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Back Necklace opening

So sorry all, not sure if this worked. What i need to know is is there any rule of thumb as to how open one leaves a necklace back opening so one a get it off and on? I am trying to make necklaces similar to Michael David Sturlin, Lapidary April 2009 using forged copper. The lines on the top indicate where I think I should cut it back and reforge??? Any help will be appreciated bc i have no help in this area. Thx

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Hi Karen and Welcome to Orchid!
I don’t make these, but, looking at it, I would think that it flexes in the up and down plane, not in the plane of the necklace, so the opening at the back is not too critical, but the spring in the forged copper would be. If it springs back well, then it is only a matter of how light the necklace needs to be in order to spring open fairly easily. Has to spring open to the width of a neck and still go back to its original shape. Am I making sense? Hope so. -royjohn


that looks like a great project!

would it be possible to securedly tape the 2 main pieces of the collar together…maybe with a popcicle stick as a splint…and then try it on and see how it flexes…?

or, conversely, cutting out the basic collar shape/size out of something stiff…like…maybe a plastic binder divider…to get you close…?

hmmm…in my instance, the circumference of my neck is 14”
so 14” / 3.14= 4.46” diameter

so a collar would need to flex/ twist open about 4-1/2-5”…?

(when i say flex/ twist i mean like when you open a jumpring…twisting the legs in the opposite direction)

let us know what you come up with!


I can’t tell from the picture, but you probably need to do another bend so that the open ends will follow the curve of your shoulders. As for how long, you will have to experiment. You might go to Michaels or a similar place and buy an inexpensive neck display to model the piece on. Make sure that the piece if left fairly hard or it won’t keep its shape. To put it on, hold one of the ends in each hand with the rest of the piece pointing away from you. Twist the ends so that one goes up and the other goes down. This will create an opening that you can put your neck through but not distort the piece. There is a lot going on in a piece like this. It’s good to work in copper first. Good luck…Rob

Thank all for the help so far and I understand what you’re saying about the twist. I will solder the pieces and then see how it twists and go from there. I have a fairly small chicken neck but was curious as to if there were rules that would apply to larger neck sizes, now I’m guessing not by the responses.
Lol… and yes it will have another slight bend for fit when completed.
We had jewelry classes here for a bit but it couldn’t survive with the year long lockdown.
One thing I was able to learn was when adding the final bend you use your thigh as your guide, just in case others don’t know this trick. Karen


Hi Karen,

The design is really nice. I would suggest you also look at the book, Creative Metal Forming, by Eid/Lohngi. Print or ebook. They have a section in book that specifically discusses and shows various shapes and fitting for formed/forged neck pieces.


Mata, thank you for reminding me about the Creative Metal Forming book, which I have. This is a wonderful book and I have worked through many of the projects. I do remember the back section and will take another look at the information.
I’m glad you liked my design.karen

The critical issue is the temper of the wire so it springs back when you open it. to small an opening may cause it to crimp.

Thank you for your input about this, i have since found it doesn’t have enough spring/temper to open and close as I was hoping. I will be needing to open it more and add chain and hook. Karen