This week I decided to try something new:  jewelry tutorials.  I had a particular design in my head, So I took my trusty camera to the studio so I could photograph each step of the process in making them.

When I got home and viewed the photos, I realized I’d need to bring a better camera if I was going to continue doing this. For now, however, I present to you:

Sterling Silver Circle Earrings with Golden Tourmaline

Skill level:  Beginner (requires basic soldering knowledge)

Materials

2 gemstone briolette beads (I used tourmaline)
5 inches sterling silver round wire, gauge to be determined by size of hole in briolettes.  For my project, I used 26g wire.
2 sterling silver jump rings
2 sterling silver leverbacks with split loop
Silver solder

Tools

Soldering equipment – third hand, flux, paint brush, soldering block, torch, pickle (not pictured)
An object to use as a mandrel (I used a metal punch)
Pliers to hold and shape as needed
Wire clippers

Making the Earrings

1)  Wind your wire around the object you want to use as a mandrel several times

You’ll end up with a spring-like piece of wire like this:

2)  Clip the wire to make individual circles, similar to the way you would cut jump rings.

3)  Slip one of your briolettes onto a circle

4)  Make sure the ends of the circle are touching, and lay it on the solder block.  Using your brush, put some flux on the closed end. Put some flux on a small piece of silver solder, then lay it on top of the closed ends of your circle. 

5)  Carefully solder the ends of the circle closed using a small flame.  Keep the heat as far away from your stone as possible.

6)  Next, you’ll solder the jump ring on using the same solder you used to close the ends (again, use a small flame):

7)  Put it in the pickle.

8)  Using the emery stick or emery paper, smooth the area you soldered, being careful not to scratch your stone.

9)  Polish your work

10)  Your finished component will look something like this:

11)  To finish your earring, open the loop on the leverback carefully, the same way you would with a jump ring.  Attach your component and close the loop.

12)  Repeat process for second earring.

13)  Put earrings on and enjoy!

If you make these earrings, send me a photo and I’ll post it in the gallery.

All material copyright 2007 by Holly West.  The design demonstrated in this tutorial is for personal use only.  Please do not copy the design for re-sale.

5 Replies to “Sterling Silver Circle Earrings with Golden Tourmaline”

  1. Antoinette says: January 24, 2007 at 8:23 am

    That was really interesting. I enjoyed seeing all the steps. I don’t think my jewelry making will ever get to the welding step though. I’ll stick with wire wrapping. I love the golden Tourmaile. Have you seen orange sapphires yet? Levin is doing some pieces with them. Cost a fortune, but man! They are beautiful!

  2. Holly says: January 24, 2007 at 8:29 am

    I think you could easily modify this design to use wire wrapping instead of soldering.
    I have seen orange sapphires, and yes, they are gorgeous!

  3. Jessica Schope says: June 18, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Just thought I’d introduce myself — I’ve been following your blog for awhile now, and I just love it! I have a blog with tips for selling on Etsy, if you’d like to check it out.

  4. Lisa Greenburg says: August 18, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    I am so happy to have found your tutorial! I have always wanted to do this but didn’t think the gemstone would be able to handle it.
    Thank you!
    Keep up the wonderful lessons!
    Lisa
    north hollywood

  5. Christa Jansen says: September 10, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    I’ve been wanting to do this kind of thing -a gemstone bead on a soldered ring – and wondered how it was done without wrecking the stone. Thanks for posting this! Do you have any tips for protecting the stone, or do you just need to keep the flame really small and concentrate it on the joint?

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