How to Make Your Own Argentium Sterling Ball Pins
by Julie Lloyd.
(Healing Crystal Jewelry)
I discovered the benefits of using Argentium sterling silver in my jewelry designs early on.
Its very low tarnish properties is a great benefit to jewelry owners and designers alike. With only mild soap and water, your jewelry can always be kept as bright as new.
Another huge benefit for me as a jewelry designer is that a torch can be applied to it with very little prep or cleanup.
Unlike traditional sterling alloys, Argentium can go stright from bare metal to the torch without the need for flux or boric acid to keep tarnish and fire-scale off the metal.
It can also go straight into clean water after I’m finished with the torch, eliminating the need for pickle.
This means I can quickly and easily make my own ball pins.
When I need a batch of ball pins, like in these pink Tourmaline cascade earrings, I cut a whole lot of wire to the same length, usually about a 1/4″ longer than I would like my pins to be:
Since this is clean wire, just off the roll, all I need to do next is hold each length of wire in a pair of tweezers and wave it over a butane torch flame.
Laid out like this on my soldering brick makse it easy for me to pick each one up with tweezers. The ball curls neatly up the wire until I take it away from the flame.
Then I just put it into some fresh, clean water to quench.
Sometimes, if I know I need a specific length of wire after the ball, like for ear wires, I will leave the wire on the spool to create the ball and just keep the rest of the spooled wire away from the end I’m torching.
After it’s quenched, I measure the wire and cut it to length. After all my pins are done, I usually like to clean the torched area a bit with some 400 grit sandpaper.
Then they are ready to go in the tumbler for several hours. This is to harden them and add the finishing sparkle.
If necessary, they can also be sorted by length now.
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