Thursday, July 25, 2013

Raw Mineral Necklace (DIY)

This DIY necklace combines two very wonderful things: fashion and geology!  I found a gold mining kit while perusing the toy isle at Five Below, and only thing more satisfying than unearthing every last chunk of 'gold' was using it to create something beautiful and useful.  Raw mineral necklaces are gorgeous, edgy, and very interesting.  If digging for fake gold doesn't tickle your fancy, any small stone could easily become a pendant with this technique.

clockwise from left: Urban Outfitters | Terrain | Kester Black

You will need:
- a gold mining kit or any small rocks
- thin jewelry wire
- pliers
- pliers
- a long chain with clasp

To begin - dig for gold! This nostalgic Smithsonian Gold Dig kit was only five dollars and encases five tiny pieces of pyrite. The box even contains a mallet and pick for authentic mining.  If you don't want to bother with the kit, look for unique rocks at the beach, on a trial, or - in an urban environment - scour a gravel driveway for nice looking stones.  When strangers give you funny looks, mumble loudly about dropping your keys.
Wash away the dust by soaking your gold in a soapy bath.  Use an old toothbrush to scrub grime out of tiny nooks and crannies.  Look how sparkly they are!
Cut a 10" segment of wire and wrap it around your stone.
This is an important step: if the wire is loose, the stone will fall out.  As you wrap, criss-cross the wire at every intersection. Use the pliers to thread the wire underneath and wrap it at least once.  In these images, notice how the wire is never just overlapping at the intersections?  Its always twisted.  Basically, you are weaving a metal net to hold the rock and prevent the wire from unraveling.  Every time you loop the wire, pull gently with the pliers to keep it taunt.

You may have to try this several times.  If it doesn't look good or feel secure, snip the wire and start over.   I had to wrap my first pendant three times before I got the hang of it.
When you are happy with the 'wire net' around your stone, pull the ends of the wire towards the top of your pendant and twist together with your pliers.  Twist until the wire feels secure, but not too tight or it will snap.
This twisted wire will become a ring.  Loop it once around something small( like a paint brush) and wrap the remaining wire around the area between the loop and rock several times.
Slide the paint brush out of your loop and trim the excess wire.
String your chain through the loop and wear! If the loop is very small, you may need a jump ring to connect it to the chain.


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