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Thread: Earring back design and construction question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    Default Earring back design and construction question

    Hi All,

    This is my first post. I'm planning to make a pair of earrings for my wife, but hope you may be able to help with a few matters.

    My design is a bird shaped outline, cut out of some 0.5 mm (25 ga) polished brass or copper sheet, with some coloured markings on the front (possibly hand painted or enameled). The outline is approx. 17 mm wide and 35 mm tall (11/16 x 1 3/8"). Suggestions are welcome if this sounds like a bad idea.

    However, my primary question is how best to add an ear attachment:
    1. solder earring post to back (pre-made?)
    2. french hook (pre-made?). If so, how could this be achieved without punching a hole through the sheet brass? I presume a hook or loop of some kind would need to be soldered to the back near the top - what would be the best way? Then, would I use a jump ring to attach to the french hook?

    The above question relates to choosing an option that looks good, would be practical and comfortable to wear, and not too difficult or time-consuming to make. I've soldered and made a couple of plain rings before, but that's the extent of my jewellery making experience. I've never made or worn earrings before so any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    You can solder a post on the back but that will mean the earring is static and has no movement. I would solder the ring to the top rather than the back so that the wire is free from the earring or my customers also like a long wire soldered to the top and formed into shape. It depends really how you imagine them to look. Do you want them long or short, dangly or static. You could solder a ring at the top then add a wire to that to affix an ear wire to, so many variations.what kind of earrings does your wife like to wear? Here are 3 examples
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  3. #3
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    Alistair, I would not be best to comment on techniques but think abt metal choice for earring. Brass is not best metal for putting into ear. and copper too can be quite nasty. use gold plated prefab fittings if you need gold metal..

  4. #4
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    Wow, just the info I needed; thanks!

    Caroline, I think the techniques in your second or third example would work well, as they avoid visually altering the outline of the bird shape and are very simple to implement.

    Anna, I should be able to use some gold plated pre-made fittings or wire - or perhaps sterling silver; good point, thanks.

    Alistair.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlistairWitt View Post
    Wow, just the info I needed; thanks!

    Caroline, I think the techniques in your second or third example would work well, as they avoid visually altering the outline of the bird shape and are very simple to implement.

    Anna, I should be able to use some gold plated pre-made fittings or wire - or perhaps sterling silver; good point, thanks.

    Alistair.
    A top ring allows you to do almost anything with the earring and movement in the birds would be pretty. I would go with silver wires if you don’t mind the colour contrast, it’s preferable not to have copper or brass against the skin. You haven’t thought about making them in silver, it wouldn’t cost very much? Good luck

  6. #6
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    Interesting, I had ruled out silver as I my initial searches were showing about $80 for a large enough piece of sheet, but you've prompted me to look again and I've found a much cheaper supplier. Would you suggest fine, sterling or argentium silver? Also, does 0.5 mm sound about right?

    For some extra context, I've included a snip of the design (though it yet may be tweaked a bit). Sorry, I ought to have included this in the first post.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I thought the ring on top may look like the bird has a blob on top of its head, but perhaps if it's not soldered on the edge of the sheet, but instead on the back extending over the top this might preserve the shape of the front edge.

    I wouldn't mind the colour contrast between brass/copper and silver at all, but I suspect the silver would present less of a problem with tarnishing (and therefore re-polishing) over time. Would that be correct?

    Alistair

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlistairWitt View Post
    Interesting, I had ruled out silver as I my initial searches were showing about $80 for a large enough piece of sheet, but you've prompted me to look again and I've found a much cheaper supplier. Would you suggest fine, sterling or argentium silver? Also, does 0.5 mm sound about right?

    For some extra context, I've included a snip of the design (though it yet may be tweaked a bit). Sorry, I ought to have included this in the first post.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	EarringColourSnip.jpg 
Views:	8 
Size:	5.3 KB 
ID:	11684

    I thought the ring on top may look like the bird has a blob on top of its head, but perhaps if it's not soldered on the edge of the sheet, but instead on the back extending over the top this might preserve the shape of the front edge.

    I wouldn't mind the colour contrast between brass/copper and silver at all, but I suspect the silver would present less of a problem with tarnishing (and therefore re-polishing) over time. Would that be correct?

    Alistair
    Fine silver would be too soft. I haven’t used Argentinium but people do seem to like it for its anti tarnish properties. i would go a bit thicker with .7 even 8. The beak is quite fine so you need a bit of body. You can always thin it down to sculpt it if needed. If you don’t use colour you could solder wires on as the accents, even using copper wire on silver or you might be able to get a wee bit of gold at a reasonable price.
    You’d be able to get a good polish on silver and they just need cleaned with polish or silver dip. Copper will get really dingy looking. If the ring seems too strange on the top of the head you could solder a vertical textured wire on the back as if it’s in a branch and solder the ring further up for the fitting,similar to the third earrings but on the back not the front. Sorry I’m designing your earrings now. It’s a nice simple shape
    Last edited by CJ57; 16-11-2018 at 03:09 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ57 View Post
    Fine silver would be too soft. I haven’t used Argentinium but people do seem to like it for its anti tarnish properties. i would go a bit thicker with .7 even 8. The beak is quite fine so you need a bit of body. You can always thin it down to sculpt it if needed. If you don’t use colour you could solder wires on as the accents, even using copper wire on silver or you might be able to get a wee bit of gold at a reasonable price.
    You’d be able to get a good polish on silver and they just need cleaned with polish or silver dip. Copper will get really dingy looking. If the ring seems too strange on the top of the head you could solder a vertical textured wire on the back as if it’s in a branch and solder the ring further up for the fitting,similar to the third earrings but on the back not the front. Sorry I’m designing your earrings now. It’s a nice simple shape
    Thanks very much, this is super helpful. I can get 0.8 mm sheet Argentium, so I'll give that a go. I think I'll do the sheet cutout, then mock up a couple of the other options before soldering to visually assess before proceeding; however, I definitely think you've helped me progress towards some really good options. I'll try to follow up with some photos once I'm done.

    Alistair

  9. #9
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    Argentium is tarnish resistant and hypo-allergenic, but needs special care when hot, or it will shatter. The solder also needs practice, as it does not flow well. The easy is best.
    Please read this https://www.ganoksin.com/article/arg...-road-testing/ Dennis.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    Argentium is tarnish resistant and hypo-allergenic, but needs special care when hot, or it will shatter. The solder also needs practice, as it does not flow well. The easy is best.
    Please read this <URL> Dennis.
    Oh dear, I probably won't have much opportunity to practice, and nor do I have much experience. Thanks for the heads-up; I've checked out that link and will need to take extra care. I think I'll lean towards soldering on the back instead of top, such that it's more hidden.

    Alistair

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