Friday, May 30, 2008

Dragonfly and Reed Necklace

I love this round brass pendant. It features a dragonfly in flight around reed stalks and evokes a feeling of serenity. It provides the backdrop for an assemblage of vintage glass beads and a square pillow shaped turquoise bead wrapped in filigree. The seafoam and lavender perfectly complements the peaceful scene on the pendant.

The whole assemblage is suspended from brass chain, which is finished with a simple hook clasp. The chain measures 19 1/2" (49.4 cm). The pendant part is 2 3/4" (7 cm).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Grand Entrance - The Necklace

This is one of the newest items I've posted to my Etsy shop. The assemblage of items includes a brass escutcheon, an antique skeleton key, an amber glass leaf, a small Swarovski flower bead and my favorite vintage glass bead -- it's the amber colored twist. The chain is brass and is finished with a simple hook clasp. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another Earwire Tutorial !

This style of earwire has been a bestseller for me for many years. I offer it almost exclusively as an interchangeable earring, which I sell in sets with 5 different pairs of drops.

Cut a 3" piece of 20 ga half-hard sterling silver wire. At one end, make the smallest, roundest loop you can with round nose pliers.

Using your favorite pair of pliers (I use my bent nose pliers with a coating of Tool Magic), set the loop in the jaws of the pliers, close to the joint. With your thumb, coax the wire up and around the initial loop to start the spiral. Reposition the the spiral and repeat until there are 2 1/2 revolutions.

Flatten this spiral. Here, I've used my rolling mill, but this could be done just as effectively with a chasing hammer and an anvil or bench block.

Place the flattened spiral in the jaws of the pliers and bend the remaining wire back at a 90 degree angle. With the other earring in the pair, you will bend this wire toward you at a 90 degree angle. This will create 2 earrings that are mirror images of each other.

Place your round nose pliers just past the bend and using your fingers, bend the remaining wire straight up. This will create the space where your dangle will go.

To create the part that goes through your ear, I use a size 13 aluminum knitting needle, as shown in the photo. I find it helpful to do both earrings at once, to ensure that they are the same length.

Using a chasing hammer and anvil, flatten the top of this curve. This will work-harden your earwire even more and provide the desired "springiness". File the ends and bend them up slightly.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Flapper Necklace

This top-drilled serpentine pendant has been difficult for me to use -- I bought a whole strand in Tucson. Then, I discovered this fan shaped filigree component. It works perfectly when wrapped around the pendant. I added some coordinating crystals and voila, a flapper-worthy necklace was created! Glass and brass beads top the pendant and the whole assemblage hangs from brass link chain.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Earwire Tutorial

I've been making my own earwires for many years. What follows is a tutorial for a very simple style that is a great way to get started. As time allows, I will add tutorials for several other styles of earwires.

I start with 3" - 3 1/2" of 20 ga half-hard sterling silver wire. If this is your first time trying this, you might want to practice with copper wire before cutting the sterling! Hammer about 1/4" of the end of the wire flat using a chasing hammer and either an anvil or bench block.

Next, using your round nose pliers, make a small loop at the flattened end: Placing the round nose pliers just above this loop, make a bend in the opposite direction, as shown in the next 2 photos. In the 3rd photo below, you can see that I'm making the curve that will go through your ear. Here, I am using a size 13 aluminum knitting needle as a "jig". A Sharpie pen works well too.To finish the earwires, hammer both the top curve and the small curve at the bottom where your drops will go. This hardens the wire and dresses it up at the same time. Don't forget to file the ends and make a small bend in the end, if desired.