Making jewelry is one of my most favorite guilty pleasures. In days which feel so long ago I use to sell my jewelry line to boutiques and taught advanced wire techniques at a little (OK not so little anymore) bead shop here in Seattle called FusionBeads. I made the jewelry for several high end designers as well and would dream about my own designs - it was one of the most fun times in my life I hope to get back to it too someday!
I love everything about the delicate process of wrapping wire and beautiful gemstones and although for the time being I have hung up my jewelry designer hat from time to time I like to get out my collection of stones and play.
I put together these really simple wire capped briolette drops this past weekend after coming across an entire box of gorgeous chrysophrase beads and wondered if any of you guys might like to learn a few jewelry making skills too - I thought it would be fun to start sharing them here this summer a "jewelry box" feature if you will. And for my first installment these simple briolette drop earrings...nice and light and a perfect gift for yourself or a friend they take no time at all!
A few things before we get started though and first things first your tools. If you are someone looking to really invest and get started in the art of wire jewelry making and plan to use real gemstones and gold filled wire and such I totally suggest investing in a really good set of tools. I love Lindstrom round nose and chain nose pliers and can not live without my Tronex flush cutters. The lower end tools you find at craft stores are fine too but just know that you won't be able to get those tiny little loops you see on work like Dana Kellin's (one of my fav designers!).
Also when working with gold filled or sterling silver wire I suggest using dead soft for wire wrapping - it's a bit softer and has not been work hardened the same as the half hard wire which works best when you want to create a heavier hoop or teardrop. The wire I buy most often is 26 gauge dead soft for wire wrapping and 20 gauge half hard for creating wire frames...but really it's all up to you and what you might even have on hand.
To make the earrings you will need two matching briolette (a fancy term for top drilled) stones and two pieces of fine (26 or 28 gauge) wire about 9" each. I used 26/dead soft gold filled wire.
Slid one of the stones into the center of one of the pieces of wire and bring the "two legs" up and around the bead.
Using your fingers gently pinch down as close to the top of the stone and create a little triangle squeezing those legs of wire together.
Pinch the top of the wire just above the stone with the round nose pliers and bend the wire back the rotate your hand back by releasing your grip slightly and turning the pliers so that they are top to bottom on the wire instead of side to side.
Then push the wire up and around the pliers to create a question mark shape.
Next you will turn the stone over and pinch the question mark upside down continuing the circle through on the pliers.
Then wrap both legs of wire back down towards the top of the stone continuing over top of the stone creating an organic looking bead cap with the wire. Once you get to the desired spot simple trim the excess wire with your flush cutters and use the chain nose pliers to tuck the wire into the back of the bead.
Hang them on a pair of earring wires and repeat on the second bead.
Let me know if you have any questions - and if there is a specific wire technique you have always wanted to learn let me know too I might be able to help!
Thanks for letting me share today I hope you have a wonderful week friends!!