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Forming a silver collar necklace

Hi everyone, I am new in the jewelry making business. My first
question is there any way to form a silver collar necklace without
the necklace mandrel? I have been trying to do it by hand and it
isn’t perfectly round. Second question I am looking for reasonable
niobium wire. Any suggestions? Thanks ahead of time. Sue

Dear Sue, forged collars can be made with out a neck mandrel. They
have the curves hammered in by moving the metal on the block so it
goes in the direction you want it to go. Depending on the thickness
of the metal you are using the collar shouldn’t be round anyway but
have compound curves to fit properly. How to describe this in words
is beyond me, a demo is necessary. Sam Patania, Tucson

Second question I am looking for reasonable niobium wire. 

Why? Is your niobium wire being unreasonable? Wants to stay out all
night and party with the boys? :slight_smile: Sorry… I couldn’t resist!

I would venture to say most U.S. folks on Orchid pick up their
niobium from Reactive Metals Studio, in Arizona. Bill Seeley is the
owner, and an Orchid member, and one of the leading experts (in my
book) on titanium and niobium. I don’t know if his niobium is any
more reasonable than yours, but may be worth investigating! They have
lots of other cool stuff, too!

All the best,
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

I asked the same question a few years ago. The answer from an
Orchid member was an old bowling ball. good luck, Regis

Hi Sue, I have a necklace mandrel, but my favorite tool for making
neck wires/collars is an old piece of wood dowel that I found in my
son’s garage junk. I’ve been using it for years and it allows me to
shape the curves over the shoulder as well as around the neck. I put
a picture of it up on the ftp section of Orchid several years ago

I have never discovered what this was actually for but I have seen
similar things in places like Home Depot’s decking department. I
think a bowling ball would give a curve that was way too large and
uncomfortable to wear.

Nancy Bernardine-Widmer
Bernardine Fine Art Jewelry

is there any way to form a silver collar necklace without the
necklace mandrel? 

Sue, this has worked well for me and might work for you. Empty a
metal can of the appropriate diameter (mine happens to be a sesame
tahini can…). Nail it to a piece of scrap wood (larger than the
can, so you can eventually clamp the whole arrangement to your
workbench, if needed; put the the nails through from the underside
of the scrap wood, into the can, and bend the excess over, inside the
can–that way, there’s no bent-over nail bits on the bottom of the
wood). Fill the can with sand. Put the can’s top on and tape it in
place. Voila! For forming bracelets, I use an old softball bat
and/or an oval, tapered wooden table leg, as well as a tapered wooden
spool left over from some yarn-spinning industrial use. --Judy Bjorkman