Jewelry Making Technique:
This weeks jewelry making technique is the technique for adding a special kind of bead called a briolette to a jewelry project. The earring shown at right uses tourmaline beads (on sale from Soft Flex Company) including a central bead, called a briolette. The body of the earring was made to mimic the shape of the briolette, but this creates a problem as the earring body is made to hang a bead vertically from the central loop, while the briolette bead is made with a horizontal hole through the top of the bead. Mounting the briolette in this earring required a custom wire component.
In the close up picture of the briolette at right, one can see that the wire through the briolette is horizontal, while it hangs from a loop directly above the center of the bead. The wire component that allows this bead to hang was made from a fine gauge wire (26 gauge) for two reasons. First, it is easier to shape the wire as required with fine gauge wire. Second, the tourmaline was not drilled large enough to accommodate 24 gauge wire but could accommodate 26 gauge wire.
The way the wire hanger for the briolette was made is relatively easy, although certainly not a beginner's project. A piece of wire about 4 inches long was inserted horizontally into the briolette with about 1 1/4 inch sticking out the left side and the remainder of the wire on the right side of the briolette. Both sides of the wire were bent up until they formed an "X" about 1/8" above the bead. The right hand side of the X was grasped with bent chain nose pliers on the side allowing some room, and the wire was bent vertically. Grab the wire so that after bending the wire, it is vertical aligned with the center-line of the bead. The left hand side of the "X" was then wrapped around the now vertical wire about 2 to 3 times and the excess wire was cut off and tucked in. At this point, you hang the bead just like you would any bead on a head-pin. In the close-up shown, this bead was hung with a wrapped loop.
Hopefully, this description will make sense. For those who need more instructions, please select here for our instructions on how to hang a Briolette Bead using common jewelry tools.