Title:
Metal crochet jewelry
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Having taken advantage of certain physical properties of precious metal wire with the textile technique of crocheting, disclosed is a method for manufacturing jewelry components used in earrings, necklaces, broaches, buckles and the like. This method is characterized by the use of specially prepared gold or silver alloy wires in the art of crochet (rather than threads or yams) including specific gauges, greater tensile strength and pliability, ornamental beads, selected hooks, and new patterns, thereby making it a reliable and cost effective element to be crocheted into highly aesthetic and quality jewelry components, which can be widely accessible and affordable for the first time.



Inventors:
Frisina, Sonya Frisina Aka Sonya (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/043616
Publication Date:
07/27/2006
Filing Date:
01/26/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
29/896.4, 29/896.41, 63/37
International Classes:
A44C27/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CHANG, RICK KILTAE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lauson & Associates (12100 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1700 Suite 1700, Los Angeles, CA, 90025, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A process for making metal wire beaded crochet jewelry components comprising the steps of: drawing a metal wire to a 26 gauge diameter or smaller; annealing the wire to a dead soft condition; providing a pattern of crochet stitches and bead placement; stringing a multiplicity of beads onto the wire; placing a bead in a section of the wire as specified in the pattern; and, performing the crochet stitches on the section of the wire as specified by the pattern.

2. The process of claim 1 wherein the annealing step is before performing the crochet stitches.

3. The process of claim 2 wherein the metal wire is precious metal wire.

4. The process of claim 3 wherein the precious metal wire is gold or silver.

5. The process of claim 4 wherein the annealing step comprises the steps of: heating the wire to approximately 1300 degrees Fahrenheit; air cooling the wire to between 850 and 900 degrees Fahrenheit; and, quenching the wire in room temperature water.

6. The process of claim 5 wherein the pattern of crochet stitches and bead placement comprises: constructing a foundation chain; slip stitching into the chain from hook to form a ring; chaining with bead in stitch, crocheting into ring. and repeating; and, working into single crochet, chaining with bead in stitch, single crocheting, and repeating.

7. The process of claim 6 further comprising the step of providing a single hooked needle with a rounded, blunted head.

8. The process of claim 4 wherein the wire is drawn to a 28-30 gauge diameter.

9. An article of jewelry comprising: a maximum 26 gauge metal wire annealed to a dead soft condition; a plurality of beads strung onto sections of the wire; and, the sections of the wire manipulated through a multiplicity of crochet stitches to form a weaved jewelry component attachable to other conventional chains or wires.

10. The article of jewelry of claim 9 wherein the weaved jewelry component is formed into a generally concave shape.

11. The article of jewelry of claim 9 formed wherein the wire diameter is 28-30 gauge.

12. A process for making metal wire crochet jewelry components comprising the steps of: drawing a metal wire to a 28-30 gauge diameter; annealing the wire to a dead soft condition; providing a pattern of crochet stitches; and, performing the crochet stitches on the wire as specified by the pattern.

13. The article of jewelry of claim 9 wherein the metal wire is precious metal wire.

14. The article of jewelry of claim 13 wherein the precious metal wire is gold or silver.

15. The article of jewelry of claim 12 wherein the metal wire is precious metal wire.

16. The article of jewelry of claim 15 wherein the precious metal wire is gold or silver.

17. The process of claim 16 wherein the annealing step comprises the steps of: heating the wire to approximately 1300 degrees Fahrenheit; air cooling the wire to between 850 and 900 degrees Fahrenheit; and, quenching the wire in room temperature water.

18. The process of claim 15 further comprising the step of providing a single hooked needle with a rounded, blunted head.

19. The process of claim 15 wherein the wire is drawn to a 28-30 gauge diameter.

20. The process of claim 15 wherein the annealing step is before performing the crochet stitches.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to jewelry manufacturing, and more particularly to a crocheting precious metal wire for jewelry components.

2. Description of the Related Art

Crocheting has been around since at least the 1840s and there are many how-to manuals on crocheting with thread or yarn. Crocheting metals is not a typical application of crocheting because metal had been thought of as too difficult to manipulate through the art of crochet, and cannot be used with a crochet “machine” not unlike machines that exist for certain weaving and knitting techniques. Such machines are used for yams and threads only and are not used with wire or when you add beads or other small ornaments to the pattern.

Crocheting metal wire in general is itself not an entirely new process; however, due to the labor intensity, cost and inherent difficulties of crocheting metals has made the undertaking so time consuming and expensive that existing pieces are generally reserved for artistic “one-of-a-kind” pieces and/or personal commissions by wealthy patrons of the artist. For example, art books display certain pieces made of crocheted copper wire-vessels like bowls or vases, a breastplate sculpture and a collar. These were stiff, sculpture-like pieces, one-of-a-kind items not mass-produced. These were produced circa the 1960s and 1970's.

