Making a wire that has a balled end, with lengths of 20 gauge sterling silver wire, four cut 1 1/2 inches long and four at 2 1/2 inches long. Had mixed up the pickle solution first, hadn't done that before. Used a coffee warmer burner to keep the cup or so of pickle hot, testing with a photography solution thermometer. Then read and re-read all the butane torch instructions, had the fire extinguisher available. Pulled up the sleeves, put ceramic tiles down on the table top to protect it. Fired up the torch. Used hemostats to hold the wire in the flame, just past the small point of conical blue stream from the butane torch.
The wire balled at the end, got good sized nice round balls. Then dropped the wire in the hot pickle. Did the same to all eight pieces of wire. Didn't have any fine silver, so the pickle was necessary to remove the firescale and return the shiny finish. After five minutes in the pickle, the remaining soot was polished off by hand.
It worked beautifully! Love the organic look of the balled wire end. Did the longer wires first, re-did them afterward to get a larger sized ball to form. Getting brave. Couldn't wait to make something with them. Made two pair of earrings. Shaped the ear wires with the balled wire, hammered points to strengthen and enhance the look.
Aren't they quaint? Very simple and so pretty. This pair used the longer wires. The bead dangles come off and can be changed. The bend at the top is hammered gently, and the ends of the wires filed to a round smooth point. Very light and delicate.
These dangles are silver beads and crystal beads on sterling wire wrap. Don't the balls at the end of the wires give just that finished touch? Very pleased with the results.
Can use the same method to make ball ends on wire for headpins. Want to try some 24 gauge and some 18 gauge wire, to see the difference. The 24 gauge will be good with pearls and stones with very small bead holes. Have two more pairs, one long and one short length, to try out also.