Thursday Tip – Pin Wire for Brooches

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.

Brooch Pins

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.


  1. Hi Linda,
    Thanks for sharing all this useful info.
    Last year I bought stainless steel lengths from K C Smith Ltd. 01707620172 / 01707649225.
    They sell it on reels but I bought some packs of 10 x 30 cams lengths of 0.8 and 0.9 mm, both of which worked for brooch pins.
    Really good service and very helpful in identifying what I needed.

    • Hi Louise. Thanks for this. I’ll check it out. I’m using stainless steel soft wire at the moment and twisting it in a drill to harden it. It works but I liked what I had before better.

  2. I’ve been using memory wire on some little pieces. Remember to use your oldest pliers though as it ruins your good ones.

    • I was wondering about memory wire and I will give it a go. To be honest, I had a real panic about this when I realised I didn’t have enough wire left for all the brooches I was making. Slight lack of planning! I loved the sprung stainless steel as it was perfect, but I’ve been unable to source any more despite enlisting the help of a friend who is a model engineer.

  3. I just came across your blog and am looking forward to your tips! I’m just getting back into enamels and looking forward to more info. I’m curious about soldering=you showed your rabbits where you had soldered the pin back findings on before enameling. Have you have had problems with overheating and the findings falling off in the kiln? Can you counter enamel over the hard solder? I learned in school years ago you could only use Eutectic solder but I wonder if that is an outdated idea now?


    • Sorry for the delay in replying to your post. I am using 1.2mm copper on fairly small pieces so I don’t counter enamel. I like the look of the bare copper on the reverse. I protect the hard solder joint with water based typing correction fluid and I have had very few fall off in the kiln. I wouldn’t like to enamel up to the solder and if I am counter enamelling then I choose to glue a brooch back on. Hope this helps. Happy New Year.

  4. It’s really nice reading your tips, so much of enamelling is based on experience so it is fascinating finding out about the experience of others. I buy sprung steel Piano wire from ebay, this usually makes good pins and is available in different guages, I’m going to try your twisting technique on some other wire I have.