I have not seen precious metal wire crocheted jewelry in the course of my research of the previous work of others in art books, manuals and pattern books. I envisioned jewelry components made from crocheting precious metal along with beads and pearls or all kinds being produced in some volume for resale. Components that were easily repeatable & affordable in production and aesthetically pleasing as jewelry, i.e. not too stiff but kept their shape, delicate instead of bulky, components that would drape to the body the way that chain link based jewelry does, components that held up to normal wear and tear.

Crocheted threads and metallic threads have recently become common components in designer necklace and bracelet designs largely as a result of my introducing, in 1994, silk crocheted jewelry subsequently sold in major department stores and boutiques worldwide. Metallic threads are textile (cotton, silk, polyester, etc.) based with a simulated metallic sheen and, generally, contain no precious metal or base metals per se and have no real similarity to metal wire.

Crochet techniques are not typically applied to true metal materials because the inherent properties of precious metals and case metals typically used in jewelry manufacturing make it so difficult. For example, crocheting stresses a metal element by repeatedly working the wire back and forth and back and forth under the crochet needle. Jewelry metals become more brittle and prone to breakage the more one works the metal.

Crochet patterns depend on the integrity of one long thread or element that is manipulated continuously through crochet techniques from the start of a pattern to its end. It is essentially one long thread beginning to end; if the metal element breaks at any point during the pattern short of its end, the entire process is lost and must be started at the beginning with new materials. Breakage results in higher costs, greater time consumption and loss of materials, all elements that make large scale manufacturing impractical.

Crocheting is generally done by hand. It takes great skill and dexterity to become accomplished at the art of crochet, and it is also very hard on the hands resulting in injuries due to repetitive tasking (i.e. blistering, joint fatigue, etc.). Typically, metals have been discounted as feasible elements for crochet because, unlike threads, it can “groove” or cut fingers and it takes great strength to bend the metal element during crochet and metals become brittle under stress and are prone to breakage. As a result, the use of crocheted metal components (crocheted chains, drops, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, etc. produced by following an existing crochet pattern) remains scarce because it is so time consuming, difficult and expensive to manufacture.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

I encountered numerous difficulties in attempting to manufacture crocheted jewelry components from precious metal wire. I first ordered sterling silver 26 gauge and quickly found that the silver was malleable enough but kept breaking under the stress of crocheting. Also, I quickly realized that one must be an experienced crocheter because the nature of metal is that it becomes brittle the more you work it and more likely to snap as a result. Unlike with yarn, which maintains its malleability, there are no second chances with metal. If your stitch fails or you make a mistake, you cannot unravel the metal and do it again as you can with yarn. You must have a smooth and firm rhythm and cannot overwork the metal.

I next switched to an over-the-counter 26 gauge 14 k wire. Gold is more durable than silver and I thought the increased tensile strength would reduce snapping. I found that using a crochet needle with a blunt, rounded head rather than the sharp, pointy head reduced greatly snags that occasionally happen during the crocheting motion and thereby snap the wire. By using the blunt tipped crochet needle, snags were significantly minimized.

With this blunt-nosed needle, I was able to more consistently work through entire patterns but the snapping/wire failure was still a great concern and cost prohibitive on a larger scale manufacturing front. In addition the designs completed in 26 gauge wire were stiff, bulky jewelry that lacked the delicate and precise aesthetic I was after. Simply put, over-the-counter wire was not working. 26 gauge wire is the industry standard for wire wrapping and widely employed in hand made jewelry-making techniques and what is generally in stock by way of wire.

I special ordered 28 gauge 14 k wire in a bag direct from the manufacturer. While it worked slightly better than 26 gauge to work with, it too was bulky and the precision and neatness of the stitches were not up to my expectations. Snapping remained a problem, more so in the thinner (therefore less strong) wire. It was here that I tried to add a spring alloy to the metal wire but that did not work either. It still snapped easily and the sheen of the gold was not suitable.

Finally, I special ordered 30 gauge 14 k wire direct from the manufacturer. It too came in a bag and tangled badly as I crocheted with the easy to work, thinner wire. It achieved the aesthetics I was hoping for, but the thin wire snapped more often and easily under the stress of crochet. I tried to have it strengthened by tempering the wire, i.e. hardening it, but that proved less easily workable and more brittle under the constant stress of crochet and the snapping got worse.

I needed the malleability of the thinner gauge wire but with the toughness of the tempered wire. I researched techniques to strengthen metals and came upon annealing. This was a counter intuitive application since annealing means to soften. But what it means in practical application is that the wire becomes more malleable. Because metals become more brittle the more you work them, annealing the metal allowed the thinner wire to be more easily stressed by the crochet process, and because it was less brittle at the outset it held up to the stress of crochet and hardened into the pattern during the process. Fully annealed or “dead soft” 30 gauge wire became the optimal wire for me to use in my metal crochet jewelry process (although other gauge wire could be used). To address the tangling difficulties, I requested that they ship the wire on large plastic spools in lengths of several hundred feet per spool.

