How to Make Brass Jewelry

Written by rebecca suzanne delaney
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Do you want the red-carpet, celebrity look for a fraction of the price? Brass jewellery is a popular choice for both art jewellery and fashion jewellery because brass has the colour of gold without the expense. You can find examples of stunning brass jewellery made by early man in museums. The techniques used by ancient man are virtually unchanged from those used to make modern brass jewellery.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Sketchbook
  • Brass wire or brass sheet
  • Wire cutters or jewellery saw & blade
  • Center punch (optional)
  • Drill and drill bits (optional)
  • Forming tools (optional)
  • File (s)
  • Wet/dry sandpaper in 220, 400, 600 & 800 grit
  • Findings (optional)
  • Patina (optional)
  • Finishing wax (optional)

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  1. 1

    Sketch out your jewellery design. Most brass jewellery is made from brass wire or brass sheet. Your sketch will determine how you fabricate your brass jewellery.

  2. 2

    Select the brass wire or sheet in the gauge you need for your jewellery design. Light gauge brass is best for earrings and pins. Heavier gauge brass is better suited to withstand the normal wear and tear on worn bracelets. You have greatest flexibility in choosing brass when making necklaces and pendants.

  3. 3

    Cut the brass wire or sheet to the size and shape you need for your design. Use wire cutters to cut wire and a jewellery saw and blades to cut the metal sheet.

  4. 4

    Mark the brass with a centre punch to identify where in your design you need to drill holes to attach findings (clasps). Use a drill and jewellery-sized drill bits to drill the holes. If you do not need to attach any findings, then you can skip this step.

  5. 5

    Form the brass into the shape needed for your jewellery design. The tool you select will depend on how you want to form the brass. For example, you will need a ring mandrel to form a brass ring. You will need a bracelet mandrel to form a brass cuff or bangle bracelet. If your brass jewellery design calls for a flat brass surface (as is often the case for earrings and pendants), then skip this step.

  6. 6

    File away any tool marks left from cutting and forming your brass jewellery using your files.

  7. 7

    Sand away all file marks using 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Switch to 400, 600 and, ultimately, 800 grit sandpaper and continue sanding until all scratches are removed from your brass jewellery and the piece has a high polish.

  8. 8

    Repeat as needed to complete your brass piece. For example, if you are making earrings, then repeat to create an earring mate. If you are making charms to link as a necklace or bracelet, repeat until you have the necessary number of charms.

  9. 9

    Feed the handmade or commercial findings through the drilled holes to assemble and complete your brass jewellery.

  10. 10

    Add colour to finish the jewellery by painting on a chemical patina according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Buff off any excess or unwanted colour. If you like the colour of natural brass, then skip this step.

  11. 11

    Protect the finish. Coat your brass jewellery with finishing wax to protect either the high polish or the patina finish you selected for your brass jewellery.

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