I had some time left over in the jewelry studio today and I decided to take some photos for a tutorial on how to make a simple pair of earrings with french wires.
Basic soldering equipment (torch, pickle, etc)
Round nose pliers
Chain nose pliers
2 2″ pieces of 21 or 22g sterling silver wire
2 3″ pieces of 26g sterling silver wire (or wire that will fit through your briolettes)
Part I – Make the Earwires
1) Hold one of the 21 or 22g pieces of silver with interlocking tweezers and dip one end in flux.
2) Holding your torch to the fluxed end of the silver, melt a bit of the silver to make a small ball (sorry for the poor quality image).
3) Using the narrowest end of your round nose pliers, hold the silver wire directly under the silver ball.
4) Bend the ball backwards to make a small curl.
5) At the top of your small loop, hold your earwire with the widest part of your round nose pliers.
6) Wrap the wire around the pliers to create a larger loop. This will be the curve that sits in the ear.
7) Create a small “dent” in the straight part of the wire using the middle part of your pliers.
8) Using your snips, cut off the end of the wire. I just eyeballed it. File the snipped end smooth.
9) Put the earwire in pickle then give it a quick polish using the method of your choice.
Part II – Wire-wrapping your stones
1) Thread your 26g wire through your briolette.
2) Bend both ends of the wire up against the top of the briolette.
3) Wrap the right end of the wire (short) around the left end (long) once or twice. Snip the end as close to the rest of the wire as you can and use your chain nose pliers to flatten it against the wrap.
4) Grip the wire at the top of the wire wrap with your round nose pliers and bend back at a 90 degree angle.
5) Bend the wire around the pliers to make a loop (sorry for the poor quality image).
6) Holding the loop firmly with your chain nose pliers (not shown), wrap your wire several times around the base of the loop. Use your snips to trim the excess wire.
Part III – Finish the Earring
1) Attach your wire-wrapped briolette to the earwire by “threading” it through the end that’s not curled. Open the curl slightly so the briolette will fit in the small loop.
2) Close the small loop to secure the briolette and repeat this process for the second earring. Put on your lovely new earrings!