Cool Links, Hot Chain, Fan Maille and Other Jewelry Making Projects from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist
Here’s a go-to piece of jewelry if ever I saw one, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Karen Lauseng created this casually chic bracelet design with linked panels for herself, and says it’s one of her favorite pieces. Her daughter-in-law also loved the bracelet’s look of riveted, hammer textured, patinated, patterned, and mixed metal, so Karen gave the first bracelet to her. But she missed it, so Karen made another one for herself. And then she made a few more versions to perfect the design just so she could write up a jewelry making project for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. Is that sweet or what?
ABOVE: Karen J. Lauseng’s cold-connected Cool Links bracelet originally appeared in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist March/April 2019; photo: Jim Lawson.
“Ideal for casual as well as more dressy occasions, it is really comfy and fun to wear, and I have received many compliments on it,” Karen tells us about this special bracelet. And it’s easier than it looks. “The mokumé gané sheet metal used for this project was purchased ready-made,” she explains. “The project is easy to make, requires minimal metalsmithing experience, and can be fabricated without a torch and very few tools — perfect for all skill levels.”
Solder Chain to Make Your Own Fancy Wire Stock
If you prefer firing up the torch and seeing that big flame come whooshing out when you make jewelry, you should check out Betsy Lehndorff’s interesting use of commercially made chain. Picking out her chain carefully, Betsy lays out multiple lengths side by side, then solders them together. She’s looking for chain that not only appeals to her aesthetically, but that will also work for this technique. “Avoid rhodium-plated and hollow sterling silver,” she cautions. “The plating will prevent solder from sticking, and hollow links will pop.”
The result? Now she has lengths of decorative wire she can form into rings, bracelets, and more. Learn to create your own fancy wire and see how Betsy used hers in several pieces, then use yours in whatever jewelry design you want.
Fan Maille: Perfectly Shaped Chain Maille Earrings
The best jewelry designs look their best when worn — easier said than remembered, it seems. I don’t know how many pairs of earrings I’ve seen in a case or hanging from a rack, even tried them on, only to get them home and decide, eh, these really don’t look that great. They get in the way of my clothes or hair, hang too low or not low enough, face the wrong way . . . Whatever the problem is, they don’t get worn very much. Kylie Jones’s fan-shaped earrings in chain maille and peridot (or bead of your choice) are just right. They fit along your neck as if they’d grown there below your ears. Nestled in that space, they move enough to be noticed but not so much they go flying around your face.
Fast, Cold, Stunning Neckpiece
Here’s another easy metal jewelry making project. Denise Peck created this lariat with steel wire formed into a few artfully arranged coils with the use of a jig. With steel wire, she advises, “it’s always a good idea to steel wool it gently before using to clean it, and then seal the wire with Renaissance Wax.” Denise complemented that side of the piece with patinated manufactured copper chain, and brought it all together with a dynamite lampworked bead hanging at the bottom. Its spare but dramatic lines make the neckpiece a stand-out addition to whatever you’re wearing.
The “And Mores”
The projects above are all either worked cold, cold connected, wireworked, or all three, but that’s not what really sets them apart in my mind. I’m impressed with how cleverly they put these techniques to use, and how great the jewelry looks as a result. The projects are also all from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist March/April 2019, and now they’re all available as individual downloads.
Here are the other projects from the same issue, also available individually:
Merle White is Editor-in-Chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.
Get This Issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist
You can find all of these projects together in the Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist timeless March/April 2019 issue, along with Noël Yovovich’s point-by point-comparison of her simple and complex Long View pendant designs. You’ll also discover super new soldering aids, the fabulous jewelry program at Tucson Parks and Rec, secrets to making Google work for your jewelry business, and what makes crystal jewelry keep popping up in runway designs. Available as print and digital editions.
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