Monday, November 9, 2009
Part of my giant lot of jewelry included some post earrings in the shape of square frames decorated with stylized leaves and birds. The earrings had bezels inside the frame and were finished with antiqued silver plating.
I had planned to rework these earrings into dangles with pretty cabashons set in the bezels. However, even though I have a pretty good selection of cabs in different shapes and sizes, I didn't have a single one that fit the existing bezels. So I cut the bezels off and started filing those spots smooth.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that these earrings were not plated brass, but plated copper! As I said in my earlier post, most of these components are at least 20-30 years old, and these clearly date from the time before copper became so expensive. When these earrings were made, copper was as cheap as brass, and was often used as an inexpensive base for jewelry. Also, copper was not popular as a focal metal in itself like it is now.
So I carefully removed the plating from the earrings, leaving small amounts in the incised details, and the results are beautiful! After removing the bezels and the plating, I drilled holes to hang pinecone charms, wrapped the original earring posts into loops, and hung these from elongated copper ear wires.
The final product is a completely new design, with only a passing resemblence to the original earrings.