Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings, Metalwork. Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, . Several years ago, I noticed a pair of bezel set pearl earrings on French hooks my friend Pat wore quite often.
Pat's Silver Domed Earrings
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Metalwork
  • Technique(s): Dapping, Filing / Finishing, Drilling, Twisting
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
Several years ago, I noticed a pair of bezel set pearl earrings on French hooks my friend Pat wore quite often. I wanted to make something with the same feeling. After just losing another earring because it is too difficult for my arthritic fingers to put ear nuts on ear wires, I wanted my design to be different but with a similar feeling as Pat's. I decided to incorporate a latch hook ear wire, made them all silver, and replaced the bezel with a ring.
How are you going to make these your own? Will you use mixed metals, textured metals, or change the size? Whatever you do, they are sure to become a favorite.

Materials

26 Gauge Dead Soft Argentium Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H19-26SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 3 Inches
  • Price: $56.66
  • Gold Club Price: $42.49
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20 Gauge Round Full Hard Argentium .930 Silver Wire
H19-20FH
  • Lesson Quantity: 5.00 inches
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $2.02
  • Gold Club Price: $1.52
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24 Gauge Square Half Hard Argentium .930 Silver Wire
H19-24SQH
  • Lesson Quantity: 8.00 inches
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $0.96
  • Gold Club Price: $0.72
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Tools

Small Disc Cutter, 7 Pieces
DAP-400.10
  • DAP-400.10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $46.95
  • Gold Club Price: $35.21
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Blazer Big Shot Torch
TRCH-8000
  • TRCH-8000
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $89.95
  • Gold Club Price: $67.46
Out of Stock
Silver Solder Paste Hard SS75 - 1/4 T.O.
SOL-822.20
  • SOL-822.20
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $19.95
  • Gold Club Price: $14.96
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Silver Solder Paste Medium SS70 - 1/4 T.O.
SOL-822.15
  • SOL-822.15
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $18.95
  • Gold Club Price: $14.21
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Silver Solder Paste Soft SS65- 1/4 T.O.
SOL-822.10
  • SOL-822.10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $16.95
  • Gold Club Price: $12.71
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Magnesia Soldering Block
SOL-455.00
  • SOL-455.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $7.95
  • Gold Club Price: $5.96
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Bench Block Helper with Steel and Nylon Blocks
DAP-500.30
  • DAP-500.30
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $29.95
  • Gold Club Price: $22.46
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Chain Nose Wire Plier
G2-508
  • G2-508
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
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C.H.P Milano Italian Flush Cutter, 5 1/2 Inches
PLR-487.00
  • PLR-487.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $14.97
  • Gold Club Price: $11.23
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Single Third Hand with Tweezer
HOL-165.00
  • HOL-165.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $10.97
  • Gold Club Price: $8.23
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Stainless Steel Ring Mandrel Sizes 1-15
G7-2
  • G7-2
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
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Liver of Sulfur 4 oz
SOL-600.04
  • SOL-600.04
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $14.97
  • Gold Club Price: $11.23
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5/8 Inch Double Rubber/Nylon Head Hammer - Pack of 1
G3-26
  • G3-26
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $4.97
  • Gold Club Price: $3.73
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Instructions
Step 1
Cut two 9/16" discs (approx. 15mm) and two 7/16" discs (appx. 11mm) from the 26 gauge sheet metal. Note: If changing the sizes of the discs, the smaller discs should be cut at least 1/8" (approx. 3.25mm) smaller than the larger discs because anything larger is difficult to dome small enough to fit inside the rings.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 2
Use a metal content stamp to mark the lower edge on the back side of each of the larger discs.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 3
Anneal, pickle, and dry the discs to make them easier to work with in the next few steps. Set the smaller discs aside for now.
Step 4
The edges of the larger discs are a bit sharp. The edges should be filed and then refined with sandpaper or sanding sponges.
Pro Tip: Sanding sponges from nail salons work great.
Step 5
Flatten the larger discs on a bench block with a rubber or plastic mallet.
Step 6:
Create the rings
18 gauge round wire:
A: Wrap the wire tightly around the 25/64" or 10mm mandrel. The wire will spring back a bit, creating a coil with a slightly larger diameter than the mandrel. Check the coil size against the larger disc. If it is too large, coil the wire around the next smaller mandrel and check the size again. Continue until the proper size is achieved.
B: Cut two rings from the coil. The domed smaller disc will easily fit inside the ring if it is properly cut. Make sure that both wire ends are cut flat with a flush cutter. Also make sure that each jump ring is the full circumference of the coil.
