Double-Duty Jewelry Design: Leaves and Beads Pendants by Bill Fretz

Explore jewelry design development by making two different brass pendants from the same start

By Bill Fretz

Designing a line of jewelry is about finding a theme. In this exercise, we’ll explore using a jewelry design concept in different ways to form two pendants.

Each design starts with a basic freeform leaf. One interprets this form as a bulbous fluted bead, the other as a single-sided element with variously shaped beads at the top. The difference between the pendant units is that one piece is single sided, and the other is folded over to form a large, hollow bead. The necklaces we will explore will use the same techniques, and will end as different but still related jewelry designs.

Flat, concave, and convex areas of the pieces are formed on different stakes and using different hammers that make up the basic vocabulary of metal forming. One piece drapes over a strand of beads, while the other adds bead elements at the top. One is an enhancer, while the other is a pendant. They relate to each other by shape and texture.

jewelry design: Leaves and Beads by Bill Fretz

Leaves and Beads by Bill Fretz


Beginner metalsmithing, including hand sawing and annealing


  • Brass sheet (fold over pendant), 5½”x2′, 18 gauge
  • Brass sheet (single sided pendant), 4″x2″, 18 gauge
  • 1/2″ brass tubing, or 40mmx11mm, 18 gauge brass sheet
  • 3-7/8″ pure silver circles, 18 gauge
  • 1/2″ brass tubing or 40mmx11mm brass sheet
  • Hard silver solder
  • Thin leather cord
  • 8mm beads


Fretz Tools

H-1L holder, F-7 thin shell stake, M-119 large spoon stake, M-113A beginning fluting stake, M-113B finishing fluting stake, HMR-1 planishing hammer, HMR-3 narrow raising hammer, HMR-7 insert hammer, HMR-9 rounded wide hammer

General Tools

Pencil and paper, dapping block and punches, circle cutters, jeweler’s saw and 2/0 saw blades, pine wood 7-1/2″ x 10″ x 3/4″ and c clamp or a bench bin, leather sandbag, annealing pan, soldering and annealing torch, hard silver solder, solder tweezers, solder pick, charcoal block, ball pein hammer, leather pendant cord, block of wood at least 1-1/2″ thick x 1/4″ and 3/8″ drill bits with power drill, Sharpie marker

See inside the September/October issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist in our Lookbook! Ready to make this design? Get the kit!

BILL FRETZ, from Buckport, Maine, began to develop his line of jeweler’s tools in 2001, including miniature stakes and a line of new jeweler’s and silversmithing hammers. He is a graduate of the School for American Craftsmen, Rochester Institute of Technology. More of his work can be seen at

Learn more about this jewelry design and many others in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist!



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