That’s right, friends, time for another peek into my design process! This time, I’ll be leading you step-by-step through creating a custom pair of earrings with some spectacular yellow diamonds supplied by my client. This was SUCH a fun project, and I’m more than a little enamored with the finished product!
Our plan was to create a pair based on my hinged twist earrings in sterling silver with an 18-karat gold edge, but using my client’s diamonds as a focal point in the hinge portion of the earring. She also wanted the stones placed at different lengths, creating a cool asymmetrical look, and I was totally into it. The yellow diamonds were rose cut, which means they had a flat back and faceted top, ideal for a simple bezel. So I got to work!
My first step was to create some custom, pear-shaped bezels out of 18-karat gold wire. I curved the wire to wrap snugly around the stone, then tweaked it for a perfect fit.
Next comes soldering the bezel, which melts the wire end into place, transforming it into one solid piece.
The stones fit perfectly! Yesssssss!
Then I added jump rings, tiny gold circles that are used to connect jewelry components to one another. Since the diamonds would be sandwiched between two twisted pieces of metal, I needed jump rings at the top and bottom of the bezels.
The diamonds are set by hammering the metal down around the stones, and once the diamonds are settled into their new homes, I’m ready to start working on the twists!
This process starts with two silver strips cut to equal lengths.
Then, to create the gold edging, I solder 18-karat gold wire along the length of the strips.
Soldering creates some residue as you can see from the previous photo, so I clean them in a mild acid bath called “pickle” to clean up the metal and then add a matte finish.
I added a subtle texture to the gold edge to create a higher contrast with the sleek silver.
Here’s a peek at twisted silver pieces, with marks where I plan to cut them and place the diamonds. As you can see, they’ll be the same overall length, but will have segments of different lengths. (If that description is making your brain spin, keep reading! It’ll all make sense at the end.)
Then it was time to solder the jump rings onto the segments so the components would be prepped for connection.
Here you see the finished segments with both jump rings and earring posts attached!
Then comes the oxidation process, which we also discussed in this post about creating Lotus Fold Opal Earrings for Fire & Forge. Basically, the silver goes into a liver of sulphur bath and comes out oxidized. How do you like my super-fancy jam-jar liver of sulphur bathtub? I’m all about repurposing and recycling.
With all of the components ready, I just had to connect the pieces.
And here are the finished earrings! Notice that although both diamonds are pear-shaped, one is set with the point up and one with the point down. Double asymmetry! I can’t wait to see these on my gorgeous client. They have such great movement, and strike a perfect balance between funky and elegant.