Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace, Contemporary Wire Jewelry. Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design. Sometimes, it starts with the bead.
The Shell Game Necklace
by Susan LeGuyader
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Technique(s): Making Loops, Design
  • Skill Level: Beginner
Sometimes, it starts with the bead. Or in this case, the shell. I love shell beads, I've had some wonderful ones pass through my hands and into designs that I still love today.
This necklace is all about the shells. The colors, the textures, the shine. While trying to decide what size of shell to use, I remember that I had bought a bag of shells from Rio Grande. Finding two that I thought would work together well, both in size and shape, I drew out the design that I had pictured in my mind.

Materials

20 Gauge Round Dead Soft Argentium .930 Silver Wire
H19-20D
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $2.54
  • Gold Club Price: $1.91
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18 Gauge Round Half Hard Argentium .930 Silver Wire
H19-18H
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $3.67
  • Gold Club Price: $2.75
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Tools

Chain Nose Wire Plier
G2-508
  • G2-508
  • Lesson Quantity: 2.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 2.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
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Acculoop Precision Round Nose
PLR-741.00
  • PLR-741.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $18.97
  • Gold Club Price: $14.23
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5 Inch Bent Nose Pliers
G2-125
  • G2-125
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $3.97
  • Gold Club Price: $2.98
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6 1/2 Inch Bail Making Pliers
G2-18
  • G2-18
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $12.78
  • Gold Club Price: $9.58
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5 1/2 Inch Nylon Flat Jaw Pliers with Replacement Jaws
G2-1
  • G2-1
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $9.97
  • Gold Club Price: $7.48
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Bench Blocks - 130 X 130 X 20
DUR-1187
  • DUR-1187
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $54.00
  • Gold Club Price: $40.50
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4oz Ball Peen Hammer with Wooden Handle
G3-36
  • G3-36
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $4.97
  • Gold Club Price: $3.73
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Xuron Flush Cutter - Pack of 1
G2-504
  • G2-504
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $19.95
  • Gold Club Price: $14.96
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Steel wool
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
12 Inch Stainless Steel Ruler
G7-30
  • G7-30
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $2.97
  • Gold Club Price: $2.23
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Instructions
Step 1
Drawing out a basic idea of your design gives some problem solving beforehand and in this case, where I wanted to place my capture locations. A capture is a frame or a type of cage, made of wire in this case, to hold a non-traditional bead or pendant for jewelry making. Captures can be made with a variety of materials such as: wire, sheet metal, cord or waxed linen, just to name a few.
This necklace is all about the shells. The colors, the textures, the shine. While trying to decide what size of shell to use, I remember that I had bought a bag of shells from Rio Grande. Finding two that I thought would work together well, both in size and shape, I drew out the design that I had pictured in my mind
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 2
After defining my design, I gathered the materials that I thought to use (Photo 4) and then gathered tools (Photo 5). By having everything ready to go, I can easily move from one section to another.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 3
I decided to use annealed steel wire for this, I love the rustic look of the wire, when cleaned it looks like patinated silver, but you have to clean it. When it comes off the spool, it will get everything dirty. Steel wool does a handy job of that (Photo 6).
Pro Tip: Steel wire is super hard and will damage your good wire cutters, your good hammers and your good bench block. Use old tools when working with steel and save your good stuff for non-ferrous metals.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 4
After cutting and cleaning roughly 24" of 20g wire, grab the freeform shell for the bottom of the necklace and hold it up against the middle of the wire. Carefully wrap two loops on each side of the shell and bring the wire under to hold the shell. Be as gentle as you can, the shell is fragile and could easily break with undue pressure of the wire of the tools.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 5
With each wire coming up from your capture, make a wrapped loop. After your loops are finished, pull the wire to the opposite side, tuck under the connecting wire on top, under the capture loops on the back to secure the shell. Do this on each side.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 6
With chain nose or bent nose pliers, make sure your wrapped loops are tight/snugged to each other. Cut excess wire close as you can. Then with bent nose pliers, tuck your cut ends close, so there are no rough edges.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 7
Check your wire work, make sure the shell cannot escape and is "captured" well. The back and forth wires across the top bring to mind the waves in the shell pattern. You can check your work by laying it on your drawing to see if you match up.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 8
The top shell is a bit trickier, as you need to create wrapped loops on each side of the shell and capture it securely with wire. Cut another 24" of 20g steel wire and clean with steel wool. In the center of the wire, create two wrapped loops, checking spacing against the shell (Photo 15). When you are happy with your loops, check against the bottom pendant to see if your loops line up.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 9
Secure or capture the top shell by wrapping the wire around one side, coming down behind it. Make a 90 degree angle in each wire, point away. Create wrapped loops on each wire, facing down and parallel to the top loops. You will notice that your capture is a bit loose and the shell might fall out. Working from the back of the pendant, bring your wire across the top, slip under your first capture loop, so this on each side.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 10
As you are pulling the wire through, it might be hard to work with and there is always a chance of damaging the shell, I use round nose pliers to move the wire. Cut close and tuck the ends, as you did in Step 6.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 11
Lay your top and bottom pendants down on the drawing, to see how you match up.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 12
Now it's time to make jump rings. There is no need to be intimidated. Using bail making pliers, mandrels, a dowel or a pencil... whatever you have on hand in the right size. Because you have already drawn out your design, you know exactly how many jump rings to make. Working directly from the spool, wind 18g wire around your mandrel, corresponding to the number of jump rings you need. Using your flush cutters, cut your jump rings from the coil, making your cuts on the flush side of the cutter to get smooth jump rings.
Pro Tip: When you use flush cutters to make jump rings, as opposed to a jeweler's saw, there are often burrs and rough spots. Use needle files to smooth those out. It makes the jewelry more comfortable to wear and adds a professional look.
Pro Tip: If you are trying to get your jump rings to close completely and make a smooth butt joint, you might have to file the inside cut edges, a need file will work great for this. If you need to solder your jump rings closed, a smooth join is necessary.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 13
Use 2 of your new jump rings and connect both sides of your pendant together. Here's what your pendant looks like.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 14
With 18g wire, cut 4 pieces of wire 4" long, flush cut each end of the wire. Clean with steel wool and straighten. With your round nose pliers, make 5mm diameter loops on each end of the wire.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 15
Shape your links. There are a variety of things you can use to shape them. You can use a jig or a bracelet mandrel or nylon jawed bracelet bending pliers. Use whatever gets the job done, even your hands work for this part. For the bail link, that the pendants will hang from, cut a 6" piece of 18g wire, loops at each end and shaped.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 16
With jump rings, attach the pendants to your bail wire. Check to see how the pendant swings from the bail, you can make adjustment to the curve of the bail and to the positions of the wrapped loops on the pendant.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 17
Attach the links with jump rings. At the end of one side of the necklace, link 6 jump rings together and add it to the end.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 18
For the clasp, working from the spool of 18g wire, make a small loop. Move the wire to the base of the round nose pliers and curve the wire around to a make a question mark or clasp shape. Cut wire about 4-5mm from the bottom loop. Use your round nose pliers to bend the tail up to a jaunty angle. File the end of the wire smooth. Use a bench block or anvil and hammer to work harden the shape of the clasp. Use a jump ring to attach clasp to the necklace.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 19
Check each jump ring to see if there are any rough or sharp edges, file those as needed. Steel wire is prone to rust, if it gets wet or damp. Use Renaissance Wax on the wire to protect it.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace
Step 20
Our completed necklace up against the original drawing.
Susan LeGuyader's The Shell Game Necklace - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Loops, Wire Loop, Wrapped Wire Loop, Design, the shell game necklace