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How To: Hang A Crystal Heart

My own heart breaks every time I chip a crystal heart. I feel like I killed it. There are those fancy bails specifically used to hang crystals, but sometimes they don't apply to the design I have in mind. There had to be some way to work with a crystal heart without killing it.

After a few "heartbreaking" attempts, I settled on a couple of very simple and super easy techniques that allowed me to hang several Swarovski© AB hearts onto a chain bracelet with no breakage.

Let me share a simple how-to of the first technique (I made a pair of earrings so that I can take photos of the process). It's followed by the second technique, and photos of the bracelet using both.

[I used 10mm Swarovski© AB hearts and 24GA round half-hard 14K gold-filled wire.]

Bend the wire (as shown) using your flatnose pliers.
Tip: To determine the distance between the two angles on the wire, check the depth of the heart's hole, so that when you do the next steps, you have enough allowance to let the heart dangle freely. You don't want to end up squeezing the crystal when you bring the vertical wire sections together.
Slip the heart in.
Tip: If the heart won't slip in easily, don't force it. Open the wire a little.
Estimate where the wires will meet in a triangle above the crystal. Then bend the wires (one at a time) at that point.
A bead holding the wires in place will minimize chipping that can be caused by the wrapping process. If you decide to do a wrap at this point, you will have to be very careful in holding the wires together without crushing the crystal.
Tip: Not all beads will let you thread two wires through, so you may want to take this into consideration before you finalize your design.
Slip the bead to secure the folded wire.
Tip: You may need to trim the short end of the wire so that it doesn't stick out of the holding bead.
Do the standard wrap.
And Voila!
My new, no-hearts-broken earrings.

The regular bail technique using regular wire is also easy. Shape the wire into an open triangle, slip the heart in, and squeeze gently. Once the wire is in place, the heart won't easily come off.
Tip: I can vouch only for gauges 24 and thicker for this technique. I haven't tried it with a 26, which might be too fragile to hold up.

Below is a close-up of the bracelet I created using both techniques.

See the whole bracelet here.

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