Archive | Design

How to Make a Quick Bail for a Pendant

Have you ever made or found a piece of jewelry and said to yourself “self, this would make a great pendant.” Well today I will show you a quick way to make a nice bail to solder onto a piece and turn it into a pendant.

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In this instance, I am going to use a piece of silver that is about 0.9mm thick and 3.5mm wide. The plan is to wrap the silver around something round to give it shape. Here I used a Brass Rod that is 3mm in diameter, but depending on the chain you are going to use, you can make it larger or smaller. I annealed the silver first to make it more malleable, then I wrap the silver around the brass rod into a pear shape. I then trimmed off the excess with a Saw Frame and a 3/0 Saw Blade and filed the ends flat. You can also use brass, copper, gold, etc.

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After it is trimmed off I filed the inside edge with a #4 Equaling Needle File to give it more contact area when it is soldered. I then squeezed the bail together with a pair of Smooth Jawed Parallel Pliers to close it, I added Handy Flux and soldered the end with Silver Solder. I used a Mini Torch to do the soldering on propane and oxygen.

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After it is soldered, I file the edges a bit so the bail is tapered, which I just like the look better. I file the top edges a little as well to give it a softer rounded look. I used a #4 Flat Hand File to start, then moved to a #4 Barrette Needle File. I finished it off with 400 Grit and 600 Grit Sandpaper by hand. After I am happy with the look of the bail, I solder it to the piece I want and have a pendant.

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There you have it, a quick way to make and add a bail to a piece of jewelry and make a pendant.

As always, thanks for stopping by and if you find value in the info, share it with a friend. Also make sure you follow JewelryMonk on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the podcast on iTunes.

Now, get out there and make something stunning!


How to Transfer your Fingerprint to Jewelry

Have you ever wanted to protect your identity? What if you happen to forget who you are and need a little help? Need another form of ID? Well have I got an idea for you…… Fingerprint Jewelry!!!! OK, that is a little stretch, but if you have ever wanted to make a fingerprint image in metal, well, here is how I go about it.

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What you will need is a good image of the fingerprint you want to create. Either a high definition image from a camera or a high definition image from a scanner/copier. I had a customer send me a good image of their fingerprint and I could have just printed out the picture and used it, but since I use a CAD (computer design) program and the customer wanted a computer rendering, so I imported the picture into the program and made a line drawing of the image. Again, you can just print out the picture in the size you want and use it that way.

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I printed out the image in the size I wanted, a few copies actually, and cut out one of the image and used transparent tape to hold it to the silver piece I wanted to use. In this case I used a piece of sheet silver approximately 1mm thick. First I use an old bur, sharpened to a very sharp point, and make small dimple marks through the paper, along the outer border of the piece. I remove the paper and trim, file, and finish the outer edge of the piece.

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Next, when I get the piece in the “shape” I want, I taped the image to the silver piece with transparent tape again and repeat the “Dimpling” process, making small marks along the lines. You might want to work in segments to make sure you are getting the look you want. After I have a few lines marked out, I use a 0.5mm Ball Bur to grind along the outline marked out. Make sure to use a high speed with your Foredom Machine and plenty of Bur Lubricant, this will keep the bur from getting out of control and making marks where you do not want them. Grind about 1/3 of the way into the silver, deep enough that when you polish, you will not polish away the marks.

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Once the engraving is all finished, you can either solder a bail on the top, or drill a hole in the piece and hang the pendant from a loop.

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There you go, now you will never be lost again, but I make no promises.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope this ignites your creativity, if it does and you decide to make something similar, make sure you stop by the JewelryMonk Facebook site and post pictures.

Now, go make your imprint on the world.


How to Make a Twisted Wire Design (Part 1)

Usually I am showing a project with silver, just because it is my second nature, but today I will break out some copper and play a little with that. I will eventually finish it with some silver as well, but today I want to show you a neat, quick way to make a twisted wire design.

