I've always loved inlaid sterling silver jewelry from the southwest. But it's not very cost effective to buy when on a budget. So I decided to make a necklace that has 3 of the elements found in it (silver, turquoise and coral), but you don't have to be a silversmith to create it.
13 Turquoise round tube beads
35 Coral sphere beads
Sterling Silver chain (measure where you want it to fall on your neck)
13 2" long Sterling silver head pins
1 Sterling Silver Jump-ring (open, not soldered shut)
1 Sterling Silver Clasp
Round nose pliers
Depending on speed- 1 hour
Step 1: Laying Out the Design
Measure how much sterling silver chain you will need. I buy my chain in bulk, but you don't have to do that. Take a piece of non stretchable string and measure around your neck. Remember, you are also measuring where you want the necklace to lay around your neck, so unless you want a choker, leave some slack. Also add an inches or two, just in case you want it longer when you finish.
First, layout your beads and head-pins. You can follow my design below or create your own. I put 4 head-pins on each side with a Red-Turquoise-Red pattern, so that is 8 in all with that pattern. The middle 5 head pins I kept adding coral beads on top so that there was a slight slope, which when added with the slop of the chain makes a very nice chevron pattern.
Step 2: Applying the Headpins to the Chain
All your beads are on their head-pins and your pattern is set, find the center of the piece of chain you cut. This is where the center of your design will be.
Now find the distance between each link in the chain to the next head-pin. I put mine 12 links apart. You can use more or less depending on your design. Image one shows each of the head-pins laid out on the chain.
Next you will need to know how to make a wire wrapped loop. The second image below shows each of 4 steps to get the loop.
First is straight, then kink the wire to the left with round nose pliers, leaving a small space so the beads don't actually touch the kink.
Second, build off the first kink by taking this kink between the round nose pliers and bending the wire around to the right 180 degrees, and then further down.
Now slide this on the chain. If this is the first one, place in the center on your chain. If it is a side, count up the number of chain links till you get to the correct one and slide the wire through it.
After this comes the wrapping. Wrap the excess wire above the bead, but below the loop. Depending on how far up you started the loop determines how many times you will wrap the wire around the base. I usually leave enough space for 2-3 wraps. Cut the excess with your wire cutters and smooth the end down with your round nose pliers.
Now just do that for every head-pin you need to place on the chain. Make sure to count, and make sure you slide it on the chain before you begin to wrap it. Now you have all the head-pins on the chain.
Step 3: Attaching the Clasp
The final step is connecting the jump-ring and clasp to the ends of the chain.
The clasp I have opens on the small end. GENTLY ease it open a mm or 2 with your round nose pliers and slide the last link of the necklace in and slide it down. I try to always put the clasp on the right side because my right hand is dominant and it is easier to put my jewelry on this way. Now VERY carefully with very small force use your pliers to shut the small gap you made.
The jump ring for me is more difficult. You do the same thing as above, open gently and slip the chain on and close. But sometimes I press a little too hard and it goes smush. So if you are having problems with either of these use your pliers to open the jump-ring so the meeting ends go left and right, then close it back together by pressing the opposite direction. But this means you have to hold the jump-ring very tight in your other hand to open it, which I can't always do and I don't have a vise.
If both these ways are too difficult, then they do have a keyring like jump-ring that you can open and slide the chain on like a key. They sell these in craft stores are are my last resort which works well.
So that's it! Hope you enjoy your new Southwestern inspired Necklace! Cheers!