Silvio’s Workbench – French Wire With a Twist

Friday, 3:30 pm

“I am about ready to solder the bezel for a pair of earrings I am working on. Do you want to take a picture?” asks Silvio.

Bezels on Soldering Blocks

At The Soldering Bench

As is often the case with custom design, conversation about these earrings began several months ago, when a client who spends her time between a home in Vermont and one abroad stopped in to visit and mentioned gemstones she might want to use from a necklace her mother had passed on to her.

“I made her a gold ring with a very nice Idaho Opal about two years ago,” recalls Silvio. “This time, she brought me two diamonds and two golden topaz. These are perhaps the rarest in the topaz family. The diamonds are probably from the 1920’s and the topaz appear to be from the same period. You can tell from the style of the cut.”

Diamonds & Golden Topaz

Notice, in the sketch below, the shape of the French wire on each earring. This is the name of the part that goes in the ear lobe. Conventionally, this would be a straight wire, especially in commercial earrings. It is much less labor intensive to make a straight wire. “So many people lose their earrings because of a straight French wire, so I slightly zig-zag mine. It goes in as easily, but will not come out unless you actually pull it out.”

Sketch Showing Stay-Put French Wire

The next time you stop by the shop, ask Silvio about the estate jewelry collection he has on display. It was brought in by the same client for whom he is making these earrings. Many of the pieces are quite stunning and a great opportunity to learn a lot about jewelry and also, in many ways, about society.


About PS MacMurray

Paschal'Simon MacMurray, the scribe, specializes in providing a no nonsense Facebook and Blog presence for small business owners who want quality without breaking the bank. PS MacMurray, the artisan, creates art on a whim using fabric, paper, beads, twine and wire. View all posts by PS MacMurray

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