How to Make Stylish Silver and Gold Earrings
Materials and Tools:
18K green gold
14K yellow gold
mild acid solution
jeweler's saw frame
- Start with a flat sheet of fine silver metal. Anneal or soften (so that it can accept a texture) using a torch to heat the metal.
- Place the metal in a pickle, which is a heated mild acid solution, to remove fire scale and clean the metal.
- Texture the fine silver in a rolling mill using a process called embossing. This gives the triangular bottoms of the silver earrings a textured rusty steel look. The finished product at this point is a flat sheet of textured metal.
- Cut out the exterior triangle shape using a jeweler's saw frame, a small saw used for cutting metal. For the interior triangle: Use a center punch to create a dimple in the metal for a drill bit to follow; then drill a small hole using a flexible shaft. Insert the blade of the jeweler's saw frame in the hole and cut.
- File the interior triangular hole and the outside of the triangle using a half-round needle file for the inside and a large 6-inch half-round ring file for the outside.
- Punch out the donut shape that serves as the top of the earring from a plain sheet of fine silver using a disc cutter and hammer.
- Add various high karat colored golds as accent shapes on the earrings. Start with a very thin sheet of gold metal, a jeweler's saw frame, disc cutter and metal shears to cut out small shapes of gold.
- File these small pieces of gold with a needle file. The gold accent pieces are now ready to be soldered to the silver.
- Add flux to the backs of the gold accent pieces, which will help the solder to flow. Solder the accent pieces onto the triangle and the silver earring top using a propane and oxygen torch, flux and silver solder.
- Place the earring tops and bottoms in the heated pickle to clean.
- Cut gold tubing to act as a hinge on the earrings. Measure the tubing with a millimeter gauge and mark with a permanent black marker. Cut it using a jeweler's saw frame and a tubing jig.
- Remove the clean earring parts from the pickle. File a notch for the tubing and solder it onto all four of the earring pieces. Sand the pieces flush to the surface of the metal using a sanding disc in a hand-held micro motor.
- Measure and mark the back of the earring tops. Solder a gold post onto both of the tops and place in the pickle for cleaning.
- While the tops of the earrings are in the pickle, form the curved three-dimensional shape of the triangular earring bottoms by hammering the shapes in a wooden dapping block, using a wooden dap and a rawhide mallet.
- Sand the tops and bottoms of the earrings with a micro motor and a roll of sandpaper to smooth off any rough edges.
- Connect the shapes with a gold jump ring, using pliers to close the jump rings. Solder the gold jump rings closed and place them in the pickle for a final cleaning.
- Smooth the solder on the gold jump rings using a rubber wheel in the micro motor as a final finishing step. Apply a soft matte finish to the surface using a glass bead blaster.
Gretchen McLaren, Raleigh, N.C.
Web site: metalformsstudio.com