When I was in Jamaica last year, I got several pieces of coral that I have since turned into jewelry. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures while making the necklaces, so I will have to walk through how I made them.
The basic tools needed are needle nose jewelry pliers, flat jewelry pliers, wire cutters, Loc Tight or jewelry glue, pieces of coral, a fine drill bit, eye ring pins and head pins in the metal of your choice (I used silver), a chain with clasp (again I used silver), and pearls (I used fresh water pearls).
An assortment of jewelry making tools.
The two necklaces below are made in the same manner as the following tutorial, but with two different coloured pearls; one pink and one grey.
- First wash the coral in bleach and water to clean any algae off and bleach it white. Allow to dry well.
- Using the drill bit, but no drill, hand drill holes into the ends of the pieces of coral. Be patient, it may take a little time. Luckily the centre of the coral seems softer and more friable than the outsides, but if done carefully, it can be drilled through as well. Only drill in about 5-7 mm.
- Cut the long end of the eye pin leaving about 5-7 mm of length and the eye at the other end. Dry fit for length and trim so the eye of the pin sits close to the coral but can still be opened.
- Put Loc Tight glue or Crazy glue in the hole you have drilled and insert the eye pin. Allow to dry 30 minutes or so.
- Cut the chain in half exactly opposite the clasp leaving two equal lengths of chain. Open the ring on the eye pin and attach the chain before closing the ring. Now your chain is attached.
- If you wish to add a pendant on the coral, find the middle of the piece and drill only half way into the coral. Cut an eye pin to fit in the hole so that the ring is close to the coral. Glue it in as before.
- Using a head pin, place it through the pearl or bead and cut off the excess leaving enough to make a ring at the top. Using your needle nose pliers, make a ring, leaving it open, slip into to the eye pin in the coral and close the loop. You are done.
Another adaptation of this method is to take a piece of coral that is an interesting shape and drill a hole right through the coral where you want to suspend it from the chain. Do not cut the chain in this project. Take an eye pin and place it through the hole leaving the eye end with enough length to bend it up and over the top of the coral leaving enough room to take the other end and bend it up to meet it. Then take the non-eye end and wrap it tightly and neatly around the pin below the eye three times and cut off the excess. Pinch the cut end against the rest to prevent the sharp end sticking out. Open the eye on the pin and put it through the link on the chain exactly opposite the clasp. Close the ring. Now you have a coral pendant attached to the chain.
Hope you like these wearable souvenirs of my Jamaica adventures. I quite like them and am proud of how they turned out. Cheers, Michele