In the craft world, the term “cold connections” usually describes mechanical joining techniques that are used to fasten together parts that cannot be soldered (which is a "hot" connection). This doesn’t mean, however, that cold connection jewelry is just an alternative for jewelry artists who don’t want to use a torch. Connections usually include but aren’t limited to rivets, tabs, screws, and knots. It’s worth noting that prongs and bezels also belong in the cold connection category. No heat can actually mean more design possibilities, because cold connection jewelry allows the joining of materials that might not be able to withstand the heat of soldering.
Whatever your skill level, learn expert techniques from these free stunning cold connection and riveting jewelry projects. Get ready to put your bench blocks, hammers, cutters, pliers and more to use now and make any or all of these five fabulous jewelry designs that all take advantage of cold connections.
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Cold connections are hot, hot hot!
Whether you’re new to making jewelry with metals and haven’t yet mastered soldering, or are an old hand at the bench but love the rugged, hand wrought feel that jewelry rivets and wire connections lend to your designs, you’ll love the sampling of jewelry projects in this free e-book.
Jewelry Riveting Project
Forged Hearts by Linda Larsen
Forge five rustic bronze hearts and rivet them together into a textured necklace with character and movement. Linda Larson discovered a passion for forging and enjoys shaping and moving metal and discovering all the shapes you can forge it into. She was inspired by Alexander Calder jewelry to make this forged heart necklace.
Cold Connections for Beginners
Sawn Aluminum and Copper Necklace by Helen Driggs
Cut out simple flower shapes from aluminum and copper sheet and connect them with copper wire into a fun and easy floral necklace. The nice thing about aluminum is that it’s easy to saw, soft to forge, and a nice color. In this unique design, Helen combines it with copper for the color contrast. This is an easy project that requires few tools, and is especially good for beginners who want to put their newfound sawing skills to use. The dapping block will help you forge the flowers into 3D, and the spirals and forged wire that join them together might remind you of tendrils and leaves. Make as many units as you like — and feel free to try other metals after you’ve got the hang of cutting out the tight curves and sharp points of the petals.
How to Rivet Copper with Silver
Bodacious Copper Bangle by Kim St. Jean
Never having worked with this heavy-gauge wire, Kim ran into several road blocks. When she removed the tape holding the coil together, it jumped out at her like a striking cobra. Coming away from that unscathed, she had to figure out how to cut it. Out came the jeweler’s saw. While she wrestled the tail end of the copper, and tried to saw the perfect bangle length, she knew there had to be a better way. One huge pair of cable cutters later, this was the beginning of the Bodacious Bangle.
How to Make a Copper and Aluminum Necklace
Sawn Aluminum and Copper Necklace By Helen I. Driggs
Imagine the pretty little tinkling sound this copper and aluminum necklace must make, thanks to the movement it has through wire cold connections. This low-cost, no-torch alternative metals jewelry project by Helen Driggs is ideal for beginners who want some practice with a jeweler’s saw.
How to Do Mokume Gane
Mokume Gane Pendant by Roger Halas
Looking for something that will take advantage of intermediate metalsmithing skills? Use premade mokume sheet to create a heart pendant set with a luscious red faceted gem, and add an extra hands-on touch by riveting your silver bail to your pendant.
How to Make a Locket
Swivel Locket by Nanz Aalund
Be careful who you let open this locket — many people will try to pry it open as if it were a book without knowing any better. This swivel style locket is considered nontraditional because the hinge is a tube rivet. The single tube rivet hinge at the top of the locket lets it open in a sideways swivel instead. Nanz used roll-printed metal, but you can use letter stamped, hammered, or etched metal to enhance your piece. The major difficulty when using textured metal is having solder flow into the texture and ruining it. So, here you’ll learn a way to use bezel wire and a cold connected stone setting to eliminate this difficulty.
With this free eBook, you’ll expand your knowledge of the various hot and cold jewelry connection techniques.
Depending on the project you’re making, learn to select a join that not only does the job, but has the right aesthetic for the piece. Sometimes, a clean, unobtrusive join is just what is needed. Other times, you’ll find that you’ll prefer to feature just how the piece is put together, using a rivet or other connection to make the construction method of the piece blatantly obvious.