lentil bead pendant – medium difficulty

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Today I made something that i never did before . I made a so called Focal Bead . A Focal bead is a bead that is either worn alone or in the middle of a necklace to draw the attention or focus of the one viewing .

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Take 2 circles of equal size ( I use 18 gauge sterling silver ) . You can either buy the circles or you can cut them from your sheet metal by hand or use a disc cutter ( which I have and it is one of my regularly used tools ) . Both circles here are 1 inch in diameter but size is totally up to you . Make sure your metal is very clean. I use a textured steel sheet that is meant for a rolling mill to imprint the texture onto your metal – well I am not rich and i do not have a rolling mill so there is another way to get the texture onto your metal . Tape both circles face down with packing tape onto the steel sheet . Take your ball peen hammer and hammer the back sides of said circles . The tape is used to keep the circles from moving while you hammer . Make sure you hammer the whole surface . After your done remove tape and circles from your metal sheet ( http://www.riogrande.com has a whole armada of cool textured metal sheets )


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Draw to half circles onto the back of one of the circles right on the edge – those will be your feeding holes for the string or cord . Cut out with your jewelry saw using 1/0 blades . Then take your circles and dome them in a dapping block. Put the circles with the texture down so that the texture is on the OUTSIDE of your domes ( yes I have done it the wrong way ) make sure you use the same indentation and ball on both of your circles . Put the half domes together and look that there are no huge gaps , you might need to use the dapping block a bit more to do that.

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Now comes the fun part . Soldering . Put both halfs together again and clamp them in between a third hand ( easiest way to do a thing like that ) Apply flux and your solder – I use stick or wire solder but I think paste solder might have been easier for something like that . Heat with your torch until the solder flows , flip your third hand without removing the bead ( careful its hot ) and do the other side . Quench in water . Again you see on the third photo how dark the silver gets due to oxidation during heating . To clean that up use your ” Pickle ” solution

When the Silver turns white you can take it out of the Pickle using your COPPER tongues . You can read in my other tutorials why to not use anything else besides the copper tongues. Rinse in water and dry . Use a number 4 , 3 or 2 file to clean the edges so that they are smooth . Run through a polisher or use your  flex shaft , both will work


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Add patina so that your texture can pop . Polish the high points with some polishing cloths ( don’t use your flex shaft it tends to take more patina off then you want ) Feed your cord through the holes an enjoy.


Again , if you want to buy any of my designs you can contact me through my shop at http://www.nicilaskin.etsy.com

I was born in the late 70's in Leipzig , East Germany. When I turned 12, the Berlin Wall came down and a whole new world opened. I finished school in my home city and also went to Nursing school there. After moving to a different city in Germany, I met my husband of now 9 years on the internet, of all places. He is from New Jersey and we decided to move there. I am always up for an adventure so off we went. Because I was a nurse from a foreign country, it was not easy to get a license and work. I was prepared to go back to school all over again in the US to become a registered nurse. ( I had worked for 4 years in Germany as registered nurse ). My hubby "shopped" around and called almost every state in the USA to see where it would be easiest for me to find work without going back to school and, voila! New Mexico appeared on the radar. New Mexico accepted my translated license and gave me a brand spanking new one after I passed ( with flying colors ) my NCLEX (which is like the bar exam for a lawyer). And then we moved again ... to New Mexico..... I won't bore you with my life too much. We came back in the summers to New Jersey to visit my in-laws and to have be closer to my parents in Germany. (Yes, I took the summers off.) I painted and went to a pottery class in 2008. Next to the building where the pottery classes were held was a small work shop occupied by a little old lady who was a Metalsmith. She made beautiful things in sterling silver and with sparkling gemstones and - lucky for me - she taught classes, too. That is when it began. She showed me how to make a ring and a bracelet from the beginning and how to handle a torch. Needless to say , I love fire! In short , I was hooked! I started out as a small hobby shop in the garage in our house in New Mexico making small pieces and selling them at the local farmers market. I did not sell a huge amount but it was fun and I met awesome, wonderful people and made a couple of friends. One of them introduced me to Etsy, and I opened my shop here in 2009. I was still working as a nurse at that point and saw the site as a nice venue to sell some of my work. Last year in September, my husband "took over" my shop (so to speak) and tried to make it nice for me. My native language is German and so my descriptions were not the best. "This is a sterling silver flower necklace " - well, you get the picture. He took new photos and revamped my store, giving me a lot more time to create and make and build up my shop inventory. December of 2011 was the first month on Etsy where I could say, "Hey, this is a real business and I am making money. Maybe, just maybe, I could do this full- time." I could and I did. In February of 2012, I made this my full time job. I also started making guitar picks out of sterling, aluminum, bronze and copper. Making them from scratch, starting with a blank sheet of metal, cutting the shape out, filing and deburring, stamping, patina and finally polishing the picks is gratifying, especially because I know people will cherish my little picks and play music with them. My hopes for the future is that I will be successful here on Etsy and on my own little .com site, designing and making beautiful jewelry that others enjoy . nicilaskin.etsy.com

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