Single-Strand Necklace and Earring Set with Swarovski Crystal Beads and Wirework

Sterling silver wires and findings gain their rightful place in metalworking as you manipulate, form and accent a twisted wire pendant with chain and Swarovski crystal in holiday colors.

Forming the Frame

Using memory wire shears, cut two 7-inch lengths of 18-gauge sterling silver dead soft wire.

Tip: Using memory wire shears will give you a flush cut.

Hint: While you have measuring and cutting tools on hand, measure and cut a few more for future frames.
Place the two wires, 3 inches from one end, into a table vise with protected jaws (i.e. rubber jaws, or thin copper sheets formed to protect wire from the vise's steel jaws). Tighten the jaws so the wire is secure.

Using Vetrap wrap or painter's tape, wrap about 1-1/2 inches of the wire on the other end, then place the ends into the grip of the wire twister. Twist the wire to achieve 5 to 6 twists per inch so the twisted section equals about 2-1/2 to 3 inches.

The wire in the jaws of the vise (about 2-1/2 to 3 inches) and in the jaws of the wire twister (about 1-1/2 inches) remain straight; these sections will be used later to form wire ribbons on the frame.
Shape the wire around a ring mandrel at the size-16 mark, or use a 1-inch diameter wood dowel or similar sized round shaping mandrel.
Using a pair of chain-nose or flat-nose pliers, make a 90-degree bend where the wire changes from twisted to straight. Repeat, bending the two straight wires on the other side of the frame.

Place the twisted wire frame on a steel bench block or flat surface and lightly strike with a rawhide or plastic mallet to lay the frame flat and to work-harden the wires.

Tip: When handling the twisted wire frame and moving ribbon wires, use nylon jaw pliers so as not to mark the metal.

Cut a 12-inch length of 24-gauge sterling silver wire. Bring the wire ends of the frame together. Place the 24-gauge wire so 1-inch is inside the frame and centered between the wires.
Using nylon-jaw pliers, grip all the wires. Starting at the top of the wires and working toward the frame, wrap the 24-gauge wire around all the wires.

Once the gathered wires are stable and the wrap secure, use pointy flush-cutters to trim the 1-inch lead wire close to the wraps.

Continue to wrap the remainder of the 24-gauge wire toward the interior of the frame; tuck the end inside the wraps.

Forming the Bails and Wire Ribbons

Separate the four frame wires at the top. These wires need not be the exact same size.

Trim the shortest wire down to 1/2 inch. Use half-round half-flat forming pliers to shape a large simple loop.

Using the wire next in length, use the half-round half-flat pliers to form a ribbon. Bring it forward so it is in front of the frame. End the wire as a closed loop large enough to hold the ring that the center briolette will dangle from.

Using the length of wire next in line, form a loose ribbon and bring it to the back of the frame. End it with a closed loop that lands directly behind the loop made in the previous ribbon, and large enough to hold a jumpring with cascading chain and crystal dangles.

To give dimension to the last ribbon to be formed, place the end of the longest wire onto a bench block. Using a ball peen hammer, hit the end (about 1/4 inch) of the wire to slightly flatten it.

File the wire end if it's sharp. Use a polishing cloth wherever you hammered to bring back the shine.

Using forming pliers, form the entire wire as a corkscrew shaped ribbon and have it "drape" to the side of the frame. The end can be finished however you like. It is not intended to have a dangle hanging from it so does not need to be closed like the other ribbons.

Oxidizing the Frame and Ribbon

Antique the frame with Liver of Sulfur or Patina Gel.
Use a tumbler with stainless steel shot to polish out the liver of sulfur and bring a shine to the antiqued frame.

Creating and Adding the Cascading Dangles

Place the crystals where you would like.

Cut eight to nine pieces of 2.5mm rolo chain in varying lengths ranging from 2-1/2 inches to 1-1/2 inches. Use 5mm 20-gauge jumprings to add briolette and rivoli pendants along the lengths of chain in the order you wish.


Create a Single-Crocheted Wire Chain of Rose Montées

Cut 12 inches of 30-gauge sterling silver dead soft wire. Using a #6 crochet hook, single crochet a length of chain, working assorted colors of 3.2mm rose montées into the single crochet stitches.
Bring all chain ends and crocheted wire dangles (if you made any) together, then thread one end of each onto a 6mm 18-gauge jumpring. Add the jumpring to the closed ring of the ribbon at the back of the frame; close the jumpring securely.

Gather the cascading dangles and gently push them from the back of the frame to the front of the frame.
Thread a 5mm 20-gauge jumpring through a 13x16.5mm briolette and add that to the closed ring of the ribbon at the front of the frame.
Add a 6mm 18-gauge jumpring to the bail of the frame; close securely. Thread the necklace cord or chain through the jumpring.

For a Pair of Earrings:

Repeat all the Steps, making two at each Step. Take time to give attention to forming the wire ribbons on opposite sides (as with a mirror image) for spectacular Holiday Cascade Earrings that frame the face beautifully.

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