Make a Sterling Silver Riveted Necklace
Channel your inner metal worker to create this conversation-starting jewelry piece.
Jewelry designer and metalsmith Lisa Crowder of Austin, Texas, shows how to create a riveted necklace using sterling silver wire.
- 12-, 16-, 18-, 20- and 22-gauge sterling silver wire (925)
- 26-gauge sterling silver sheet (925)
- silver solder
- wood dowel
- jeweler's saw
- round-nose pliers
- flat-nose pliers
- flush-cut pliers
- flex shaft
- oxyacetylene torch
- pickle and hot-pickle pot
- liver of sulphur patina solution
- buffing wheels
- drill bits
- plastic mallet
- ball peen hammer
- steel bench block
- wood bench pin
- 320- and 400-grit wet/dry sandpaper
- 2/0 saw blades
- black fine-point permanent marker
- disc cutter
- center punch
- chasing hammer
- circle template
- needle files
- rivet hammer
- wire shear
- soldering block
- steel soldering pick
- soldering tweezers
- 4/0 steel wool
- boiling water
1. Cut two 4-inch pieces of 12-gauge silver wire. Anneal the wire with the oxyacetylene torch. Place the wires into the pickle. Rinse and dry.
2. Flatten the wire by hammering it on a steel bench block with the flat side of a large ball peen hammer.
3. Once sufficiently flattened, trim the ends with flush cutters to make both bars the same length.
4. Measure where the riveted 3/8-inch discs will be placed on the bars and mark with a permanent marker.
5. Center punch the bar at the marks and drill holes using the flex shaft and appropriate drill bit.
6. For the bottom bar, mark where the four dangles will be placed. Center punch and drill.
7. Punch out six 3/8-inch discs from 26-gauge silver using a small chasing hammer and a disc cutter.
8. Once the discs are cut, sand both sides using 320-grit first and then 400-grit.
9. Using a circle template, mark the centers of the six discs. Center punch and drill.
10. Cut a 6-inch piece of 18-gauge silver wire to use for rivets.
11. Take the top bar and thread the 18-gauge wire through one hole, then through one of the discs.
12. Using a rivet hammer, hammer the tiny piece of wire on one side gently and flip the piece over and hammer the other end. Continue to flip and hammer until the rivet is flattened on both sides fairly evenly and the disc is secure. Repeat for all six discs.
13. To make the dangles, cut 14 pieces of 18-gauge wire 1-1/2 inches in length. Curl each end with round-nose pliers in opposite directions to create an "S" shape.
14. Using fine needle-nose pliers, grab at the back and inside of the loop and bend it back to create a sharp angle. Repeat on all 18 links.
15. Wrap four wires with 22-gauge wire tightly. These will act as the dangles.
16. Wrap a long piece of 20-gauge wire around a wooden dowel multiple times to create jump rings. You will need 20 rings.
17. Cut each ring while still wound around the dowel with a jeweler's saw. You can cut into the dowel. Use two pairs of needle-nose pliers to line up the seams. Place the rings into the pickle for a few minutes to clean them. Remove from the pickle, rinse and dry.
18. Place the rings on a soldering block and flux the seams. Cut solder into tiny pieces, dip each piece in flux and place one piece on each seam.
19. Using the torch, heat each ring evenly until solder flows. Let cool. Pickle, rinse and dry.
20. Using the links you have already created, minus four, open the ends of the links and connect them with a ring in between each to create two seven-link chains.
21. Cut four 3-inch pieces of 18-gauge wire to create spirals. Make a small half loop with the very tip of round-nose pliers.
22. Using needle-nose pliers place the half loop flat in the back of the pliers and roll. Continue to roll in small increments to create a tight spiral.
23. Stop spiraling about 3/4 inches from the end of the wire and bend a 90-degree angle in the wire.
24. Hammer the spiral flat on a steel bench block with a ball peen hammer. Hammer both sides to desired flatness. Turn a loop in the remaining wire and connect to a ring. Repeat for the remaining three spirals.
25. Attach each to a wrapped bar. Attach each wrapped bar to the bottom bar of the necklace.
26. Mark two more spots on the bottom bar on either side of the outer wrapped bars. Center punch and drill.
27. On the top bar, mark two corresponding marks. Center punch and drill.
28. Cut two 1/2-inch pieces of 18-gauge wire to create two more links. Repeat the steps above for chain links. Attach the top and bottom bars together with these two short links.
29. On the top bar, mark, center punch and drill two more spots on the ends of the bar.
30. Thread a jump ring through each hole. Add the end of the chain into the jump ring on each side. Solder each ring. Pickle, rinse and dry.
31. Cut a 4-inch piece of 16-gauge wire. Using a third arm, ball each end of the wire using the torch. Let cool. Pickle, rinse and dry.
32. Using round-nose pliers, grab the wire just past the ball on one end and turn a half loop. Continue holding the wire with the pliers while coiling the other end of the wire using your hand.
33. Hammer with a ball peen hammer on a steel bench block. This will serve as the clasp.
34. Using almost boiling water, dissolve a small piece of liver of sulphur in a heat-proof dish.
35. Immerse the entire piece in the sulphur solution until the piece has darkened completely. Remove, rinse and dry. Dry the silver necklace for a few hours or overnight.
36. Scrub the black off the high surfaces with fine steel wool. Black should remain in the recesses. Use a rotary buffing wheel with the flex shaft to remove black from the fronts and backs of the hammered bars with the riveted discs.