Most of my creative energy lately has been spent on home improvement projects and not on jewelry making, so I promised myself that today I was Going To Have Fun and Make Some Jewelry.
In my mind I envisioned a beautiful simple silver necklace and some funky silver earrings with multiple circles. So I got out a piece of paper and my jewelry supplies and “designed” the earrings, with the intention of designing the necklace after the earrings were finished. Simple design, quick project completion – or so I thought.
My first attempt at the earrings used some 18 gauge scrap silver wire from a previous project, which I wrapped around the empty pill bottle from Ophy’s recent prescription to make a one inch diameter circle. Next I cut an inch and a half piece of oval silver chain (a splurge purchase from a few months ago), which I attached by one end to the earwire. Then I hammered the silver circle to give it texture, and slid the circle on to the first and last links of the chain.
Thinking to myself that I was pretty smart, I then starting wrapping 22 gauge wire around the two ends of the circle to join those ends together. The first attempt at wrapping failed miserably, as the ends kept popping apart and the 22 gauge wire ended up completely misshapen and unusable. So I discarded that wire (against my frugal Yankee nature) and tried again. And failed again.
By this time I was completely frustrated, and decided to try using a 3 mm silver plated bead to join the ends of the circle. I don’t own crimping pliers, and this wasn’t a crimp bead, so it was taking a chance to try to squish it together with my chain nose pliers. It didn’t work. In anger I took out my hammer and smashed the bead (something it’s not made to withstand, so it split a bit) – and surprisingly, the circle stayed together. Ugly, but secure, and now unusable for the earrings, since it wasn’t attached to the chain.
I failed similarly with my second attempt, and this time took to stretching and hammering the second circle until it was sort of a curlicue, albeit a distressing looking curlicue. What the heck, I thought to myself, and I joined these two failed attempts together to make a rather odd, misshapen pendant, which I’ll probably never wear (see below).
But now I’d figured out what I needed to do, and since I was out of scrap wire I switched to silver-filled wire, once again wrapping the wire around the old pill bottle, but this time overlapping the ends by approximately a centimeter. This allowed me to successfully wrap the smaller wire around the two ends of the circle.
Next I wrapped wire around a Sharpie to make a smaller circle, once again with overlapping ends, which I installed on the second and fifth links of the chain. I wrapped those ends to secure them, and one of the earrings was finished; I repeated the steps – not always easy to pull off for an amateur like me – and then had a complete pair of matching earrings.
They’re not beautiful, and I’m not sure how much I’ll actually wear them, but I did learn a lot through the process of making them. Obviously I need to do a lot more of this type of practice in order to get good enough to make jewelry that a) stays together and b) other people might want to wear. Click on the images below to enlarge, if you want to see the details of my less-than-perfect jewelry from today: