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July 18, 2013

Copper Forged Hoop Earrings - Before Tumbling

Well, I decided to make another pair of these heavy wire forged hoops - and this time, I took a few pictures during the process. I really like the first pair I made, and even figured out how to improve the ear wires, but I wanted round hoops this time.  I am still using 10g copper wire.  The first picture shows the ends hammered and the wire formed into a circle.  At this point, the wire is already hardening, so I annealed it for the first time.

This is a front view of the hoop in process.  Next, is a lot of hammering on the side of the hoop to get some beautiful texture and flatten the wire.  My hammering is improving with all of this practice and I am getting a little more skilled at being able to 'move' the wire to spread it and understand how to get hammer marks.

During the hammering process, I probably annealed the wire at least one more time.  Once I have the shape I want, I bent up the end for the hook and punched the holes.  This time, I followed the shape in the original tutorial from the Objects and Elements blog to see if I like the ear wire hook mechanism a little better.

From my last experience, I did learn a trick or two.  If you want the earrings to hook easier, make the hole on the back side of the earring by drilling from the inside of the wire to the outside i.e. from the side closest to your ear to the other side.  That is the opposite of how I did it last time.  The reason is that when you start drilling, it forms a divot on that side - and excess metal forms on the outside of the hole on the other side.  After filing, there is still a little bit of a raised area of metal around the hole.  I found that the raised area makes it more difficult for the ear wire to slip in the hole.  However, the indent and smooth surface of the other side make the ear wire naturally slide into the hole - making it much easier to hook the earring without twisting it or having to look in the mirror. Yay!  

I don't really use a drill to make my holes either - I used a screw hole punch like this one from EuroTool.  It makes two different size holes and is very easy to use.

The last picture is the earrings ready for the tumbler.  Remember how I said in my last post that they didn't look like much - they really don't.  Nice and rustic - but at this point, I still think 'eh'.

I will add some sterling ear wires before tumbling - and then I will take some more pictures.  I plan to patina these ones after tumbling too.


  1. This is so inspiring. But first I have to find my new hammer and bench block. Amazing how quickly things sift to the bottom of the midden.

    1. So true! I feel like I either spend more time looking for tools and supplies or cleaning up my workbench than I actually do making jewelry! I just got a new bench block too. My old one was wood with a steel top that was only about 1/4" thick, and they separated. The wood was nice because it dampened the sound a bit - but I love the solid heavy duty one now! I've also figured out how to use them together to evenly flatten paddles etc (a future post if I remember!)

  2. I think those are very cool, Lisa. Hoops seem to be very popular. Did you time yourself to see how long it took you to make them?

    I'm looking forward to seeing the finished earrings.

    1. Hoops seem to be a classic style - so I am enjoying playing with them.
      For these earrings, the actual production time isn't very high - clean up my bench and find my supplies and tools time - waaaay higher!