Topics: Briolettes, Wire Wrapping

Q.
I purchased from Fire Mountain a string of tourmaline briolettes with the holes cut at the top. I want to attach them to a gold filled chain (like a string of fish) for earrings. The problem is the holes are much too small to attach with head pins. I have the 26 gauge gold-filled wire from your catalog--but in a dilemma to get the half-hard or full-hard through to make the twisted loop attachment?
- Pam
A.
A fine gauge wire can easily kink, making it difficult for the wire to go through the drill hole. By pulling the wire through the closed jaws of nylon jaw pliers you can straighten out the wire and remove most kinks. Once the wire is free of kinks, use a pair of wire cutters to cut a fresh end at a diagonal. This will refine the end into a thinner point, like a needle, making it more likely to pass through the drill hole on the briolettes.

You may still need a finer gauge wire. Finer sterling silver round wire ranges from 28- to 34-gauge in half-hard temper, which has just enough spring to help you form the loop and the wrap, yet remains flexible enough to reshape as you go, if necessary. (Full-hard wire would make it challenging to reshape the wire once you begin forming the loop and is therefore not recommended for this application.) Even though sterling silver doesn't match the gold-filled chain you have selected, bi-color or bi-metal designs are very fashionable and using both colors in your design will complement the tourmaline briolettes nicely.

Zebra Wire™ has the finer 28- and 30-gauges in a variety of colors which would complement the gold-filled chain, and Wrapit® wire has 28-gauge, dead-soft in two colors: nickel silver and jeweler's bronze. Each of these brands of wire are softer to work with so the loops will form easily, and by working the wire you will temper it enough that the shapes you form will hold.

- Sandra Lupo, Jewelry Designer and Instructor and Swarovski crystal Ambassador

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