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Tips for Finishing Pressed Jewelry Components

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

Double Loop Damask Earrings with Amethyst Drops




Saw out the earring shapes.


You will first need to saw out the earrings from the Teardrop Earrings Pressing using a jeweler's saw.


Metal Maven used a pair of earring components from the Teardrop Earrings Sterling Silver Pattern Pressing. Click on the photo below to order the sterling silver or copper pressing used in this tutorial.





Drill holes and remove burrs.

The earring pressings have a depressed area in the middle of each loop that you can use as a guide for drilling holes for ear wires and jump rings. Be sure to remove the burrs after drilling the holes using a round bur bit. See the photo below from the Dragonflies in Tall Grass Earrings tutorial.


A handy way to easily remove the burrs is to use a round bur bit that is sightly larger than your hole. Hold the bur bit with your fingers and put the head of the bit against the hole and twist. Keep twisting until all of the burr is removed. This technique will leave a smooth edge around your hole. See photo below.





Patina

Add Patina using Liver of Sulfur, Gosiba, or your choice of blackening agent. Metal Maven uses Gosiba.


Using Gosiba

When using Gosiba, pour a small amount in a small plastic container that comes with a lid that seals well.  It is not necessary to heat the Gosiba, the direction say to use it at room temperature.  Dip your piece in the Gosiba for a few seconds and then rinse with cold water. Metal Maven uses a 6” piece of thin stainless steel binding wire folded in half to thread though the loops of earrings and pendants so she can hold onto the ends of the wire while dipping her pieces in the Gosiba. After dipping your pieces close the small plastic container with the tight fitting lid - you can re-use it many times!



Hone and Highlight

Using Hone and Highlight is Metal Maven's TIME SAVING tip for finishing edges and removing the blackening from the high spots on jewelry components. Metal Maven and her hubby who has become her new apprentice, LOVE this product because the blackening in the recessed areas will not be removed! Using this method saves you a lot of time and effort because you can SKIP the steps of filing the edges and sanding to remove the patina from the high spots!!! YAY!!! HAPPY DANCE!!!


Here are the steps for finishing with Hone and Highlight:

1) Load your rotary tumbler half full with Hone and Highlight media.

2) Add water just to the top of the media.

3) Add a drop or two of Blue Dawn Dish Washing Liquid.

4) Tumble for 1 hour and check your pieces. If all the blackening is not removed from the high spots and the edges are not smooth enough, continue tumbling for an additional 30 minutes. Repeat as necessary, but check every 30 minutes.

WARNING - do not leave your pieces in Hone and Highlight for extended periods of time! Metal Maven left a set of earrings in Hone and Highlight overnight. The edges came out too rounded and some of the image was worn away.


There are several tricks and tips, plus usage information on the Hone and Highlight website.


Where to find Hone and Highlight Tumbling Media:


https://honeandhighlight.com/products/hone-highlight-tumbling-medium





Make it SHINE!

After the earrings come out of the Hone and Highlight, they will have a matte finish. If you prefer the matte finish, you can skip this step.


To give your pieces a high polish after they come out of the Hone and Highlight, use a rotary tumbler with stainless steel shot. Metal Maven mixed her own stainless steel media using ellipse, oval, ballcone, and diagonal shaped media. She does not use a mixture that contains pins because the pins tend to leave tiny marks on the metal and they remove too much of the patina from the recessed areas of the piece.


Tip: Sometimes flat pieces will stick to the flat areas of your tumbler container which could cause them to only get polished on one side. If you notice this happening, check your tumbler container every 15 minutes or so, stop your tumbler and shake the tumbler container until the stuck pieces break loose from the tumbler walls. Metal Maven uses a rotary tumbler with a clear acrylic barrel so it is easy to see if pieces are sticking to sides.


You can find a clear tumbler and stainless steel shot on riogrande.com:


https://www.riogrande.com/product/dura-bull-single-barrel-rotary-tumbler-kit/202209


https://www.riogrande.com/product/stainless-steel-shot-5-32-ellipse/339091


https://www.riogrande.com/product/stainless-steel-shot-5-32-oval/339096gp


https://www.riogrande.com/product/stainless-steel-shot-1-8-ballcone/339095gp


https://www.riogrande.com/product/stainless-steel-shot-1-8-diagonal/339092gp



Tumble your pieces for 2 to 4 hours in this mix.



Complete the pieces.

Add a bead or drop component to the bottom of each piece. Metal Maven used Sterling Silver wire to form a hanging loop on the amethyst drops and attached them with jump rings. It's always a good practice to solder the jump rings!


The final step is to add sterling silver ear wires. For this set of earrings, Metal Maven used Sterling Silver Heavy Ear Wire with Loops from Rio Grande.


https://www.riogrande.com/product/sterling-silver-heavy-ear-wire-with-loop/630636


For tips on how to open an ear wire loop and adding an ear wire to your piece, check out the tutorial on making a pair of Dragonflies in Tall Grass earrings.


https://www.metal-maven.com/post/dragonflies-in-tall-grass-earrings











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