May 20, 2012

YOJ Week 20: Leaf Shape Earrings

Another week and another pair of earrings.  The most interesting aspect of these earrings is probably the material they are made of.  The wire is sterling silver filled wire, which is fairly new to the market.  Introducing sterling silver filled wire is definitely a response by manufacturers to the consistent rise in the cost of precious metals.  I used gold filled wire regularly and my initial impression of silver-filled is very positive.
Making the earrings match (like always) was the hardest part.  First, I made both of the armatures (shapes) at the same time.  The basic shape was formed by
pinching the wire in the middle and then gently coaxing the shape with my fingers around a ring mandrel.  Once the the basic shape was formed, I had to remember to make the wire wraps at the closure opposite so the earrings were mirror images.  I worked the design on the first earring, then I lined them up together and marked the spots to wrap the wire using a sharpie.  That was my general guide on where to wrap.  I also shaped both of the ear wires at the same time, which is a big help.  I wanted the inside beads to stay in one place, but was having difficulty getting them not to move at all, so I decided it was fine if they have a bit of movement.  The earrings still feel balanced without being fully symmetrical.
Material-wise, the earrings are made using sterling silver filled 20g wire on the frame and 26g silver filled wire for the beads.  They are antiqued with liver of sulphur and then polished with a sunshine cloth.

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