How to Make a Silver and Turquoise Pendant Necklace

Employ metalsmithing and jewelry-making techniques to create this beautiful silver and turquoise necklace.


Materials and Tools:

silver sheet
masking tape
Stanley knife
permanent black marker
bezel wire
extra hard solder
medium solder
Batterns flux
turquoise stone
scrap silver
charcoal block
jump ring
thick silver wire
3M bristle discs
polishing compounds


1. Anneal and flatten silver sheet. Stamp sheet if you have a personalized ring stamp (optional).

2. Using a medium torch tip and, firing in a circular motion, heat the metal strip until the silver turns dark cherry red. Let the silver cool completely (about 5 minutes). Flatten evenly between bench blocks. Pickle for a few minutes.

3. To make the bezel: Cut a thin strip of masking tape with the Stanley knife, slightly longer than would fit around the stone. Fit strip around the stone and mark where the ends meet. Cut tape at that mark. Adhere tape to bezel wire. Cut wire with bezel sheers at the end of the tape, being sure that the cut is as vertically straight as possible. Close the two ends of the wire, creating tension by extending them past each other up, and down, until the ends hold together evenly on their own. Secure the seam by pressing firmly with flat-nosed pliers.

4. Solder the seam using extra hard solder and Batterns flux, placing the solder under the bezel at the seam and using indirect heat. Quench in water. Smooth bezel by fitting it tightly over the mandrel and rolling it out. Remove bezel from mandrel and fit over stone. Make any necessary adjustments.

5. To solder the bezel onto the back plate: Brush sheet with Grifflux and place bezel wire in desired position onto sheet. Fire using medium tip until flux bubbles. Arrange pieces of hard solder around inside of bezel along seam. Fire in circular motion. If solder bubbles and jumps, stop firing and fix solder into place. Fire when ready until solder flows evenly.

6. To make the balls: Arrange small pieces of scrap silver on charcoal block. Fire under direct heat until pieces pop into balls. Experiment with different amounts of silver to achieve desired size.

7. To solder jump ring and balls onto bezel: Brush bezel sheet with Grifflux. Arrange a closed jump ring at the top of the bezel where it will eventually hang as a pendant. Fire until it bubbles. With tweezers, quickly move the ring back to its original spot if it jumped away. Cut small pieces of medium solder and arrange them around the jump ring with flux brush and tweezers. Torch until solder flows. Quench and dry. Pickle if silver looks dirty.

8. Dry completely, then brush with more Grifflux. Arrange two balls, one on either side of the jump ring, lying against the bezel. Repeat firing and soldering steps. Quench and pickle.

9. Using plate sheers, cut out the bezel as closely as possible. Using various hand files, file away excess silver. Drill a hole in the jump ring and file. If desired, create an open-back setting by drilling a hole in the middle of the bezel and then sawing away the backing, leaving a rim for the stone to sit on. File hole evenly.

10. Using the separating disc attachment, clean up any excess silver between the balls and jump ring. Using silicone abrasive attachments, smooth out the edges.

11. To make the pendant rod: Cut a piece of the thick wire to a desired length for the suspension of the pendant. File the ends straight. Brush with Grifflux and place a closed jump ring on both sides of the rod as well as the middle for the pendant to hang. Fire until it bubbles and move pieces back into place with tweezers if they jump. Place a small piece of hard solder on the joints with a flux brush and heat until soldered. Quench.

12. Brush rod with Grifflux and place ball in middle of the rod, above the middle jump ring. Fire. Brush a minuscule piece of medium solder into place. Solder ball onto rod. Quench and pickle.

13. Make the chain links. Cut thick wire into desired lengths for chain, making sure that pairs of rods are even. File ends straight. Solder jump rings onto both sides of each piece, as above. Quench and pickle them.

14. To polish silver pieces: Using the matting brush and the flexible shaft, go over all the separate pieces until you've achieved the desired matte finish. If a shiny finish is preferred, polish silver using 3M bristle discs over polishing compounds.

15. To set the stone: Place stone into bezel. If bezel comes up higher than the stone itself, even it out on sandpaper. Press bezel firmly around stone, alternating with burnisher and bezel pusher until completely secure.

16. Attach components: Using flat-nosed pliers, attach all the pieces together with jump rings, including clasp.

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