Diploma in Fine Jewellery - Tennis Bracelet, Term 2, Weeks 3-5

The next project for the diploma is the tennis bracelet. So named because during a US Open tennis match, Chris Evert’s diamond bracelet, broke and fell off her wrist. She asked the officials on the court if they could stop the match, until the bracelet was recovered.

Measuring the tubing

For this project we were creating the setting for 3.5mm princess cuts (square stones), thankfully we didn’t need to set them

The project called for 20 gauge wire and 4mm square tubing. Not many materials needed for this one, but a few tools: ball bur, barrel bur (get US name of this), drill, rivet hammer (get name of this), anvil, saw and miter thing.

The first thing to do is measure the stone depth, round it up to the nearest mm and add 2mm. So each one needed to be 5mm.

Measuring the tubing

I found that scribing it at 4mm and then using my tubing cutter jig to cut it to 5mm saved some time. I also did all of my drilling before cutting the tubing so that I had the whole length of the tube to hold onto rather than a fiddly bit of silver. It seemed to work well for me. 

Drilling a hole in the tube  Cutting a straight line  Cutting the tube

I needed to drill a hole just under the 4mm scribed mark and bur out a hole in the top part so that I could add a little C shaped wire to make it look like a little square mug. On the opposite side of the tube I had to but out a straight line to just above the 4mm line. Then I had to cut the tube at 5mm. And repeat…

After doing a few, I decided that making a bracelet with around 30 of these things was going to take some time, so I opted for the less time consuming option of turning it into a necklace.

Soldering the wire to the tubes  The tubes with the soldered wire

Next up is to solder the C wires to the tube, clean up the solder joins after that I decided to tumble them. Then it was onto the riveting. Something I’ve been wanting to try for a while, but never got round to. I needed to drill two holes on either side of the square tube (the plain sides), and push through a piece of wire, making sure that it was on the inside of the C which was inside the next square tube (see photo for what I mean). The holes are to slot the wire through which form the rivet. 

Numbering where they all go  Riveting the tennis bracelet  

After a couple of test rivets, I was ready to go onto my actual piece. A few fell out in the test pieces, it was definitely trial and error, but they all stayed in in the final piece and I’m happy with how they turned out. Next time, I’ll ensure the counter sink is wider than the drilled hole and the drilled hole isn’t bigger than the wire. Overall though it was good and I’d like to incorporate them into my jewelry somehow.

Finished Tennis Necklace

I was feeling quite proud of myself and then I went onto the Facebook group for the diploma and found out that I needed to add a hand fabricated clasp for the marking, I could have been marked down 10 points. So… I’ll need to work on that next.

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