C: Match up the ends of the wire, making sure there is no space between the ends. If needed, file one or both ends flat.
D: Use a clean solder pick to place a small amount of hard paste solder on the seam. Hint: Since the jump rings are small, using a micro torch reduces the risk of a metal melting accident. Move the torch around each ring, keeping the tip of the blue part of the flame about ¼" above the soldering block surface and ¼" away from the outer edge of each ring (follow the red line). Continue until the solder flows. Immediately remove the flame. Wait for the rings to cool a bit before quenching. Hint: Cut an index card into smaller pieces to use to put small amounts (less than you think you will use so there is no waste) of solder on. Label with the types being uses so they are not confused.
E: Pickle, rinse and dry the rings.
F: Clean and refine the solder seam.
G: Slide one ring on a ring rounder or bezel mandrel. Use a plastic or rubber mallet to re-round the ring. Remove the ring from the mandrel and place it on a bench block. Use a plastic or rubber mallet to flatten it. Repeat for the other ring. Hint: If a ring rings needs to be enlarged, as one on the right does in the photo below, place it back on the mandrel and use the mallet to lightly hammer the top edge of the ring, pushing it down the mandrel. Be very careful as it is very easy to make it too large.
24 gauge twisted wire:
A: Fold the 24 gauge wire in half and twist until the twist is tight. A tight twist is necessary so that the wires will not come apart when cut into short lengths for the rings. Be careful to not go so far as to make the twist no longer noticeable. Hint: A easy alternative is to twist 18 or 20 gauge square wire. This wire should also have a tight twist.
B: Since the wire was work hardened during the twisting process, it will have too much of a spring to make the rings. Anneal, pickle, rinse and dry the twisted wire.
C: Wrap the twisted wire tightly around the 25/64" or 10mm mandrel. The wire will spring back a bit, creating a coil with a slightly larger diameter than the mandrel. Check the coil size against the larger disc. If it is too large, coil the wire around the next smaller mandrel and check the size again. Continue until the proper size is achieved.
D: Cut two rings from the coil. The domed smaller disc will not easily fit inside the ring if it is cut too small. A Lindstrom cutter, which makes relatively flush cuts on both sides, was used here. It causes less "squishing together" of the two twisted wires. Note: Do not use this cutter on round wire rings. Also make sure that each jump ring is the full circumference of the coil.
E: Match up the ends of the wire, making sure there is no space between the ends. It will be easier to match the ends if the ring is made into a more oval shape. Since there are two wires to match up, one end may need to be twisted a bit to accomplish this.
F: Use a clean solder pick to place a small amount of hard paste solder on the seam. Hint: Since the jump rings are small, using a micro torch reduces the risk of a metal melting accident. Move the torch around each ring, keeping the tip of the blue part of the flame about ¼" above the soldering block surface and ¼" away from the outer edge of each ring (follow the red line). Continue until the solder flows. Immediately remove the flame. Wait for the rings to cool a bit before quenching.
G: Pickle, rinse and dry the rings.
H: Slide one ring on a ring rounder or bezel mandrel. Use a plastic or rubber mallet to re-round the ring. Remove the ring from the mandrel and place it on a bench block. Use a plastic or rubber mallet to flatten it. Repeat for the other ring. Hint: If a ring rings needs to be enlarged, place it back on the mandrel and use the mallet to lightly hammer the top edge of the ring, pushing it down the mandrel. Be very careful as it is very easy to make it too large.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - Create the rings, Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - Create the rings, Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - Create the rings, Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 7
Dome the smaller discs: Place a smaller disk face down in a well where it fits about half way down in the dapping block. Choose an appropriate size dap for that well and dome the disk. Move to the next smaller well, choose and appropriate size dap for that well and dome again, making the domed disk have a smaller diameter. Continue in this manner, moving to smaller wells, until a ring constructed in Step 6 slides all the way down the domed disk. See how the rings do not sit flush with the surface of the mat in the first photo, but do in the second. Repeat this process with the other small disc.
