Tools: small neckpiece forging mandrel, 4" flat steel block, planishing hammer, pliers - big size - flat one side, curved on the other, leather wrapped.
Straighten 8 G wire - best done with rawhide mallet and flat wood bench, drill twisting this G doesn’t work well.
I made them in 2 styles, 2 sizes. The V shape is most popular, outselling rounds 2:1. These 2 sizes fit about 90% of women, adjust lengths up or down for tiny or huge.
Cut length : Round small 14"
round large 15 3/8
V small 14 1/2"
V large 16"
Instructions from here on are for the V, which is trickier to make.
With magic marker ink, mark center and 2 1/4" in from each end.
Bend V shape over small diameter round stock (bezel mandrel).
With hands and pliers, bend ends so wire lays flat on mandrel shoulders and back of neck. Make sure its symmetrical.
Begin forging at one end, moving to a little past the high point of the shoulder. Repeat on other end.
Lots of correction bending with hands and pliers, both flat- on and edge-on.
Lightly forge each side down to the V bend.
Flip over and forge from back side on the flat block, also lightly over the ends - this will flatten out hammer marks resulting from forging on front side.
The 8 G round wire should now be - uniformly - about 2 1/2 mm thick and 4mm wide. Forging not only widens the wire, but lengthens it as well.
Lots more plier and hand bending, maybe more forging to get the piece identical on each side, and so it lays flat all along the mandrel surface.
This is fairly tricky and takes some practice, might want to practice on brass or copper wire first, since each neckpiece eats up about an ounce of sterling.
Stamp back of piece with your mark and ‘sterling’.
File the ends to blunt domes.
I use a #4 pillar file to clean up the top surface (and any ‘bulges’ along the edges).
Then hand sanding. I do virtually nothing to remove hammer marks from backside - they are not seen when piece is worn, plus provide proof than the piece was not drop forged in one go in some hideous off shore labor camp.
Next I lightly hit it with the fine Japanese rubber 1" wheels sold by RIO - the brown/fine cratex are too coarse and leave scratches too deep to buff out.
Front, back, and edges next polished with Tripoli on 4"or 5" X 1" hard felt wheel.
Wipe, then hit with rouge.
I used to find making these suckers irksome. They take about an hour - only about 15 minutes is needed to shape the piece, the rest is getting the dings out and sanding and polishing.
I’ll attach a pix of one of the Vs, the stones are Orsk Jasper.
I sold these things (until I threw in the towel in 2011 and retired) for $80, not real bad but a much lower return on my labor than most other stuff I made.
If this doesn’t go through, or you’ve more questions, let me know…