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Peek a boo pearl earrings

Achieve an elegant look with elementary metal and wire techniques in under two hours
Peek a boo pearl silver earrings
What I like most about these earrings (above left) is that when they’re worn, they move slightly and make a delicate noise as the pearl dangle gently touches the curved, textured metal. The sound is soft and subtle, and it reminds you that you’re wearing them. They are lightweight, easy to make, and customizable. A perfect project for beginners, these simple earrings introduce you to a variety of introductory metalsmithing techniques. Come up with your own design, or trade the pearl for a bead of your choice; just make sure that whatever element you choose is visible through the pierced window of your design.
Triangle template


  • Sterling silver sheet: 24-gauge (0.5 mm), at least 19⁄16 x 13⁄16 in. (40 x 30 mm)
  • Sterling silver wire, round, half-hard:
  • 24-gauge (0.5 mm), 3 in. (76 mm)
  • 20-gauge (0.8 mm), 6 in. (15.2 cm)
  • 2 pearls or beads
  • Sterling silver flat cable chain: approximately 1.5 mm diameter, 1 1⁄4 in. (32 mm)
  • Grosgrain ribbon: 1 1⁄2 x 3 1⁄2 in. (38 x 89 mm)
  • Rolling mill
  • Scrap copper or brass sheet (optional)
  • Metal shears (optional)
  • Machinist’s square (optional)
  • Craft knife
  • Wood swage block, dapping punches
  • 3M bristle disks 
  • Pliers: bentnose, large barrel
  • Cup bur with cross cuts: 4 mm
  • Brass brush
  • Rubber bench block (optional)


NOTE: Before you make these earrings in sterling silver, I recommend that you make them in a base metal to become familiar with the process.


Peek a boo pearl earrings s1
Photo 1
Roll-print the metal. Fold a 11⁄2 x 31⁄2-in. (38 x 89 mm) piece of grosgrain ribbon in half, and place a 19/16 x 13/16-in. (40 x 30 mm) piece of 24-gauge (0.5 mm) sterling silver sheet in the middle. Place the ribbon and silver between the rollers of a rolling mill, and tighten the rollers until you can barely push the metal through by hand. 

NOTE: To protect the rollers of your rolling mill, place a scrap sheet of copper or brass on each side of the ribbon when roll-printing your metal. Even though I don’t use scrap metal when using ribbon to texture my metal, I recommend you do if you want to keep your rollers in pristine condition.
Peek a boo pearl earrings s2
Photo 2

Remove the ribbon and silver from the rollers, and tighten the rollers one-quarter turn. Roll the ribbon and silver through the rolling mill [PHOTO 1].

Rotate the silver in the ribbon slightly, and roll it through the rolling mill again [PHOTO 2]. Anneal the silver, let it cool, and place it in pickle until it’s clean. Rinse the silver in water, and dry it thoroughly.

Cut triangles. Use metal shears or a jeweler’s saw with a 2/0 blade to cut a rectangle that measures approximately 1 1/2 x 1 1/4 in. (38 x 32 mm). If you want your rectangle to be perfect, use a pair of dividers and a machinist’s square to lay out your design.

Peek a boo pearl earrings s3
Photo 3

SAFETY NOTE: When sawing, hold the metal firmly against the bench pin with the index and middle fingers of your nondominant hand. Keep your fingers behind the saw blade so that you can’t accidentally cut yourself. It may feel awkward to hold your metal this way at first, but it’s safer.

Line up a ruler with the top left and bottom right corners of the rectangle, and then draw a line with a fine-tip permanent marker to connect the corners [PHOTO 3].

Peek a boo pearl earrings s4
Photo 4

Cut the rectangle in half diagonally with shears or a jeweler’s saw [PHOTO 4]. 

Use a flat file to round the sharp corners of each metal triangle and remove the saw marks from the edges [PHOTO 5]. Sand the edges of each triangle with a 220-grit sanding stick.


Peek a boo pearl earrings s5
Photo 5

Pierce windows in the triangles. Cut out the Template with a craft knife, and use a marker to trace the interior of the template onto each triangle. 

NOTE: If you make your own design, keep in mind that round corners are easier to file and sand than sharp angles

Peek a boo pearl earrings s6
Photo 6

Use a scribe or a center punch to make a divot inside the area you will pierce [PHOTO 6]. Drill a pilot hole with a #56 (0.046-in./1.18 mm) drill bit at the divot [PHOTO 7]. Use a jeweler’s saw with a 2/0 blade to pierce the “peek-a-boo” window in the center of each triangle. 

Peek a boo pearl earrings s7
Photo 7

Drill a pilot hole with a #56 (0.046-in./1.18 mm) drill bit at the divot [PHOTO 7]. Use a jeweler’s saw with a 2/0 blade to pierce the “peek-a-boo” window in the center of each triangle.

For complete project instructions, click here to download & print this PDF

Peek a boo pearl earrings 3
Designed by Beth Ehler
Peek a boo pearl earrings 4
Designed by Hazel Wheaton
Design alternatives
The techniques used in this project can be applied in many different ways. Here are a few different designs using the same basic techniques.
FIND MORE: earrings , metal , roll printing

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