Saturday, October 29, 2011

handmade holidays, the early edition: It's a cinch!

Oh, I love it when a plan works out! These cinched quartz earrings from anthropologie were SO easy to make. Let me show you how!

You'll need:
hollow brass rod, approx 1/4" diameter (from the hardware store!)
wire/metal cutters
metal file
needle-nose pliers
a strong but flexible epoxy appropriate for metal and stone
2 quartz points (drilled or not is fine)
14k gold filled jump rings (2) and ear wires (2)

since the original earrings were about 2" long overall, and it looked like the brass "cinch" took up about half the length, I cut two 2" pieces of my hollow brass rod (because this is going to be folded in half).

next, use your hammer and anvil to flatten those pieces of rod. Hammer the ends a bit flatter than the rest to really seal the rod into a flat bit of brass, and to give you some extra width to play with when you file.

Use your metal file to round the edges of the hammered piece so they are smooth, not jagged. Then use needle-nose pliers to fold in half - you want a gentle loop at the top, not a tight crease. Use the metal file to rough up the brass on the inside of this "cinch," as this will help ensure adhesion when you apply the epoxy/glue.

If your quartz points are too long, you can gently tap the ends with a hammer on your anvil and gradually chip away some of the length, leaving blocky points like the ones I have (yes, I hammered mine to achieve this proportion). Then, make sure your "cinches" fit tightly around your quartz points. My cinches closed quite tightly, so I'd have to kind of wedge the quartz into them - this is good.

Once you've guaranteed a tight fit, remove the quartz stones from the cinches.

Place a drop of glue/epoxy (I used Gorilla Glue's superglue gel, as it promised flexible hold for metal and stone, was suitable for indoor/outdoor usage, low temps, and in humidity, etc.) on either side of your quartz stone where the cinch will come into contact with it. Carefully wedge the stone back into the cinch. Do your best to avoid smearing the glue about so you don't end up with detritus stuck to your earrings.

Let these dry overnight. I stuck pins into my dress form at an angle and hung the cinched quartz bits, free of contact with anything, to dry.

The next day, add jump rings and ear wires. Note: if you're really smart, feed your jump ring onto the cinch before glueing the stone in. I got very lucky that the jump rings I bought fit - but what if they hadn't? I would've had to start all over, boo.

and that's it!

A group of my girlfriends receives care packages every year with a little jewelry surprise tucked in amidst the pickles and jams; I hope you all are into the brass-and-sparkle? I think this is the theme of this year's gifts!


Anonymous said...

Very clear tutorial, Sarah, and great results!

Jennifer said...

I like your version better! Excellent tutorial, too!

It's funny, an Anthro necklace was the thing that started my interest in making jewelry... About a decade ago I saw a beaded necklace in one of their shops that was very expensive for what was involved, so I thought, "I can make that!". I did, and the rest, as they say, is history ;)

Stephanie said...

I am so giddy you posted this! I was drooling after these earrings in the Anthro catalog, wishing I had $128 extra dollars laying around.

fleur_delicious said...

Stephanie - thanks for stopping by! Do you think you will give this a try yourself? I'd love to see a link if you do!

Katie said...

These are great. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

these are absolutely amazing! Great work! Do you know what size jump rings you used? I'm having a hard time figuring out what size to order but want to make these for my girlfriends in NYC :)

Anonymous said...

Love these!

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Teos4U said...

Thank you for sharing your experience. I'll try to do it!