How to Make a Sterling Silver Turquoise Necklace
Materials and Tools:
sterling silver round wire, variety of gauges
silver solder in wire form
silver rivet material
solder block/fire bricks
round and flat needle-nose pliers
flush cutters (snips)
doughnut-shaped turquoise stone
acetylene B torch
jeweler's hammer block/or anvil
flex shaft drill, drill press
container with water
crock-pot with pickle solution (1:10 ratio of 1 part acid to 10 parts water)
polishing machine with sanding wheel and buffing fibers
red rouge and white diamond buffing compound
hand polishing cloths
punch: steel stick with point on one end
Top Silver Circle
1. Wind sterling silver wire around a metal ring mandrel to create a round shape.
2. Remove the wire from the mandrel and snip at the seam to form one ring. Hold the ends with two pairs of flat-nose pliers so that the ends meet flush together.
3. Place the ring in tweezers and secure the tweezers in a soldering clamp. Apply liquid flux to the seam, then with tweezers drop a piece of solder on the seam. Using the acetylene torch, heat with a circular motion, keeping the flame 1/4 inch away from the piece. The solder chip will melt and fill the seam. Dunk the ring in water.
4. Place the silver circle on the mandrel and hammer it with a rawhide hammer to re-form the circle shape.
5. Place the circle on an anvil. Hammer to desired width and flatten the ring with a flat hammer.
6. Place the flat circle in a pickle to remove fire scale.
7. Polish the circle using a polishing machine. Apply red rouge compound to the sanding wheel to clean and polish. Apply white diamond compound to the buffing fibers for the finishing polish. Rotate the piece so it doesn't become hot to the touch.
8. Punch three punctures with a metal punch around the ring at intervals of 10, 2 and 6 o'clock on the circle.
9. Drill holes in the ring at the puncture locations.
10. Put silver rivet material in each hole, creating a ring for the chain to hang from the back side of the rivet. This is made by bending the back side of the wire, curling with needle-nose pliers and cutting where the shape will form a nice loop.
Middle Silver Circle
11. Form a silver circle in the same way as the first circle. Solder and hammer flat.
12. Cut beaded silver wire the dimensions of the outside perimeter of the silver circle. Cut another piece of beaded silver wire the dimensions of the inner perimeter.
13. Flatten each beaded ring by hammering it with a flat hammer against an anvil. Apply flux to the ends and solder the beaded rings into the circles.
14. Arrange the small beaded ring inside the solid silver circle. Arrange the large beaded ring around the outside of the solid silver circle. Apply flux to the metal and solder the three pieces together.
15. Flatten a piece of solid silver into a thick bead. Apply flux to the upper edge of the inner beaded circle and solder the solid silver bead to the beaded circle.
16. Place the piece in pickle solution to remove fire scale. Polish with both polishing wheels.
17. Punch a hole at the top and bottom of the piece and drill.
18. Place silver rivet material in each hole and form a ring in each hole using pliers.
Bottom Turquoise Spiral
19. Snip silver wire and form it into a spiral shape using pliers.
20. Wire the spiral around a doughnut-shaped turquoise stone, holding it in place through the center hole.
Assemble the necklace
21. Connect each piece with silver jump-rings: top, middle, followed by the bottom.
22. Connect the chain to the two rivets on the top circle.
23. Forge a clasp with 16-gauge wire into an 'S' hook, beaded at one end.
24. Connect the clasp, finishing the closure of the necklace.
Willa Wirth, Portland, Maine