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In response to Candy’s question about sterling ear posts, the
major problem is softening of the sterling.
We use sterling wire 0.8mm (20 Ga.) thick, hard temper. Cut to
about 20 mm (3/4 inch), file one end flat. Heat the earring to
solder-melting temperature first, bringing the wire through the
flame at the last second (so you don’t anneal it too much) to
solder them together. You’ll find about 5 mm of the wire will be
annealed soft. This is where the extra wire length comes in; grab
the extra in parallel pliers and turn the earring several times.
You’ll find out now if your solder join is any good! I can’t tell
you how many times (1-4?) because it depends on how hot you got
the wire. The twisting hardens the wire, but leaves a faint twist
line on it. So repeat the process in reverse (count backwards!)
to untwist it. The annealed section of wire is now work hardened.
If the solder breaks you overtwisted the ear wire, overheated the
solder or didn’t have a close connection. It all takes practice
to solder quickly and to know how much twisting is enough.
Now cut the ear wire to about 9 mm, file the end round and
smooth, and using wire end-cutters gently pinch the wire about
2 mm from the end as you turn it to depress a groove (for the ear
nut to grab onto). Don’t pinch too tightly, you just want to mark
the surface. Then polish the ear wire.
For a smooth flat earring back, we use a Sparkie (fusion
welder). The ear wire findings are not expensive (just the
Sparkie), and there is no annealing problem. Hope this helps.
Goss Design Studio, jewellery and metal,
Makers Online, crafts catalogue, http://www.makersgallery.com/catalog/
Dr. E. Aspler
Ganoksin Jewelry Co.,Ltd.