Your First Metalsmithing Project: Create Textured Copper Earrings
|Tammy Jones is the
editor of Jewelry Making Daily.
My first metalsmithing lesson resulted in these handmade textured copper earrings. My friend and teacher, metalsmith Lexi Erickson, taught me how to saw and then set me loose, helping me quickly turn a piece of sheet metal into two pairs of one-of-a-kind earrings in just a few steps. (As a newbie, she wisely started me on less-expensive copper, but the same process can be applied to silver or other metals.)
Here's how you can make your own handmade textured earrings:
Tools and Materials
20-gauge copper sheet metal
jeweler's saw with 4/0 blades
bench pin sawing setup
medium tooth #2 file
flex shaft with polishing wheel, drill bit
hammer and awl or nail punch
2 pairs of ear wires
Lexi taught me so many wonderful things in just two days, I could hardly learn fast enough! Between taking notes, taking photos, and actually making jewelry, it was impossible to remember everything she shared. So now, whenever I have a question about something she taught me and I can't reach her, I rely on my backup all-knowing jewelry resource, Anastasia Young's Workbench Guide to Jewelry Techniques. It's the most complete jewelry-making book I've ever seen, and so far I've found every answer I've sought in it.
In addition to nearly 100 pages of jewelry history, a gallery of design inspiration, work space and jewelry-making tool information, reference guides covering everything from gemstone types and shapes to conversion tables and measurements, a jeweler's glossary, and information for selling and photographing your jewelry . . . in addition to all of that, there's nearly 200 pages of jewelry-making techniques.
The techniques section covers everything an aspiring or experienced metalsmith should know. Presented through step-by-step instructions and photographs are jewelry-making techniques such as sawing and filing, piercing and embossing, soldering, creating patinas and textures, etching and carving, making clasps and findings, casting and mold making, chain making, gemstone setting, bezel making, stringing and knotting—even inlay, fold forming, and enameling! No bench or jewelry studio is complete without this incredibly thorough educational resource, so don't hesitate to get your copy of The Workbench Guide to Jewelry Techniques!