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JLynn has been in the Art, Craft & Jewelry industry for over 30 years ~ promoting creativity through Education and Media. As a published designer, JLynn is known for her detailed, colorful Jewelry, unique Altered ART Wood Tiles, and Artwork. Online since 2004, a former eBay Power Seller, and currently on Artfire and Etsy. Family, Art, Nature and Kaleidoscopes are her biggest inspirations

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tips for Jewelry Shopping and Designing...

Repaired Swarovski/Garnet Sterling Silver Earrings

Sometimes for family...I give in and repair Earrings...even when they are not my designs LOL.  Since I've taught jewelry design and other creative classes for decades...this is a little Tip I'd like to share for all my fellow jewelry designers (whether you are seasoned or just starting out) OR for those of you that purchase jewelry at craft shows...this will help you know what to look for in choosing designs that are quality products and made to last.

Having taught Jewelry and many other creative classes for decades, I thought I'd share a quick little tip and lesson on using the proper gauge wire and taking the time to practice your wire wrapping technique.  The below picture is how we started out yesterday...
These earrings were originally made with Sterling Silver findings, average grade Garnet gemstones and Swarovski Crystals in a simple stacked drop design.  Whoever originally made these...had good intentions I'm sure - but unfortunately didn't choose the proper wire gauge or use correct finishing techniques on their wire wrapped loops.

Take note of the earring in the forefront...you'll notice that the Headpin is completely in tact at the base.  So what happened?  The unknown designer chose a higher gauge wire (26 gauge in this case), which is allowed the Swarovski Crystal and bead cap to simply "slip" right off the headpin.  When choosing your headpin take care to "test" to make sure the tip has a large enough diameter to accommodate your bead (when purchasing - look at the base bead and make sure that the headpin completely covers the opening).  Larger Swarovski Crystals have a slighly larger opening then a 4mm and below...so most of the time when I'm working with 6mm and above, I'm using 22-24 gauge wire.  I repaired these earrings with 22 gauge headpins.

Let's discuss the wire wrapping...these were a good attempt...but needed just a wee bit more TLC in the wrapping and professionally finishing.
Tipster...practice your wire wrapping techniques so that your wraps are even and not on an angle...and make sure that you cut your wire end flush and professionally tuck - otherwise you run the risk of losing repeat customers due to your creations falling apart or hurting your customers (sharp ends). 

Check out my online Tutorials for step by step visual instructions designed to assist you in improving your technique and knowledge of how to spot quality jewelry creations.

Close-up of finished repair...even wire wraps on 22 gauge Sterling Silver headpins with properly cut and tucked wire ends
HAPPY DESIGNING or SHOPPING!  

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