Solar System necklace

Send an out-of-this-world design made with art-glass beads into orbit
Solar System necklace
Katy Abbott created eight different beads to represent the planets, and María Elena de los Santos created stellar components for her original design, Solar System in Silver.

For her design, Solar System in Silver, Maria shaped silver wire to mimic the characteristic spirals of the galaxies. She used the components to encircle Katy’s art-glass beads, which are inspired by the planets of our solar system. 

SUPPLIES

Necklace 17 1⁄2 in. (44.5 cm)

  • 8 20–23 mm art-glass 
  • beads
    • 32 4 mm bicone crystals
    • 36 3 mm bicone crystals
  • toggle clasp
  • 2 1⁄4 yd. (2.1 m) 16-gauge round sterling silver wire, dead-soft
  • 6 3⁄4 in. (17.1 cm) 16-gauge half-round sterling silver wire, dead-soft
  • 29 in. (74 cm) 20-gauge sterling silver wire, half-hard
  • 27 in. (69 cm) 22-gauge sterling silver wire, half-hard
  • 2 6 mm jump rings
  • chainnose pliers
  • roundnose pliers
  • wire cutters

INSTRUCTIONS

Components

Solar System necklace a
Photo A
1. Cut a 2-in. (5 cm) piece of 16-gauge round wire. Use roundnose pliers to turn a simple loop at one end of the wire. Using roundnose pliers and your fingers, form a loose spiral about 1⁄2–3⁄4 in. (1.3–1.9 cm) wide (PHOTO A).
Solar System necklace b
Photo B

Make a plain loop on the other end of the wire, turning it perpendicular to the spiral (PHOTO B). Repeat to make a second short spiral component.

2. Cut a 2 1⁄2-in. (6.4 cm) piece of 16-gauge wire, and work as in step 1 to make two long spiral components.

Solar System necklace c
Photo c

3. Cut a 3⁄4-in. (1.9 cm) piece of 22-gauge wire, and make a plain loop on one end. String a 3 mm bicone crystal (PHOTO C), and make a plain loop. Repeat three times to make a total of four 3 mm crystal units. 

4. Cut a 7⁄8-in. (2.2 cm) piece of 20-gauge wire, and make a plain loop on one end. String a 4 mm bicone crystal, and make a plain loop. Repeat to make a second 4 mm crystal unit.

Solar System necklace d
Photo d
5. Cut a 1 7⁄8-in. (4.8 cm) piece of 20-gauge wire, and make a plain loop on one end. String two long spiral components, a 4 mm, an art bead, a 4 mm, and two short spiral components, positioning all the spirals facing the art bead (PHOTO D). Make a plain loop.
Solar System necklace e
Photo e

6. Open a loop of a 3 mm crystal unit, attach the inner loop of a spiral component, and close the loop. Open the remaining loop of the 3 mm crystal unit, and attach the straight part of a spiral component (PHOTO E). Close the loop. Repeat three times to attach a 3 mm crystal unit to each of the remaining spiral components

Solar System necklace f
Photo f

7. Open a loop of a 4 mm crystal unit, and attach the bottom outer curve of a top spiral, and close the loop. Open the remaining loop, attach the outer top curve of the adjacent bottom spiral, and close the loop (PHOTO F). Repeat with the remaining 4 mm crystal unit and pair of spiral components.

8. Repeat steps 1–7 seven times to make a total of eight planet components.  

9. Make four more long spiral components as in step 2 and four more 3 mm crystal units as in step 3. Attach a crystal unit to each spiral component as in step 6, and set aside these four spiral and 3 mm crystal components.

Assembly
Solar System necklace g
Photo g

1. Cut a 3⁄8-in. (1 cm) piece of 16-gauge half-round wire, and use chainnose pliers to bend up one end of the wire (PHOTO G). 

Solar System necklace h
Photo h

Repeat on the other end to form a staple shape (PHOTO H). Make 18 staple-shaped connectors.

Solar System necklace i
Photo i

2. Determine the order of your planet components, and lay them next to each other, lining up the short spirals at the top and the long spirals at the bottom. Hook the staple-shaped half-round wire made in step 1 around two adjacent spirals, and use chainnose pliers to bend the ends together (PHOTO I). Flatten the ends. Repeat for the remaining adjacent spirals, connecting all eight planet components.

Solar System necklace j
Photo j

3. Connect two of the remaining spiral components to the end spirals of an end planet component (PHOTO J). Repeat on the other end.

Solar System necklace k
Photo k

4. Open a jump ring, and attach the two end loops of a pair of spiral components and half of the clasp (PHOTO K). Close the jump ring. Repeat on the other end.

Solar System necklace alt
Design alternative

I made some modifications to María Elena de los Santos’ original design, Solar System in Silver. Where I turned the ends of the 16-gauge wire into plain and simple loops, she hammered them and drilled holes with a 0.8 mm drill, and then connected the crystal components to the drilled holes. She also created a sterling silver Sun component and a sterling silver disk attached to the Earth component to represent the Moon. To add a Sun component, use an additional art-glass bead.

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