Thanks to everyone who replied to my post. I've been reading and
re-reading everyone's responses, considering options, etc.
I probably could have done a better of job of describing my project
in the initial question, so everyone could understand my dilemma
better. The wood piece is in the outline shape of a leaf, and there
is a center strip of wood running through the middle which looks like
the main stem. The wood piece hangs from sterling silver chain,
laying horizontally. There are dangles of headpins with light green
pearls hanging from the uppermost piece of wood, and from the middle
strip. This is the abstract representation of leaf color. The dangles
also get to move back and forth, giving fluidity and movement to the
Due to the circumference of the wood, I had to make my own jump
rings. I believe part of my problem isn't the way I open the jump
rings, but that I used the wrong tool to cut my jump rings, which
didn't leave a nice, even, clean slanted cut. The tool left a slight
indentation at the cut, so when the jump ring is closed, it can't be
closed tightly and evenly.
My conclusions thus far:
Because of the design of the piece, soldering can't be done before
assembly. Split rings aren't an option because as tight as split
rings are, the wood would get marred during assembly.
I may be mistaken due to lack of practical experience, but from some
research I've done regarding the soldering process, I still run into
the issue of having to clean up the jump rings once they've been
soldered, even if electric soldered (and I accept that I may be
completely erroneous here). Again, because this has to be done
post-assembly, the wood causes a problem-not sure that this nice
piece would do well in pickle!
At this point, in order to save time and money in getting the
necklace completed so it can remain in my inventory, as a few people
have suggested, I'm probably going to have to go out and look for
pre-made jump rings that are thicker but still large enough to handle
the circumference of the wood. Or, as I had another jeweler suggest
to me, which I'm not 100% enthused about from a design standpoint,
buy extremely long headpins and use those instead of jump rings.
I think I have to chalk this one up to serious lack of experience in
mixed media and processes causing my issues.
Thank you for your help.
Also, for anyone living in the Phoenix area, if you happen to hear
of any soldering classes aside from the Mesa Arts Center, could you
please contact me offline? I have nothing against the MAC, but their
scheduled classes really don't work well with my schedule, and I need
to find some other alternative teaching mechanism.