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Six metal skills, one fabulous necklace

Master one wire skill, then build on the basics to create this lovely piece. 

The pearl in the featured necklace is held in place merely by the tension between the wire loops in the pendant. Four styles of links define the spare and simple line of this necklace. Even the shape of the hook-and-eye clasp echoes the rhythm of the overall design. The links in this 16-in. (40.6cm) necklace are forged so they become flat and work-hardened.

The different links, the pendant, and the Y-connector link shown below are shaped using roundnose, needlenose, and chainnose pliers. As you shape the links, expect to use the chainnose pliers between steps to remove kinks and to straighten wayward sections of wire.

SUPPLIES

  • Silver-toned craft wire: 20-gauge (0.8mm), round, half-hard, 64–71 in. (1.6–1.8m)
  • Sterling silver wire: 20-gauge (0.8mm), round, half-hard, 64–71 in. (1.6–1.8m) (optional)
  • 1–3 freshwater pearls: 5 x 9mm, teardrop shape
  • Pair of ear wires (optional)
  • Pliers: chainnose, needlenose, roundnose
  • Steel block or anvil
  • Chasing hammer 

INSTRUCTIONS

Six wire skills one fabulous necklace components
from left to right:
hook & eye clasp, wide link, slim link, transition link, Y-connector link, pendant. 
START BY MAKING TOP-HEAVY DIAMONDS
Cut the wire. Cut 20-gauge (0.8mm) silver-toned craft wire into 16 3 1⁄2-in. (89mm) pieces. Or, substitute 20-gauge (0.8mm) sterling silver wire for the craft wire.
Top heavy diamonds p1
1. Shape the wire into a top-heavy diamond. Use needlenose pliers to bend a tight U at the midpoint of one wire.
Top heavy diamonds p2
2. Then, open the ends until they are 5⁄8 in. (16mm) apart. 
Top heavy diamonds p3
3. Measure 3⁄8 in. (9.5mm) from one end, and make a perpendicular bend. Using roundnose pliers, grasp both ends together just above the bend, and use chainnose pliers to wrap the bent end around the straight end. 
Top heavy diamonds p4
4. Insert chainnose pliers, positioning them one-third of the distance from the wrapped end, and then open them to spread the wires. Use chainnose pliers to grasp and pull the wires into a top-heavy diamond shape. 

Repeat with the remaining wires to make a total of 13 top-heavy diamonds. Six of these diamonds will be bent into wide links and the other seven will be bent into slim links.
Top heavy diamonds p5
5. Make a connecting loop, and forge the wire. Use roundnose pliers to bend the wire stem above the wraps into a connecting loop. 
Top heavy diamonds p6
6. Put the diamond on a steel block, and use the flat face of a chasing hammer to hammer the wire and the loop to flatten and work-harden them. 
Top heavy diamonds p7

7. Do not hammer the wraps. Use chainnose pliers to rotate the loop 90 degrees.

Repeat for the remaining 12 top-heavy diamonds.

A few basic tips that might help as you go along.  

  • To make it easier to measure lengths of wire, secure a ruler to the end of a table, allowing the ruler to extend 5 in. (12.7cm) beyond the table.
  • To form vertical loops that are the same diameter, move the wire along the jaws of the roundnose pliers as necessary.
  • Experiment with making different-sized links or with changing the diameter of the link loops.

Learn how to take these top-heavy diamonds and bend them into wide links and slim links with your pliers. 

Then learn to make bottom-heavy diamonds, which will in turn become transition links and your pendant. 

All of this can be found when you download the project PDF!

FIND MORE: necklaces , wire , wirework , forging

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