Fine Fused Silver Teardrop Earrings


size: 2-1/2”

Materials

  • Fine silver wire (.999), 16-gauge, 10” length
  • Sterling silver wire (.925), 20-gauge, 8” length
  • Swarovski bicone crystal AB beads, 4mm, two
  • Pale blue round ceramic beads, 8mm, two
  • Silver ear wires, two

Basic Supplies

plastic bowl with water

Tools

  • Mandrel or dowels: 1-3/8” diameter, 1” diameter
  • Beadalon Designer Ergo Chain-Nose Pliers, Round-Nose Pliers, Wire Cutters
  • Solderite board, 6”x6”
  • Mini butane micro-torch and butane fuel
  • Curved cross-lock tweezers with fiber grips
  • Chasing hammer
  • Steel bench block
  • Flat needle file
  • Rubber-barreled jewelry tumbler and steel jewelers shot or polishing cloth
  • White vinegar, 1/4 cup
  • Table salt, 1 tbsp.

Directions

  • 1. Wrap fine silver wire around larger mandrel at least two times. See Photo 1. (see photos)
  • 2. Use cutter to snip wire into large jump rings. See Photo 2. (see photos)
  • 3. Use cutter to snip each end. Use small file to be sure wire ends sit perfectly flush up against one another. (Note: For silver to fuse, there cannot be a gap.) See Photo 3. (see photos)
  • 4. Place rings on solderite board. Use torch to heat entire ring in constantly moving circular motion. As silver reaches point of almost hot enough to fuse, the color will turn “matte.” See Photo 4. Keep heating, but watch carefully as joint will turn bright and shiny for second then “flash” liquid/molten. Remove heat by pulling torch away from silver. Repeat for second ring. Use cross-lock tweezers to remove rings from board. Place in bowl of water to ensure metal is completely cool before proceeding. (see photos)
  • 5. (Note: If you overheat silver it can tend to “bead up” or create uneven “bulge” on ring. See Photo 5. This is still useable. Options for use would be to build it into design, or file it down. For this project, place bulge under wrapped area of design, disguising it completely.) (see photos)
  • 6. Place smaller mandrel through ring. Use chain-nose pliers to pull wire circle into teardrop shape. With mandrel still in place, pinch top together to create “loop” at top of teardrop shape. See Photo 6. (see photos)
  • 7. Place teardrop onto bench block. Use flat side of chasing hammer to lightly flatten bottom part of teardrop. (Note: Do not hammer the loop end.) Turn piece over and hammer backside as well. See Photo 7. (see photos)
  • 8. Turn hammer around and use ball peen side to gently hammer overlapping texture along entire bottom of teardrop, being careful to avoid striking small loop at top. Turn piece over and texture backside of teardrop. See Photo 8. (see photos)
  • 9. Cut two 4” lengths of sterling wire. Create ball head on one end of each wire by holding wire in cross-lock tweezers and heating very end of wire in torch until ball forms. Place in water to cool. Repeat for second length of wire. Mix 1/4 cup vinegar and 1 TBsp. salt in mug; heat in microwave, then stir to dissolve salt. Place wire lengths (headpins) in mixture for two minutes to remove firescale/oxidization discoloration. Rinse in water.
  • 10. Thread small crystal onto headpin followed by pale blue ceramic bead. Hold at center of teardrop and bend top of wire at 45º angle. See Photo 9. (see photos)
  • 11. Wrap wire three times around center area of pinched loop. Trim excess wire. See Photo 10. Repeat Steps 10 and 11 for second teardrop shape. (see photos)
  • 12. Use chain-nose pliers to twist open loop on bottom of ear wire and thread through loop at top of teardrop shape; twist to close. Repeat for second earring. Use rubber-barreled jewelry tumbler to tumble for 15 minutes or polish by hand.

by Keri Lee Sereika

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