Pro Tip: To avoid a mistake, use a piece of painters tape to mark the smallest well used when doming the small discs.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 8
Place the small domed disk on the 320 grit sandpaper on a bench block. Run the dome over the sandpaper in a figure eight motion to slightly flatten the bottom edge. It is not necessary to have a perfectly flat bottom.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 9
Use a triangle file to file a small notch on either side of the bottom of each domed disc. Why do this: When the dome is soldered into place, the air inside expands rapidly and needs to escape. If there is nowhere for it to go, it will seem to "explode" the dome into the air, which could cause injury. The little notches create a hole for the air to escape.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 10:
The pieces are now ready to be assembled:
Place the large discs right side up on a solder block.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - The pieces are now ready to be assembled:, Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 11
Use a clean solder pick to place small dots of medium paste solder on the bottom edge of one of the domes, avoiding the notches. Repeat with the other dome.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 12
Place a dome, solder side down, in the center of each disc. Don't worry if there is solder all over. It will be cleaned up later.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 13
Use a clean solder pick to place small amounts of medium paste solder around the edge of the dome on the large disc on each assembly.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 14
Place a ring over each dome and push into the paste solder. Holding the dome and ring in place, use a cotton swab to remove excess solder.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 15
Using a medium flame, move the torch around each unit, keeping the tip of the blue part of the flame about ¼" above the soldering block surface and ¼" away from the disc (follow the red line). Continue until the solder flows. Immediately remove the flame. Wait for the unit to cool a bit before quenching
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 16
Pickle, rinse and dry the pieces.
Step 17
Use an ultra fine point Sharpie to make a tic mark on the back of the earring centered below the metal content mark. Transfer the mark in the same place on the front of the earring.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 18
Center a soldered earring on a Circle Center Finder, matching the Sharpie mark with 6 o'clock on the center finder. Make a Sharpie mark at 12 o'clock and on either side at the line just below 3 and 9 o'clock. Repeat for the other earring.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 19
Transfer the marks in the same place on the back of each earring.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 20
Draw a Sharpie line from top to bottom on the back of each earring. Draw a Sharpie line connecting the other two marks on the back of each earring.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 21
Straighten and cut two 2½" long pieces of 20 gauge full hard wire. Make a 90 degree bend ¾" from one end of each wire for the latch hook. Note: The latch hook section is cut longer than needed because it may melt a bit during soldering if you are not careful.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 22
Use a clean solder pick to place easy paste solder on the center line above the line that goes side to side just below center.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 23
Dig a small well in the solder block. Place an earring domed side down in the well, making sure the flat disc is level with the surface of the block.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 24
Use a third hand to hold a wire in place on the solder on the back of the earring. Stacked pennies hold the long end of the wire up.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 25
Move a medium flame around the earring, keeping the tip of the blue portion of the flame about ¼" above the soldering surface and ¼" away from the edge of the earring, until the solder flows. It is very important to NOT run the flame over the wire, as it can too easily melt. The red line is where the flame should be moving during this step.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 26
Pickle, rinse and dry the piece.
Step 27
Repeat Steps 21 through 23 for the other earring.
Step 28
Cut the ¾" long latch hook wire back to ½".
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 29
Cut the long ear wire to 1-3/8" in length.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 30
Use a cup bur to round the latch hook and ear wire ends.
Step 31
Sand and polish each earring.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 32
Tumble the earrings for several hours in a tumbler with water and steel shot to work harden them. If the earrings are to be left bright and shiny, skip the next step.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 33
The earrings can be left bright and shiny, or they can be patinated with liver of sulfur. Neutralize the patina process on the earrings by placing them in baking soda water. Use 0000 steel wool to buff the pieces and bring out the highlights on the metal after patination. The earrings can be left with the soft brushed finish received with the use of steel wool or tumbled again for about 30 minutes to bring up a shine.
Step 34
Bend the long wire toward the front of the earring at a 45 degree angle.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 35
Place the tips of a chain nose pliers at the base of the ½" wire on the back of the earrings. Holding the pliers tips in place, bend one wire over the pliers tips toward the left at 45 degrees, and the other toward the right.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, ,  sterling domed earrings
Step 36
Roll the latch wire back toward the earring center over the smallest barrel on the 6-step barrel pliers to create the latch hook. My photo did not turn out, but the photo on the left shows how the latch hook is made. The photo on the right shows the latch hooks on two prototype earrings where the ear wire spanned the entire back of the earring.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 37
At the 3/8" mark, grasp the wire between the two middle barrels of the 6-step barrel pliers. Bend earring portion down over the larger of the two barrels on one side and the wire down on the other side of the larger barrel.
Step 38
Use the largest barrel on the 6-step barrel pliers to make a slight bend in the end of the ear wire.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings
Step 39
Place the earring wire on the edge of a bench block. Hammer the front curve to provide more stiffness to the ear wire. The ear wire in front has been hammered, the one in back has not.
Judy Larson's Pat's Silver Domed Earrings - , Metalwork, Dapping, Dapping Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, , sterling domed earrings