Dec 30, 2011

Crystal Falls Earrings

No one names their girls Crystal anymore.  Oh well, there are plenty of 'em in my generation.  Part of this earring design came out of my recent experiments with patterned brass sheet.  I had a minor "aha!" moment when I figured out how to cover where the chains attach with these brass saddle-like things I made.  I love saddles.  Actually, all horse tack exciting to me.  I could digress further, but I won't.  I made some earrings kind of like this in the past, but if you examined the back of them, you could see how they were assembled, which I considered inferior craftsmanship.  I knew I wasn't doing my best work, but I also knew that I could sell them.  These earrings…maybe not, but they sure do please me.

Follow the Read More link below to see exactly how I made these earrings...

I cut some patterned brass pieces.

I annealed the brass to soften it.

Red hot brass.

Annealing will make sawing the metal a bit easier and also oxidizes it - which I prefer.

Hammer 'em nice and flat.

I drew a couple different shapes in my notebook the night before.  Traced them onto tracing paper.

Backed the drawings with double sided tape.

This is how I transfer drawings onto metal in preparation for sawing them out.

A jeweler's saw and some tiny saw blades.

I had tried to cut these shapes with tin snips, but they're too complex for such a brute instrument.  

Sawing allows for precision cutting, but there's more clean up to do.

Peel the double stick tape away.

I will sand and file this into shape.

That looks better.

Drill a hole in the center.

You like how my tense and person change all the time when I'm writing?  I'm schizo.  Anyway...I applied superfine sandpaper to the pieces.  

And finally I used polishing cloth.

A nice clean edge to bend the piece over.

Bending the brass piece.

I hand squeezed it into its final taco shape.

Brother.  That was a lot of work for these four little pieces of brass.  Time to eat.

Black beans pressure cooked with smoked chicken skin.  Home garden kale.  Jalapeño cheddar cornmeal biscuit.

I'm going to need a lot of ball pins to attach the crystal beads with.  Cut many pieces of wire and soak them in that blue liquid flux.  

If I didn't soak the wires in the flux...

They wouldn't ball up nicely like this when hit with my torch.  

The set up.

I drop the hot wires directly into a mild acid bath.  Minimizes oxidation.  Why would I do this if I'm just going to oxidize the silver later?  Because that will be controlled, whereas the oxidation in this step is not, and does not always look nice.  

A bezillion silver ball pins.

Next, I cut and organized a bezillion pieces of silver chain.

Before I hung the chains from this wire, I squished a crimp bead at one end to hold them in place.

I threaded on pieces of chain and used silver crimp beads as spacers.

I closed up the wires.

I lowered the saddles over the ugly part.

Neat oh!

I did this 44 times.

These will look much more dramatic when the silver is oxidized.

I blackened the silver in sulphur.

That's better.

It'll all be held together when I wrap this wire.

Wire wrap step 1.

Finished wrapped wire.  

I made these stinkers as well.  Yeah, you can buy them, but not exactly how I like them.

One pair for me, one pair for Etsy.  


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