When I first got the latest batch of beads from Auntie's Beads' Glass Beads section, I went, "Disco ball!"  No prizes for guessing why.

The crystal encrusted wooden ball as well as some of the rondelles and bicones were a topaz color with a hint of pink. They also sent a peridot green strand of rondelles as well with a lovely AB coating which I have set aside for a future project. These lovely crystals are from China.

I resisted the temptation to make disco ball earrings because they are on the large side.  So I chose to make a coiled wire necklace using jeweler's bronze using some dark bronze seed beads of my own as well.  It's now in my Life Collection on Etsy where 100% of net proceeds goes to cancer research.

Jeweler's bronze is a misnomer because it's not bronze (copper/tin alloy) but brass (copper/zinc alloy). It's also known as Merlin's Gold - a far better term because it simulates gold in color. I really like it as it is a soft yellow hue, not at all brassy.

What's it like to work with?  Although it is a soft temper and easily workable, brass (and bronze) tend to be stiffer than soft sterling silver. It's quite springy if you let it uncoil too fast from the spool.  Will it tarnish?  Yes, because it contains copper.  So the necklace should be stored in a protective bag or sealed with Renaissance wax (see my past post, Is Renaissance Wax Safe to Use for Jewelry?).

I have a variety of coiling tools including old knitting needles but the one I like a lot is the Artistic Wire Worker set.  It's inexpensive and comes with 6 mandrels. 3 are round and should be fine for most coiling applications.  The dark bronze seed beads were picked up on the wire and coiled around one of the round mandrels. The topaz rondelles and bicones were used towards the back of the necklace.

The other 3 are triangular, square and flat mandrels. These create larger coiled wire effects which I needed to compliment the large disco ball.

The flat mandrel was used to create that gold tone spiral effect on either side of the crystal ball.  Do not coil the wire too tightly around the flat mandrel otherwise you will not be able to easily remove the coil when you are finished. The flat coiled wire springs open and looks rather haphazard when you take it off the mandrel. Compressing it leads to that spiral effect.  If you use the square mandrel, the spiral effect is less obvious.  I have not yet experimented much with the triangular mandrel.

More wire coiling tutorials
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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