I came up with an earring design that I call “Trapped Bead” earrings. The earrings are “trapped” in the ear wire, they can’t fall out no matter what. I like making these because they are simple yet elegant and can be worn in almost any setting.
The earrings start out as a length of wire and some beads.
The wire gets cut into either 3 1/2 or 4 inch lengths. Then I make a 90 degree bend about 3/4 of an inch up from each wire.
Next the beads are inserted onto the long end of the wire. I use the round nose pliers to form a loop at the tip of the short side of the wire.
Using a ring mandrel, I bend the ear wires into loops.
The top of the hoop gets hammered to make it flat, adding dimension and strength. The tip of the ear wire is also flattened .
And the result is a pair of “Trapped Bead” earrings.
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The Dragonflies are made mostly from Sterling Silver wire. I start out with the “abdomen”, which can be a disk punched from 24 gauge silver sheet or a 24 gauge copper sheet, although most of the dragonflies are pure silver. I will also fashion the abdomens from scrap silver by melting sterling wire scraps into a large ball and flattening it on a stainless steel block. Sometimes I will stamp some random design into the abdomen to give it texture. Other times I’ll just leave them smooth.
I form wings from Sterling wire (usually 18 gauge), bending them around some round nosed pliers. Then I solder the wings onto the abdomen with hard solder.
The eyes and the segments of the tail are all made with scraps of sterling wire which are melted into balls. Sometimes I’ll flatten the balls into a disk using a stainless steel block and a good hammer.
Then I’ll solder the eyes and the tail segments to a piece of 16 gauge wire using medium solder. Sometimes I’ll flatten the 16 gauge wire to make it easier to solder.
The next step is to solder the eyes and tail to the abdomen, using easy solder. This can be a bit tricky, and I have to be careful not to melt the wings into a deformed mess.
Finally I will solder some jump rings onto the wings so it can be mounted on a necklace or bracelet.
On the dragonflies that have a textured abdomen, I will treat treat them with some Liver of Sulfer to give it the dark patina.
And that, basically, is how I make the dragonflies.
Welcome to CL and M Smith Jewelers!
Carolee and Mark Smith have started a jewelry business. We are currently building up stock and we are ready for a show.
Follow this blog to keep up to date with the latest jewelry we are making, and the shows we have scheduled.