As I have previously posted; having passed my 70th birthday and not having anyone to teach how I make jewelry, I am documenting what I do in case someone in the future wonders what grandpa did with all these strange tools. Following is a link to how I make ear wires. If it is of some help to anyone, great. Let me know if you want to read these things. Thanks…Rob
YES! Please continue these lessons! I’ve been making jewellery for 15 years and this is the way I have learned, as well as reading everything I can get my hands on. People who have a talent using their hands and imagination cannot always have the availability
of a school, or the resources to finance decent lessons.
That can be the shut off valve for the passionate flood of creativity. With the type of generosity provided by amazing artists, you, Gerry, and so many others (for whom I am eternally grateful), creative people can enrich their lives (and soothe their
souls) without fear of making mistakes or feeling incompetent in front of their peers. Yes, I went to university art school and yes, that was how I was made to feel. But I was liberated when I left because I could finally create without judgement.
This was not to be meant as an exorcism for me, but as a tribute to the kindness of those who selflessly share their expertise.
Thank you, and please continue.
I want to read them. Many Thanks!
This is great! Ear wires are my nemesis but I have never seen this technique before. Can’t wait to try it and would love more lessons! Thanks.
Yes Please! My Grandpa WAS a jeweler and told me squat- so your experiences are invaluable!
yes please. The more learning that is shared by all, the better the industry will be. Thank you for being open and sharing with your knowledge.
Your pdf instructions are wonderfully done and very much appreciated.
Thanks Rob, That was a great learning lesson with great pictures.
Congratulations for the 70 years of life. Thanks for sharing with us, I enjoy reading this…Regards straight from Brazil … CARLOS pEIXOTO.
I am also very untrained and want to thank you for this post. I am curious, though, why draw the wire? Why not start with 20 ga? I am guessing the answer is obvious, but I don’t know it…
Good question…You could start with 20 gauge if you purchased it half hard, but most purchased wire is dead soft. By drawing it you add enough hardness so that the ear wire keeps its shape, but doesn’t get so hard that you can’t form it. This works for me and the shape of wire I like. You can experiment with other shapes and they may require a different level of hardness. For me the best part is that you make both at once and the eye is the way that I like it…Rob
I thought it was to give it the perfect hardness! Yes, I love the idea of making the two wires at the same time, and of course having the result of perfectly identical pieces. Very nice and thank you for the PDF!!!
You can buy half hard twenty gage wire.
That is true, but I prefer that all of my wire be dead soft as I use it for many different purposes. If you want to buy half hard or some other specialty wire and keep it separate for a specific purpose, that would work. I know that I would just mix it in, forget and then be surprised. This is kind of like when I bought 3 feet of 10 gauge fine (.999 silver) for heavy bezels. Shortly after that, we discovered that I needed to have a cancerous kidney removed. After a couple months recovery and all that is forgotten during such an event, I got back into my shop only to wondered why this particular piece of 10 gauge “sterling” was not acting right. I eventually figured out what happened. It all got made into filigree filler wire eventually and won’t be confused for dead soft sterling. As a result, all of my sterling wire is dead soft when I buy it so I know where to start. If I have to take the time to pull it down, that is fine. All of my fine silver is bought at the right gauge on a spool and can’t be mistaken for sterling…Rob
Thank you so much for sharing your gift of knowledge and experience…it is deeply appreciated…the partiular way you do the earwires is new to me. I will now be able to share this technique with students in an advanced jewelry class at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley where I have volunteered for the past 7 years. There is great joy in sharing what we have learned and there is great joy in continuing to be a student! Keep posting!
I’ve never seen this technique before. It’s great! Thank you for posting it.
I’d like to add a couple of tips to Rob’s excellent post. To finish off the tips of ear wires I always use a cup bur that just fits over 20gg wire. Makes it perfectly smooth and round in a jiffy.
Also I like to design each ear wire to look different from the standard and often give them a little personality to fit each earring design that is made. To keep the pair identical I make a jig using a flat piece of wood or plastic and some dowels. No need to precut the wires. Longer is better for the forming. I anchor the long wire In a dowel that has a hole drilled into it.then wrap and pull the wire around the other dowels that are held in place by drilling out the wood or plastic base. Snip and cup bur and you’re done. This way when doing a whole line of earrings I can make hundreds all perfectly the same. I like to tell my students to each design their own signature shaped ear wires and clasps so that their work will stand out among others in a gallery or store. Clients can immediately spot their favorite artists work by the signature ear wires. PS: It’s important to keep the dowels short. Maybe standing up 1/4-1/2 inch above the base.
Jo…Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post. Your work is wonderful and I always appreciate and listen to anything you say. My earrings, like most of the things that I make, are simple, they are also small. My wires are likewise. The method that I show in my post allows me to quickly make wires that are identical and small to go along with my earrings. Your suggestion that people design and make unique shaped findings is important as they will be recognized by a possible repeat customer. Your post did prompt me to dig out my old earring wire jigs. They vary in size and shape, but all of them use small pieces of dowels, steel pins and other anchors. Using them is an exercise in frustration until you, as you suggested, make the dowels only stick out no more than needed to bend or anchor the piece. I remember learning to make each dowel shorter than the previous one in the sequence. Thanks…Rob
Thx, Jo, for this alternative input to Rob’s method…how do you handle the problem of producing a springy ear wire? Draw them down as Rob does, forge them, use a half hard wire to start with or ??? TIA, royjohn