Welcome to the latest in a series of articles to do with enamelling and making jewellery that I intend to publish. I hope you find them useful. Although I planned to write them weekly, unfortunately I have missed the last couple of weeks due to sheer pressure of work. Many apologies and I’ll try and do better in the future! I will be writing about issues and problems I have experienced (and hopefully overcome), and tips and shortcuts concerning enamelling and making jewellery that I have come across in the course of the past twenty years or so.
In a previous post I wrote about how I make my own copper findings for my enamelled brooches. For the pins I have been using 0.7 mm sprung stainless steel wire that I was given a number of years ago. Recently I needed to replace it, as I realized almost too late that it wasn’t an inexhaustible supply! I would never have believed how hard it has been to find a supplier. I ended up buying 0.7 mm stainless steel wire from eBay This was much too soft to use for a brooch pin. Therefore I cut a length off and clamped one end in a vice. The other I secured in the jaws of an old fashioned hand drill. You know the type found in sheds every where. Turn the handle and the wire will harden as it twists. Not quite as good but it will do for now. Let me know if you know of anywhere I can buy some sprung stainless steel wire.
Making the Brooch Pin
I cut a length of wire long enough to go through the tube hinge and sufficient for the spring. The side away from the pin stem is bent down wards to act as a spring. At rest, the brooch pin will point above the actual clasp, so when it is inserted into the clasp, the spring in the metal ensures it is forced into place. This keeps the brooch secure. When the pin is the correct length, I file a point on the end. I aim to make it smooth and not so sharp that it actually pierces fibres, but instead slides between them. I understand it is permissible to use this on hallmarked sterling silver too, as it is better than silver itself for this purpose. Obviously for more expensive brooches you would probably choose to use hard gold, but this is great where a more cost effective solution is required.
Where should the Brooch Fastenings Go?
Note the position of the brooch findings. Brooches are traditionally worn on the left hand side of the body, placed by right handed people. The pin needs to be in the top third of the brooch and placed so it ‘flops’ towards the centre of the person and not away. The clasp should point downwards so the pin springs up into place. N.B. I added this last paragraph because I have just seen a picture of a brooch where the pin is totally wrong. I have to say that for a longtime, I needed to have in front of me a ‘correct’ brooch every time I made a new one.