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Installing replacement leverback earrings backs

Dear All,

Does anyone out there know the secret to installing replacement
leverback earring backs? Thirty-fours in this business and never
tried this basic repair ever before.

Jon Michael Fuja

Jon- I have done many of these over the years. Remove the rivet.
Replace the little white spring bar inside or get a new lever part of
the back. The hard part is wriggling the new/repaired lever part into
place while trying to replace the rivet. I usually make a new,
pointed longer rivet to make installing it easier. Gently hammer the
ends of the rivet. Afterwards add a touch of oil to the lever part to
make it work easier. Sometimes it takes an extra pair of hands to do

In the old days when Tim and I were among the very few practicing
platinum smiths around, findings were rare and we had to make our own
lever backs from scratch. A pain, but very satisfying. We would use a
small bit of white gold for the spring part as plat doesn’t have much

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

Pretty easy, Jon, if you’re trying to do what I think you are.
First, use a sep disk to carefully grind off one of the heads on the
rivit. Then push what’s left out of the holes with a blunt ended tiny
rod, something like an old small bur with the cutting part ground
off. If it’s hard to drive through, you can back it up over a draw
plate, selecting a hole big enough to let the remaining head of the
rivit pass through.

Then, draw down a wire for a snug fit in the holes. You’ll need a
piece about twice the length of what the rivit would be in length.
Ball up one end slightly with a torch. Then, find a hole in your draw
plate the fits the wire snugly, insert the wire, and forge the ball
down flat against the plate, leaving about 1/3 mm thickness. You can
then put it in a pin vise and using a sanding disk, reduce the
diameter to something that looks right. Put a slight taper on the
other end of this wire.

Now assemble the parts, taking care of the orientation of the spring
so that it operates correctly, and start inserting the tapered end of
the wire, wiggling it a bit to get it to go through the holes in both

When you’ve got it snug, with the head on the wire against metal,
cut the other end off, leaving extra length past the other side of
the assembly, a lenght extending about 1&1/3 the thickness of the
wire. Brace the head of this new rivit on a steel block, taking care
that only the head mades contact and the rest of the earring back is
clear so you don’t damage it.

Using a rivit hammer, slowly and patiently brad over the end util
you have rivited the assembly together. You can use a cup bur to
finish both ends of the rivit, selecting a size that will give you a
nice, rounded rivit head.

David L. Huffman

Listen up Newbies-

David gives a great trick here about how to finish the end of a
rivet. I love using a cup burr to finish the ends of a rivet when
you have to leave ends visible.

Jo Haemer

Thanks to both Jo and David for their help. My main concern was that
the spring works properly after installation, and aligning the holes
was a challenge to say the least.


David gives a great trick here about how to finish the end of a
rivet. I love using a cup burr to finish the ends of a rivet when
you have to leave ends visible. 

A customer came in very recently and purchased some massive cup
burs, he was going to use them to finish claw settings in one hit as
opposed to claw by claw.

You know it’s nice to learn something different every day :slight_smile:

Regards Charles A.

Hello Jon,

One thing to remember is once you take it apart the tiny spring will
probably bounce off the bench if you aren’t prepared for it. or if
you have a Secura Brand leverback there will be NO SPRING! so don’t
get out the magnet and try finding it on the studio floor or bench !
Ordinarily the spring is sprung and hence the problem with no"snap"
to the back. so to fix it, you need a 2-4 oz. riveting hammer
(jeweler’s hammer), and either make your own or use a watchmaker’s
anvil with many rivet holes on the face, and for the actual lever
you can use some channel wire to form a tapered piece or just buy the
back part (some vendors sell it with the rivet too). If its a Secura
brand leverback, no worries- nothing but the replacement lever and
making a rivet.

Remove the rivet with a small cut off wheel or just grind it’s head
off with any bur you like that will do a precise but quick job of
cutting metal- (I like a ball bur coated with diamond as it’s fast
cutting action takes seconds to remove the metal that will allow the
pin to slip out. You may need to coax it by inserting the
appropriate size wire and tapping it to help the rivet out if it’s
tightly fitted) in choosing the bur or bit all you want to do is to
be able to remove the old rivet not to enlarge the hole, Once the
rivet is out measure it (for making a new one, remembering to add in
a mm or so for the new 'head" on one end and enough to allow the
metal to spread on the opposite side as well), then cut a new length
of wire (or buy the rivet already made in the same metal- some
vendors sell them as a set so then the colours will match if it is a
gold) and work harden it a bit if dead soft. You don’t want the rivet
wire to bend when trying to insert it and a spring at the same time
as the action comes from “spring loading” the assembly. If You make
your own lever replacement get out the drill gauge and twist drills
and after shaping the new piece mark the spot you’ll need to drill.
Fill the channel with a small piece of jett-sett or cork to keep the
channel from collapsing in on itself, then lubricate the drill and
drill straight through the new piece/back (a drill press works best
for this). Remove the cork or jett-sett and slide the spring back
into place (unless it’s a Secura type earring- i love them just
because of the ‘no spring’ feature and solder-ability)… If you ever
have the choice in designing your pieces that involve a lever back
earring try and go for the spring free Secura’s- Often when earrings
need repair (a dangle falls or rather breaks off, or a jump ring
fails, etc.).people try and solder the element back on and melt the
base metal spring which has a far lower flow point than the earring
assembly. Secura eliminates that problem and you can direct solder
the repair. rer