentioned in Step 1) in the first post. This should have a solid dark copper colour.
If you follow the instructions, step 1) will lead you to have an inner path, which you can adjust as described in Step 2). This should have a solid and very pale copperlike colour (or be white).
Step 3) tells how you can combine the outer and inner path to get the colour transistion in the form of a blend between the two path and their colours.
The width of the inner path determines whether the wire will have a fully rounded o r a more flattened appearance, as you can see in both the OP and in post #2; obviously, there will be a flattening of the fuse area, but either or both of the parts (rings shape and straight) of the wire may be fully rounded.
Ever since Adobe decided to force its customers to rent software, I'm much less inclined to effectively add perceived value to its products by posting demos. So be aware, the operative word here is "perceived." The same general methodology demonstrated below works in most any mainstream vector drawing program.
Swatches palette: Define four GLOBAL Swatches:
Thanks for the detail! I presume it would all be very helpfull if I could get my paths to compound (step 4). Any idea why Illustrator is telling me it can't compund the paths? It might have something to do with how I made the shape to begin with. I made a circle, cut it, added some new points and bent it to meet with the straight wire, then using path finder joined the shapes. This way I got nice, circular, symmetrical curves. How did you make your shapes to begin with?
Looking in the layers panel is the easiest way to see exactly what is going on. With the paths selected, view the layer panel and see where the selected objects are. You can then drag them out of their current group or release a compound path using the object menu.
You can also cut and past above (cmd/control F), to ensure they are not part of another object.
It is showing the outside shape as a "compound shape," and the circles in the middle as "compound paths." All of these as of now are on one layer. When I try to release the objects is simply says "cannot ungroup."