Jewelry Making Pendants without Soldering - The Art of Riveting

Jewelry making pendants with rivets

Creative Jewelry making pendants without soldering requires a basic technique called riveting or cold connections. It is a jewelry making technique that joins together pieces by utilizing metal pins, tubes an screws to join sheets of metal permanently. This is an easier alternative to soldering.

Rivets are one of the most ancient examples of a mechanical joint. Before being applied to jewelry making projects, cold connections were used to hold handle of knives together to create moving hinges for doors and thousands of other uses.

Riveting it is a helpful jewelry making technique to use when a metal has been treated to add texture and it can’t be finished by soldering the different parts together, because the heat will destroy the texture. This is when using a cold connection can be handy.

creating jewelry with cold connections

Cold connections can also add interest by creating jewelry making pendants that that heave tow metals that melt at different hating points

, or to incorporate an urban or industrial look to your designs.

Because of its versatility, learning to rivet or create cold connections is a skill that can take your work into a different dimension.

Jewelry Tips and Techniques – Three-Dimensional Jewelry Making Pendants

The Process

  1. Select a drill and a wire that are the same size. It is best to start with a larger and reduce by running it trough the draw plate to get it to be the same size as the drill you selected.

  2. Prepare each piece of metal you want to use individually, I recommend using a sketch to guide you r design. This will prevent mistakes and will ensure the functionality of the piece.

  3. Drill all the holes on the pieces you will be using. Start by carefully marking the spots with a metal punch (these can be found at general hardware stores or home building supply places).

  4. Check that the wire fits tightly on the hole you drilled. Remember in order for the cold connection to work properly you need to ensure that the wire fits exactly in the hole.

  5. Insert the wire, snip the ends and file it down so that there is approximately half the thickness (approximately 2 to 3mm.) of the wire extending on each side of the metal.

  6. Place the metal in a solid surface in a way that allows for the piece to be suspended. Use a ball-peen hammer to tap the top end of the wire so that it spread evenly and forms a “head.” This will hold the wire in place.

  7. Flip the piece over and repeat the process. Continue until you have well defined “heads” on both sides.

  8. Start with the first rivet to help hold the pieces in place, you then can proceed to complete the process with all the other parts.

Basic Jewelry making Techniques - Different Types of Cold Connections

  • There are different types of rivets you can use and they all add interest you your jewelry making pendants, rings, and bracelets.

    • Nail Head Rivets: This are used when a larger head is needed, because of the design or because you need a wider grip to hold the pieces together. They can be helpful when on side of the wire is hard to reach.

    • Tube Rivets: They are widely used when hammering can damage a project. In cases when enameling was used or when the piece needs special delicate mechanisms. I also like the way they finish the piece when you are using a jump ring as a bail.

    • Flush Rivets: This jewelry making technique helps blend the rivet completely, helping create a cleaner look.

    • Cutlers Rivets: This ingenious closure works to create friction between two parts taking place inside a tube.

    • Tabs: By bending a finger of metal on one piece you can provide a simple and secure cold connection. This will allow you to hold one piece on top of another piece of metal.

    • Screw Threads: They have the advantage of joining pieces of metal while not being permanent.

    You can also design jewelry making pendants using acrylics, bones, wood and other materials that can be easily riveted in place.

    With this basic jewelry making technique you can add a three dimensional look to you jewelry making pendants, rings, bracelets and earrings.

    To learn more about cold connections watch this helpful video by Rio Grande Jewelry Supply Company.

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