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Balling wire at each Pearl end


#1

Bonjour to everyone at Orchid, from Judy in south west France. After
lurking for a while, this is my first posting and I wanted to say
many thanks to everyone at Orchid for providing such a brilliant
source of and support.

I am having problems attaching a pearl to a work piece which is
approx 4mm thick sterling silver, by balling the wire at both ends.

I am experimenting with sterling and fine silver wire but nothing
seems to work. I am balling the wire initially at one end, then
passing it through the pearl and the drilled hole in the silver,
leaving enough wire exposed on the other side to ball that as well.
Unfortunately, when applying the heat to do this, either the pearl
gets burnt, or when I protect the pearl in a sand bed, there is so
much heat sink that the wire doesn’t respond. I am using an
oxy/propane torch or a gas/air blow torch. Is there another way I
could protect the pearl? Perhaps I’m I trying the impossible?!!

Very best wishes
Judy


#2

Hi Judy:

From previous discussions on Orchid, what you’re doing seems a bit
difficult. Glue has been suggested as a way to hold the wire inside
the pearl. You would ball the ends of 2 wires before inserting into
the pearl at opposing ends. Another very neat sounding idea was
talked of a while back. I don’t remember all, but I believe it had a
reference to “victorian”. Two separate wires’ ends were drawn into a
ball. One wire was split down the middle a tiny bit with a jeweler’s
saw. Then the wires were inserted at opposing ends until they met.
They were then tapped slightly with a hammer. The split wire would
open just enough to envelop the end of the other wire and hold both
inside the pearl. In your case, you were trying to work with a heat
sink. Is this “sand bed” maybe taking too much heat away? Have you
considered trying any of the commercially available heat sinks? Here
is a discussion on a medieval technique.

https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/medieval-pearl-setting

I couldn’t find anything on the “split wire” technique I described
above. Am I misremembering this thread?

Good Luck
Kim Starbard
Cove Beads


#3

Judy

Use the sterling wire, and you will need a torch with a finer point.
The fine silver takes to much heat to get a bead in this situation. I
use Oxy/Acetylene for things requiring pin point high heat, also I
believe the water torch will work too. I have not done pearls, but I
have done glass beads like this with out loss of color or fracture.

Hope it works on a pearl.

Terry


#4
I couldn't find anything on the "split wire" technique I described
above. Am I misremembering this thread? 

Kim…no, you are not misremembering. The standard technique for
holding pearls onto posts in the days before epoxy, was to split the
end of the post and then place a small ‘shim’ into the split. This
was in turn inserted into the pearl and, as the pearl was pushed
down and seated, the shim would spread the split onto the inner walls
of the hole and hold the pearl securely. No reason why this could not
be done to achieve a double ball effect. It will probably take some
experimentation however, to determine the exact length of each wire,
as it was to determine the length of the shim.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2


#5
Hope it works on a pearl. 

Terry, If someone out there has a process to successfully heat that
close to pearls I would love to know about it. In my humble
experience, it just does not work! Glass can often stand the heat but
silver has to reach around 1550 deg F to ball up and I don’t know of
any pearl (read nacre) in the world that will take anything more than
a couple hundred degrees.

My advice…don’t even try it…at least not on a pearl you like.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2


#6

Hi Judy,

This particular problem is something I’ve been thinking about since
seeing pearls set like this on a reliquary in the Victoria & Albert
Museum in London many years ago.

Just recently I was able to check out Robert von Neumann’s “The
Design and Creation of Jewelry” from the library. Illustrated there
near the end of the Pearl Setting section of Chapter 4 “Decorative
Surface Techniques” are three different methods of attaching a pearl
(or other drilled-through bead) to sheet.

The first technique discussed is what intrigued me – using a
beading tool to compress and round off the slightly-projecting
(1/32") end of a fine (rather than sterling) silver wire. The wire’s
diameter should be just able to fit through the drilled hole of the
pearl (i.e. use as large a diameter wire as possible), and von
Neumann cautions that not too much pressure should be used [if you
are using the beading tool near the pearl] because pearls chip and
scratch easily.

Obviously it’s a riveting technique. But perhaps it could work in
your design to draw a bead on one end of a fine silver wire, and make
this smaller M&M-like rivet on the other end? And there are other
kinds decorative rivets that might work. Anyway, just a thought…

Constance


#7

I have known two jewelers who could do this. They used a small very
hotflame. Hot enough to ball the wire instantly. They held thetorch
in their ususal hand and the pearl, usually on an earring in
theother. They brought the flame to the tip of the wire and removed
itinstantly. They never burned the pearl. On of them saidthat he was
challenged as a novice and practiced until he could do itevery time.
I personnally have not had the courage totry. Peter


#8

A trick I learned from one of my mentors was to wet some paper
toweling and wrap the pearl. It acts as a fire coat. It has worked
for me in the past on those not so bold days of working on other
peoples jewelry. Hope this helps.

-T


#9

Hello Kim,

I couldn't find anything on the "split wire" technique I described
above. Am I misremembering this thread? 

Maybe a little misremembering. The technique was used to secure a
half-drilled pearl on a post without glue. A slot is made in the end
of the post and a tiny wedge is put into the slot. The pearl is
placed over the post and firmly pushed down to drive the wedge into
the slot and spread the sides out to the side of the hole.

I’ve used this when the pearl hole was considerably larger than the
post, and post couldn’t be replaced with the proper size wire. The
problem occurs if you miscalculate and the post is too long,
securing the pearl before the post is completely hidden!

Hope this explains everything,
Judy in Kansas


#10

Hi Judy:

Maybe a little misremembering. The technique was used to secure a
half-drilled pearl on a post without glue. A slot is made in the
end of the post and a tiny wedge is put into the slot. The pearl is
placed over the post and firmly pushed down to drive the wedge
into the slot and spread the sides out to the side of the hole. 

Thank you so much. I find this technique incredibly interesting. Can
you point me in the direction of some resources where I can learn
more. Is this a technique that has been used historically? (ie. for a
long time?)

Is there a large chance of breaking the pearl on trying to get it
driven onto the post? Do you think it would work well with
semi-precious stones as well?

Thank you again

I learn something every day on Orchid!

Best Regards,
Kim Starbard
Cove Beads