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Paper thin argentium earrings

I’ve found some old dies I’d made years ago; they’re suitable for pressing earrings. The pressing process instantly hardens the blanks from dead-soft to quite rigid.
I like precious metals so my default preference in making jewellery was always to make everything “too heavy”.
Now I’m intrigued with the idea of going in the opposite direction, using 28 gauge sheet to make earrings. The benefits would be lower cost and greater comfort for the wearer.
I’d love to hear your opinions about making such paper-thin pieces. Thanks!

The obvious first question is how strong they’d be if they were that thin. I love the idea of minimizing the amount of metal in the piece to make them as lightweight and affordable as possible, but if they’re going to be ruined the first time I pop my big headphones on or forget to take them off before bed? That’s not worth it at any price. I guess there’s also a perception issue to try to balance- are people who buy jewelry but don’t know what goes into making it going to see the technical achievement you see in getting them that thin, or are they going to think you’re just cheaping out and sacrificing quality to do it? Are you going to be able to hold their attention long enough to explain it?

You’ve set yourself an interesting challenge. I’m curious to see how this plays out.

Do whatever you plan on doing to the very thin silver and then back it in some way with a thicker piece of copper or brass. Coincidentally , I am exploring the same type of project, but I plan on riveting the thin silver to a piece of brass. Good luck…Rob

Maybe perception of fragility/inferior quality/“cheapness” would be the dominant factor for most buyers.
If enough of the dies are usable, I’m thinking one line of 28 gauge: “Ultralight earrings, the most comfortable you’ll ever wear!”
and one line of 24 gauge for everyone else.

(Maybe another line of 14 gauge earrings: “The most uncomfortable you’ve ever worn but they look cool!”)

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Hi John. I love earrings big and light. Argentium in 26/28 g will work. Heat harden them as recommended by Argentium and 2 super experienced artist like Cynthia Eid and Ronda Coryell. Yes the die will harden them but the heat treatment will harden best and also prevent tarnish and wear better.

I work mainly in Steel and Gold now and oh my is steel ever lightweight. Perfect for me. Like any metal, it has it’s limitations.

Thank you…encouragement is gold!

There’s a whole group of people out there who want heavy earrings (ear weights, actually) to deliberately stretch their ears- there’s a market for everything!

John- It all depends on the shape of the earrings and the material you use. Personally I’d go with Continuum silver from Stuller. It’s the hardest silver alloy out there. It anneals very soft so if you have to solder on posts after the stamping the earrings and posts can be kiln hardened at 800 degrees F for 40 mins with an immediate quench and become as hard and springy as 14 kt white gold. The metal is costly but if you are making super thin pieces the price shouldn’t be an issue. Order a small amount and give it a try. Stuller sells it in grain, sheet, and wire.

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Hi John, I have a good friend who makes earrings from 26 and 28ga. argentium. She frames them with 18ga X 2mm strip wire. This keeps them light weight and still gives the appearance of heavier metal. I love the look that she gets with this construction.

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Jo: continuum sounds very interesting; (I don’t have an account with stuller so I couldn’t find the price.)
Thanks for your description of it.

Nancy: thank you for mentioning this way of solving the problem!

I make paper thin 18kt hand cut and hammered earrings and they always sell really fast. I wear them myself and you can hardly feel them in your ear, even if they are quite large. I am exploring the use of Bi-metals too - gold and silver bonded - rolling them thin and oxidising gives an entirely new organic look.