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First get yourself a piece of Copper Wire, depending on the size you want is the size you will want to start with. The piece I chose is 1.35mm round (about 16 gauge), which I stripped the coating off of, used a draw plate to reduce the size a little, and then I annealed the copper to make it easier to work with. I bent the copper wire in half and placed the 2 ends into my #30 Foredom Handpiece

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Use a steel bar or something firm to place in the other end (the loop end). Hold and pull away from the handpiece as you slowly rotate the wire with the Foredom Motor. Rotate until you get the “tightness” of the twist you are satisfied with. Experiment with different tightnesses of wires.

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You can use the wire just as it is, but in this demonstration I am going to flatten the twisted wire in a Rolling Mill. Again you can flatten this wire to the thickness you like. in this demonstration, I rolled it down to 1.1mm thickness, which made it 2.75mm wide.

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The rolling process gives the twisted wire a neat, braided, rope-like look. Again, with a tighter or looser wrap of the wires, it will give you a different look. Get some wires and play around. I have even twisted 3 or 4 wires together and did this.

As always, I look forward to your feedback:

1. You can comment here or at JewelryMonk on Facebook, and I or someone else in the community will try and help.

2. You can send me an email at and I will try to help.

3. You can send a “VoiceMail” by clicking the “Send Voicemail” tab on the right side of the website. These I will try to answer, or find someone who can on the JewelryMonk Podcast. (Either on the website or on iTunes)

Either way, I and others are here to help you hone your skills as a jeweler and as a member of the JewelryMonk Community.

Thanks again for stopping by.

Now go show the world what you have in store for them!


Creating a Black Background or Antiqued Background

Sometimes texturing doesn’t give me the contrast I am looking for, I want something a little more “drastic”. In this case, I will add a little a little Black Background or Antiquing, so today I will demonstrate how I accomplish this.

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I have a number of 10cc Syringes that I kept when I used to have to give my dog injections. I am sure you can order these though. The first thing I do is grind off the sharp end and trim it to a point to get into small areas. I do this with a Separating Disc.

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Next I pull out the “plunger” out of the syringe and add Mineral Oil to the rubber part. This makes it easier to dispense the paint. I use Rust-Oleum High Heat Bar-B-Q Black Paint. Take off the tip, place the end of the syringe into the paint, and suck some paint into the syringe. According to how much you will be painting, you don’t need a lot of paint.

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Once you have the paint in the syringe, you will want to get rid of any air pockets and bubbles. Place the needle on the syringe, and dispense paint until the air and bubbles are gone. Do this onto a paper towel. Next apply to the piece you want to paint. Start slowly, and in larger areas, you might need to add 2 or more layers to cover good. This works much better if there is a border all the way around the area you want painted, but not absolutely necessary.

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I like to use Flat Black in most cases, but you can use a gloss finish if you like, even other colors.

As always, thanks for stopping by and If you find value in this content, or if you like to keep up to date on the goings-on here, make sure to Subscribe to this Blog Via Email (link in the upper right corner at also check out the JewelryMonk Podcast either on this website, or on iTunes.

Now, go make something Spectacular!!


Day 49 Jewelry Design Layout

The past few days we have been looking at polishing jewelry and different techniques of polishing. (Gloves are a BAD idea by the way)

Well, today let’s take a break from that and change gears. Today let’s talk about Design Layout and a few  easy tools to help you in that.

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The first tool I use is just a round disc that I have engraved lines to break it into quarters, and one line that separates one of the quarters in half. I use this to help me layout rings if I need to find the half way portion of the ring or a 45 degree mark from the top. This comes in handy in laying out stones, reshanking a ring, or just finding quadrants of a circle.

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The next layout tool I use is similar, but is broken into eighths, or 45 degree marks, and a series of circles from ring size 6 – 10. I just print these out and tape them to a piece of thin cardboard for ease. They work for rings or for anything round to find symmetrical points.

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Lastly I have a grid that I have made that is marked in 2mm increments. I have this printed and taped to a thin piece of cardboard as well. I use this to help line up pieces and mark pieces vertically and horizontally. I have one of these taped to the inside of my bench drawer as well for quick reference.

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I did these designs on my CAD program and have made them downloadable and printable for all, just print them, cut them out and use them. I either have them laminated or do it myself with clear tape. I keep a few of them around.      Click on the link below.

JewelryMonk Layout Guide

Thanks for stopping by and have an Awesome day.

BTW, it is Summer and the Weekend, now go “Layout” haha