Thursday, October 29, 2015

Filigree Earrings

While still fresh from my filigree class, I wanted to make something a little more simple.  Filigree earrings!  I messed around with a few designs on paper for a bit and finally came up with something suitable...and simple enough.

I began with square wire, 16 gauge, to make the frames, formed and soldered together with regular silver solder.  Until the class with Gia, I had not realized the utmost importance of getting these curves correctly done.  They have to be perfect.  No dents, no sign of having been misshapen and reshaped...just smooth and curvy.

I then twisted 2 lines of 22 gauge fine silver into filigree wire by attaching one end of the wires to my doorknob and the other in my Foredom, basically stretching across the length of my studio.  Holding the wire straight and tight, I turned on the drill and it twisted until it broke, at which time I annealed and twisted again.  (It may seem a little scary to do this at first, but you'll get used to it.)  Once satisfied with the tight twist of the wire, I annealed it and ran it carefully through the rolling mill.  Then I made the small "ornaments" which will fill all the little spaces in the earring.  This time I used a double loop, with the outside loop being a little bit larger than the inner loop.  I also used Victoria Landsford's Filigree Solder (Rio Grande) which is far easier than making my own and works quite well.

Some teachers think it's best to form lots and lots of little ornaments before placing, and others think it's best to make one at a time.  Each one has to fit correctly in the space it is going to be placed, so even if you make them ahead of time, you will often have to clip a little off the end to make it fit correctly.  So it's up to you how you want to do this.

I considered putting a gemstone in the middle of the earring, which would have been lovely, but because I used such heavy square wire for the frame, the earrings were leaning towards being on the heavy side, so left them out.  I do like the look of a solid, heavy frame, though.  In this next pair, I used a smaller gauge wire for the outside and inside frames.

Even though they weigh less, the outside and inside frames are not as prominent to the eye.  I think I will continue using the 16 gauge square wires in the future.

Perhaps a filigree ring will be next on my project list...