With all the interest in vintage jewellery (especially brooches) I would imagine they will become expensive and hard to find. I have no access to such treasures so I improvised. There are many costume jewellery outlets around and I have bought most of these bits and pieces from places such as Colette (my favourite, nicely priced), Diva and Equip. These are all shops selling costume jewellery to young trend setters! Styles change quickly so you can often find nice pieces very cheap in the sale section.
So what do I need you ask?
Jewellery of course - look for flowers, leaves or pieces that look flowery!
Stem Wire - I bought two gauges - 22 and 18 gauge. The higher the number the thinner the wire. For most of the pieces I used the 22 gauge. It seems reasonably solid and holds some of the bigger jewellery bits.
Pliers - I have an assortment - the pink ones are great for lopping off rings that aren't needed!
E 6000 glue. I bought my first tubes at Spotlight (for those in Australia) then I found a shop on EBay that sells it with no postage.
First prepare your wire. Select the gauge you like. I cut my pieces of wire in half - if you are not sure how you are going to group your pieces when finished, you may wish to leave them at full length.
Using the fine point of the pliers, put a piece of wire between the grips and then carefully wind around the points. You are going to make a flat spiral. You will only need to wind a couple of times unless you are planning on using for a big piece of jewellery.
Crush it flat (for want of a better word) until the spiral looks like this ......
This piece will be attached to the back of the jewel.
Now press your spiral end of wire into the glue. Keep it flat, and keep the spiral in the glue. I had all sorts of things under the wires to keep the spiral in the glue.
Now this leaf had a couple of extra rings where it joined to other parts of a necklace. I trimmed these off with the pliers. Get as close as you can.
Now to get some shape into the stem. If you just bend the wire without taking care, it will come away. I found the best way to handle the wire bending part is hold the jewel firmly with your thumb on the spiral and then bend the wire into the position you want. It is probably best to bend it 90 degrees first of all and then you can fiddle with the finer details later.
I had a number of tiny flowers that couldn't be glued using the appropriate coloured wire, I looped it over the front of the flower and then twisted the wire to form a stem. I think the wire I used for this job was 30 gauge. It came on what looked like a bobbin.
For this frog button, I twisted some of the green florist wire around and through the button loop. It sits well.
The leaves can be further decorated with tiny bug charms such as this butterfly or you could also glue some smaller flowers at the end where the loop is to make that disappear!
I so wish I could actually wear some of the great costume jewellery that is on the market at the minute, but alas I turn it all to black and in turn, I usually end up with gross earlobes because I react badly to the posts. So in a moment of brilliance - yes I know someone else probably already told you about it - I bought myself some small gold earrings - not too thick and now I use these as the base for my new ear ring collection. I add a split ring or two - depending on how they hang - and then I look for jewellery that can be refurbished to go on the hoops. They will still discolour eventually because I just kill them, but at least I can add some serious sparkle to my wardrobe.
I look forward to hearing from you and seeing what you do with this tutorial.