Friday, 16 August 2013

Copper Bangles - Noisy But Nice

I made my first copper bangle at college night class a few months ago as I had some thick gauge copper wire and I wasn't sure what to make so thought a bangle sounded like a good idea. Here's my first attempt...

I soldered the coils on at home but before I did that I made a nice lot of noise at college hammering the bangle to give it some texture. Hammering's fine, it's just the noise it makes when you hammer a bangle on a metal bracelet mandrel! I didn't make anymore at college as I thought the hammering noise was probably annoying the others in the class......

I did carry on making more at home though once I'd got my own bracelet mandrel. The ringing noise created by the hammering on the mandrel really grates, drives my cats a bit mad and I'm still waiting for my neighbour to ask if I'm running some sort of foundry or something. I tried putting a sock over the mandrel with the bangle on top of the sock but it didn't make any difference and I just ended up with a sock with quite a few interesting holes. I shall persevere though and maybe wear earplugs as the bangles are proving popular.

My latest bangles are decorated with soldered shapes - leaves and ovals that I made from some textured and etched copper sheet.

They were fun to make once I figured the best way to solder the two shapes onto them. I've since bought some steel binding wire which I hope will make life easier the next time I make them. Getting everything in position and keeping it there when I was soldering them had me slightly frustrated shall we say! My third hand isn't the sturdiest and kept moving when I needed it to stay in position and hold the bangle vertically on top of the leaf/oval shapes. Hopefully using the binding wire will mean I can solder the two (maybe three?) shapes on at the same time instead of having to do them one at a time.

I'm planning on adding sterling silver shapes to the next lot of bangles I make. I checked with the London assay office and cleared up a subject I was confused about recently. I had been lead to believe by another jewellery maker a few years ago that any amount of sterling/fine silver on a mixed metal piece that weighed over 7.78g in total would mean the piece needed to be hallmarked. I did wonder about this as sometimes the amount of silver may be so small it would be impossible to hallmark it. I checked and the answer came back that on mixed metal pieces if the silver content is over 7.78g then it would need to be hallmarked, if the silver content is under 7.78g it doesn't. Which makes perfect sense and makes my life a lot easier.
So mixed metal bangles here I come! Soon.


  1. These are fantastic! I love the textured shapes you added. Hammering metal is so great for destressing!

  2. OK I seriously love those bangles, and I don't even like or wear bracelets. And I can totally relate to the *slightly* irritating noise of a metal mandrel lol! My neighbors DO think I'm running a foundry! Thanks for the eye candy. x

  3. ♥ the bangles! They look great! Must be frustrating to have to send things in to be hallmarked? We don't have to do that here.

  4. Thanks for your comments!
    Yes we do have the hallmarking thing in the UK. Life for jewellery makers would be easier if we didn't!


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