Specialized Silversmithing Skills: How to Make a Brooch Pin Catch

I’ve said it before–I absolutely LOVE this time of year. I find myself singing Christmas carols all the time, and I don’t mind making up the words when I don’t know the right ones. I made up my own little version of the Rudolph song this morning when I was thinking about jewelry making: “You know hammering and dapping and doming and filing, soldering and texturing and hammering and firing . . . but wouldn’t you like to knooowww . . . how to make a pin catch for a brooooch?”

Cute, right? A song that fabulous (ha!) could only be inspired by an equally fabulous book–Silversmithing for Jewelry Makers in this case. It has become my go-to resource for information on silversmithing techniques that I haven’t yet learned but want to do–including chasing and repoussé and sand casting. I also wanted to learn how to create a brooch pin catch so that I can turn any pretty little found object (or metal creation) into a brooch, and voila! There it was . . . and here it is!

Tools and Materials

tube cutter
12-gauge (2.0mm o/d) sterling silver tube
flat-nose, snipe-nose, and parallel pliers
18-gauge (1.0mm) round sterling silver wire
hard and medium silver solder
small silver jump ring
20-gauge (0.8mm) round stainless-steel wire
hand file, cut 2
piercing saw
emery board


1. Using a tube cutter and piercing saw, cut a short length of 12-gauge (2.0mm) tube. Holding the tube end-to-end in parallel pliers, file a small flat area along the length of the tube.

2. Clean, degrease, and flux the reverse side of the brooch. Place the tube flat side down and place small pieces of hard solder in position. Solder the tube to the brooch.

3. To form the catch, cut a length of 18-gauge (1.0mm) round silver wire and file one end flat. To give a larger surface area to attach the wire to the brooch, solder a very small jump ring to the filed end using hard silver solder. Check and mark the position for the catch on the reverse of the brooch, then solder the jump ring and wire in place using medium silver solder.

4. After pickling, use parallel pliers to twist the length of wire to work harden it.

5. Cut the wire, leaving it long enough to form into a catch, and file the end. Use round-nose pliers to curl it down and create the catch.
6. Use flat-nosed pliers to make a 90-degree bend in a length of 20-gauge (0.8mm) round stainless-steel wire. Place the short end through the tube; then, using the flat-nose pliers, bend it twice to form a triangle and bend the end of the wire down toward the back of the brooch causing the pin to lift up. Cut the pin to length so that there is enough wire to hold the pin securely in the catch. File the end of the pin to a point using a hand file and then sand it smooth.

Ready to expand your metalsmithing skills with specialized silversmithing techniques? Want to learn cool advanced jewelry-making techniques like chasing and repoussé, raising, etching and engraving, sand and cuttlefish casting, and stone setting? The fabulous new Silversmithing for Jewelry Makers book by Elizabeth Bone will show you how to do all of those advanced silversmithing techniques and more, including the basic metalsmithing skills (such as sawing, soldering, and finishing metal jewelry) that you need to know first. It’s a must-have learning tool for beginning and intermediate jewelry makers–and a handy little refresher reference for experienced ones.






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