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Monday, October 22, 2012

Earring Tutorial - Pear Filagree

I have an addiction to Pinterest.  There are so many wonderful pictures of wire jewelry to spark the imagination.  Once I find a design that calls to me I become challenged to recreate the piece, which usually comes out a wee bit different, with my spin on the design.   I followed a link on Pinterest, that lead me to Etsy, that lead me to KariLuJewelry, which is the shop name for the beautiful creations by Karissa Mohr.  I adore her designs.

So I accepted my own personal challenge, to see if I could recreate a pair of earrings that grabbed my attention.  My design has a slight variation with the shape and I think my wire gauge is smaller.  Since I really like them, I decided that I would take pictures of the process, just to document for myself.  But then, as before, I thought I would post the tutorial here on my blog, just in case someone else wanted to give them a try.

18 gauge wire
20 gauge wire (because the 18 gauge wouldn't fit through my gemstone beads and I didn't want to drill the holes.)


My handy dandy leather sound muffler thingy, or a folded towel.  Plus my steel block, perhaps yours doesn't have as many scares in it (I really need to clean this one up).  And, a jewelry hammer.  I know, I know, your looking at this and thinking to yourself 'Isn't that a hammer from the hardware store?"  Yup!  Very high tech!  One day I'll get a jewelry hammer.  In the meantime, let's pretend the marks in my wire are intention.  My artistic licence to give pieces an organic feel. Ha!
What the heck!?  Now you will need a mandrel that measures 2.0 meters in diameter, that's 'about' 1 1//2 inches.  I used the #20 punch from my dapping set.  Because I didn't know what the #20 meant, I used my sliding millimeter gauge to measure.  Yup!  #20 means 2.0 meters.  Go figure!

The indispensable Sharpie and a ruler.  And, you guessed it, my favorite ruler was a freebie from years ago.  I've been hoping for a 2nd ruler to come in my order, but no such luck.

I used the 2nd step on my small step pliers, but you can use your sliding millimeter gauge to find the 3.5 mm area on your round nose pliers.

And without further ado......The team of best hand tools...starting at one o'clock, chain nose pliers, small round nose pliers, flush cutters, flat tip pliers and nylon jaw pliers for straightening wire.
Now to get down to business.....

Flush cut a 6" piece of 18 gauge wire.  Straighten it.  Use your Sharpie to mark the 3" center.
Use your flat nose pliers to make a sharp 90 degree angle.  This angle will help to make both of your shapes consistent.
Place the 90 degree wire on the round portion of your dapping punch or mandrel.  Hold the wire in place with you fingers against the mandrel.  You want to make sure that you do not lose that 90 degree angle.  The top bend in the wire will not touch the mandrel.  It will stick out a bit.  Now use your free hand to push the wire ends around the mandrel to form this shape. Bringing the wire straight upward adds a needed curve to the very bottom of the end wires.

Using the 2nd step (3.5 mm) of the small step pliers, or the spot on your round nose pliers, make outward loops on each end of the wire.

Use your chain nose pliers to form open spirals that look like the above.  There is one complete circle in the center and a half open circle.  The space is about the size of the wire diameter and the tips of the wire are now facing downward.
Place the center of the small round nose pliers at the base of your form.  You will have 2 wires in the pliers.  Make sure your pliers are centered to align with the top bend, or your form will be wonky.  Keep the pliers in place with your dominate hand and use the fingers from your other hand and grasp one of the spirals and pull it across the top of the pliers.  Now you will have this form.
Put the middle of the small round nose pliers back into the same place.  Hold the pliers to secure the wire and use your fingers from your free hand to move the other spiral over to the other side.  Now you will have this shape.
Use your fingers to gently pull the bottom part of the form slightly apart.  Here's a picture with a good mistake. I didn't line up the pliers with the center, directly under the top bend.  This put too much wire on one side.  Some magical tweaking is in store.
Now it's time to get rid of some of your pent up anger or frustration.  Use your hammer to work harden your form and to give it a nice finished look.  I'm thinking of trying to hammer the spirals a bit more next time and seeing if I like the look.  Oh, the possibilities.

Now use your fingers to gently move your shape back to where the curves will over lap each other to the size of the middle of your round nose pliers. 
Now take some 20 gauge wire and your favorite beads or charms and add a wrapped looped dangle to the center of this opening.
Here's another example of the final earrings.  Can you see where I made a mistake?  The earring on the left has a larger center loop.  I must have used a different spot on my small round nose pliers, or I didn't press my wire down snug to the pliers.

Now let's see if these beauties will sell for me.
Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog.  Have a wonderful day full of laughter and smiles. Linda


  1. Replies
    1. Neva, I'm glad you like these. Enjoy wearing your new earrings. Linda

  2. These are so pretty! Just found your blog today, so am now a new follower. Christie

  3. Hi Charis, Thank you for being a follower. I'm now a follower of your blog. It's so much fun to find other wire jewelry artisans and their blogs.

  4. Wonderful and thank you for sharing this with us all your tutes are great and you are so great!

    1. Hi Nancy, Thank you for your compliment. I am happy that you have enjoyed the tutorial. Enjoy making jewelry.


Thank you for your kind words. I'll answer any of your questions very soon. Linda