Back in 2008 for some reason, that I don’t recall, I started really getting into making Jewelry. It started off with a book on cold connecting, and I made a few projects from there and then I made some items of my own design.
Some basic skills were picked up – bending, riveting, sawing, etc… Definitely need a jeweler’s coping saw, bench pin, ball peen hammer, sand paper, vise, pliers set, and raw materials ( sheet metal, wire, tubing, etc.. ). I definitely recommend starting out on cheaper metals first – the first two rings were made of sterling silver but it would I would have probably gotten more practice if I had ordered some square stock of a cheaper metal – materials can get pretty expensive, especially if you don’t know what you need before hand. I did also have a dremel tool with a flex shaft attachment, which came in handy for polishing & sanding. Once you get a few pieces under your belt it can definitely be a fairly addictive activity, and my wife definitely loved getting new jewelry ( though most of it ended up in the jewelry box after a day or two ).
It was around Christmas time and I decided to make some necklaces for gifts. I wanted to make the whole necklace from scratch, which would mean making all the jump rings, and building the necklace. Since I didn’t have a torch at the time, the rings were not soldered, however they held up quite well. I made a jump ring making jig / tool out of a big headed nail. Basically you drill a hole in the nail head, and file a V slot in point on the head’s diameter. The wire is fed into the hole, and then over the slot to begin wrapping around the nail. I chucked up the nail in a hand drill, and with one hand on the trigger and the other holding the wire ( with a thick glove ), I proceed to run the drill such that the wire would wrap tightly around the nail forming many jump rings. Once done, I cut the wire close to the V slot, and slid the coil off the nail. To get the jump rings you have to carefully saw the coil down one side – it took some practice, but I was able to get pretty good at doing this after a short period of time. Pliers are used to close the rings and form the necklace.
* she really loved it, but I had luck keeping it from getting her hands dirty. I did try coating it with varnish, but it quickly rubbed off… If anyone has a good idea for coating copper jewelry for skin contact definitely let me know.
That has been the extent of my jewelry making efforts up to this point. Sometime I’d like to get back to it, possibly getting into soldering, gem setting, etc.. I also have experience with casting now, and would like to make a small coffee can furnace for casting jewelry…