This tutorial uses strass crystal leather cord from Endless Leather as shown in the recent giveaway. You can also purchase all kinds of rhinestone leather from various Etsy vendors

The basic principles outlined in this tutorial apply whether you use leather strips or other feature decorations.  If you've never done any metal smith techniques before, this will get you started. 
Begin with pre-cut metal blanks.  Not only does this mean you don't have to learn to saw just yet, getting them ready made also saves time.  You can get them in all sorts of dimensions and shapes.  The blanks I used are made from 20G aluminum sheets.

The edges of the blanks were already smooth but if they were not, get rid of the burs and also blunt the corners with either a metal file, grit paper or sanding block as I did.

Eurotool Power Punch
There are different metal punching tools to use to make holes in metal.  My least favorite is using a drill mainly because the cut edges need  a lot of filing down after.  I often use the small  Hole Punch Pliers (1.8mm) if the metal is thinner but punching thicker metal like these blanks was made a lot easier  - almost effortless - with the Eurotool EuroPower Punch Round Hole Punch Pliers I bought (If you'd like a tutorial on how to use it, please say so in the comments)

Check the holes for any burs and use a round needle file to get rid of them. Small files like these come as a set and are relatively inexpensive from the hardware store.

I like to texture metal with the peen side of my chasing hammer. As the aluminum is a relatively soft metal, only gentle taps are sufficient to leave small dents in the metal. 

Chasing hammers are like regular ones except that the flat side has a larger surface area to work with. The blanks got a little wonky after being textured so I had to flip them over a couple of times and hammered them flat.  Be careful with this step as you don't want to add hammer marks to the metal.  Maybe use a pad made from some old cloths or towels?

After cutting the strass leather into suitable strips, you may need to color the lighter colored cut edges as I had to. Wonderful things, marker pens!

I recommend the Super New Glue as it does a great job especially for applications where the hold must be strong.  I  was suitably impressed when I first used it for the Regaliz leather bracelets I made before.  Apply and press down for several seconds and then leave to cure.  It doesn't take very long with this glue but I like to leave things well alone overnight.

Then attach to ear wires (additional jump rings are optional) and you are done!

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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