Filigree, baby! or, how I like to get some frustration out by hitting stuff.

If you're anything like me, you LOVE the sparkle of real crystal. Well, when I first heard about this Swarovski shape, I jumped on the bandwagon and bought 3 or 4 different colours. Then they sat on my desk for ages before I figured out what I was going to do with even one of them. So what did I do? Filigree, baby! Maybe you can, too!

The supplies I used for this are:
  • one 20mm "square ring" crystal (you don't HAVE to use Swarovski, and you could use larger or smaller ones, you'd just have to adjust the sides to fit) in amethyst AB
  • four pieces of 18g dead soft sterling silver wire, 50mm (depending on how much of a curl you want, you could go with slightly shorter or longer, they just have to all be the same length/size when cut, and after curling and hammering)
  • two pieces of  18g dead soft sterling wire, approximately 30mm long
  • one arm span of 26g sterling silver (this doesn't need to be an exact measurement because if you do this how I did, you're going to end up cutting it with each section anyway)
  • chain nosed pliers
  • round nosed pliers
  • multi stepped mandrel pliers
  • flush cutters
  • a domed hammer
  • stainless steel bench block (or something equally hard, smooth, and flat)
  • four 2mm sterling silver seamless beads
  • two 5mm jump rings
  • two 8mm xillion oval pendants
  • knowledge of hammering, spiralling, and coiling techniques

Swarovski square
OOOOOO... ahhhhhhh..... That pretty sparkly thing needs some decoration! 

4 of the same
First, I measured one length of wire against the side leaving enough extra for the curls, then I measured the piece and cut 3 more of the same length, 50mm. I took my round nosed pliers and curled up both ends of each wire in an open spiral, and then I hammered them all evenly flat. I had to tweak the shapes a bit after hammering to get them all the same again since hammering opened the spirals some.

Starting under the curl, I did a basic wire coil around the shaped wire and then once the coil reached where the corner of the open center of the square started, I threaded the wire through the hole to include the square in the coiling action, pressing the wire tight against the shape of the facets and keeping even but not hard tension as I wrapped. I did once around the square, once around the wire, once around the square, to maintain an even look, keeping the curled wire as centered on the square as possible while securing each rotation. I then continued the coil along the wire, doing the final securing wraps to the square the same as the first, again keeping the main wire as centered as possible and coiling until it was the same under the spiral spacing as the other side. Then I cut the wire with my flush cutters (flat side towards the project) and cinched the end down in a rolling motion with the tips of my chain nosed pliers to tighten and smooth either end of the coil. I did the same again with the next four peices. In hindsight I didn't have to cut the weaving wire and start a new coil on each new spiralled piece, but doing it without would have been somewhat more difficult as far as grasping and positioning is concerened, especially regarding the addition of the accent beads.
1st is hardest to line up

3 sides done
I used the largest mandrel size on my multi stepped pliers and made a jump ring using one of the 30mm pieces which I also hammered flat. So satisfying. When you're hammering wire to flatten it evenly, you have to not hit one spot too many times in a row. Your hammer has to move around a lot to push everything around evenly, and you don't have to hit really hard for that to happen if you have a well weighted hammer with a smooth face hitting soft wire on a smooth, hard surface. Or not smooth if you prefer, but whatever is it hitting against, hammer or hammering surface, the wire will pick up the pattern of it. Most people find that once you do it a few times, you can start to see how the metal is moving as you hit it. If you've never hammer flattened wire before, start out with some dead soft copper wire do get the feel for how it moves. I find dead soft sterling to be a bit harder than copper... but that also means it is a bit sturdier. The main thing I have to say is that cold metal moves slowly. Hot metal does not.You can watch me hit stuff with a hammer, here.

all wrapped up

Matching dangles!
To wire on the jump ring and accent beads, I did another coil start, flattening the coil to the shape of the base wire and ring together when I got far enough to include the edge of the spirial in my coiling around the jump ring.. coiling far enough to attach it in two places for stability. I then did new starts and ends on the edges of each spiral of the next three sets, adding a sterling bead across the gap for visual interest. I wasn't going to dangle anything at first, but these oval shaped crystals came in the day I made this, and I just had to see what they looked like on it.

Originally I had thought I was going to do a knot through the top jump ring with some silk, but I had someone ask about it and she wanted it on a chain, so I made a split ring with the second piece of 30mm wire to fit the chain and hung the pendant from that. I also made matching earrings and so if you were to do something similar and wanted to do it on a smaller sized square or even on a different shape, I am confident that it's entirely possible to adapt this just by shaping the wire to fit before hammering and changing the measurements to suit with the same amount protruding on either side of pretty much any shape. And of course a bit of tweaking after the hammering. ;) Next I am going to try it in a different metal with different colours!

I hope I've helped you figure this style out. Thanks for reading!