The 30 gauge worked well with standard range of beads and the holes drilled in them. It would support the weight of these beads in a pattern and would hold up to typical wear and tear in the marketplace. 26, 28 and 30 guage wire fit standard range of bead sizes most commonly employed in precious and semi precious jewelry designs today. Aesthetically 30 gauge annealed wire is conducive to tight, neat, uniform, delicate looking crochet stitches. Aesthetically 30 gauge was the best match to create metal crochet jewelry components which drape like jewelry and move with the wearer, rather than stiffly stand out like sculpture, resting on the body consistent with other metal based jewelry in the marketplace. Wire in the range of 26 to less than 30 gauge diameter may work well enough within the crochet process, however, depending on one's desired aesthetic.

I also had to develop all my own patterns for metal crochet jewelry as none existed before I started, to my knowledge. I applied my experience to this challenge and experimented with different combinations of stitches to form metal crochet chain, drops, beaded drops, beaded bracelets, beaded necklaces, etc. These components can be jewelry pieces on their own, or combined with existing jewelry components via existing techniques such as wire wrapping to form new and different unique jewelry designs.

This new process by which I prepare the metal element and the way the crocheting is done addresses these problems. First pulling the metal wire to the desired gauge wire, I optimize its use with many different standard bead types and the many existing types of crochet needles. Taking this wire element and annealing the metal in its wire form also has great benefits. It increases the metal element's supple nature making it easier to crochet with, that is, the metal is bendable with less pressure applied, and less strength is needed in the fingers and hands of the manufacturer. This is important because it widens the selection pool of those capable of being trained to metal crochet. Strength is significantly less an issue when this unique method is applied.

Secondly, annealing the metal in its wire form creates a more intense molecular bond within the metal wire itself thereby increasing its tensile strength significantly decreasing the likelihood of breakage making the undertaking of metal crochet greatly more cost effective. This new method or “recipe” came as a result of years of study and experimentation in my attempts to create metal jewelry using textile techniques not typically employed in the creation and manufacture of jewelry in general. I encountered injury to the fingers caused by the hardness of metals, breakage due to brittle metal wire, inconsistent gauges in wire resulting from the wire pulling process, inherent imperfection in the metals, etc. These difficulties have made crocheting with metal absent from the modern department store/boutique based jewelry design marketplace that has existed from at least 1990 to the present.

I have arrived at a unique method of manufacturing jewelry components which combines a novel process for preparing and utilizing metals with the art of crochet to produce jewelry and jewelry components herein called “metal crochet jewelry.” This process optimizes the precious metal's crochet-ability in the principal ways: 1) it fits existing beads, gemstones and findings and crochet needles and tools; 2) significant increases in ease of use during crochet (softer element with increased pliability, less strength needed to crochet it, less time needed to manufacture each item, more people can be trained do it); 3) more malleable yet subsequently stronger metal, less prone to breakage in manufacturing and as an end product (saves time, materials, increased reliability); 4) greatly more cost effective making it accessible to greater numbers (see all of the above). These and other advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a flow chart showing the steps involved in crocheting precious metal wire in accordance with the preferred embodiment;

FIG. 2 is a view showing the steps of making a foundation 5 chain that holds succeeding rows of crocheting stitches;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged front perspective and side view of a drop earring;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged front perspective and side view of a mini drop earring;

FIG. 5 is a view of a beaded crocheted 14 k gold wire chain necklace;

FIG. 6 is a view of a 14 k crocheted chain wrap necklace.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The patent or application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawing(s) will be provided by the Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.

Initially referring to FIG. 1-3, the methods and article of manufacture of the preferred embodiments may be further described including the annealing process. During the process of producing 30 gauge 14 k wire (applies also to 10 k, 18 k, 22 k gold and silver wires though temperatures might be adjusted) the metal might be annealed three or four times typically, depending on the number of times it is pulled to get to 30 gauge (or other desired gauge) before it its then spooled for use in the metal crochet process. The process starts with a rod of precious metal 0.75 inch diameter and 30 inches in length. The rod is rolled through a mill to reduce diameter until it can be pulled through a diamond draw plate to reduce the gauge from 10-12 gauge to 30 gauge (or other desired gauge).

The 30 gauge wire can be annealed as a long straight wire passing though the heat and cooling areas or it can be annealed in a coil. The wire is heated to 1300 degrees Fahrenheit (all temps. are Fahrenheit) at which time it is glowing red and is immediately drawn out of that area (just above 1300 degrees will melt it) and is pulled into an air cooled area where it cools slowly and loses its color to become a black-red between 900 and 850 degrees, at which time it is immediately quenched in room temperature water and maximum annealing is achieved. This is called fully annealed or “dead soft.”

For the earring 10 of FIG. 3, the preparation process and crocheting pattern (combination of stitches) are as follows:

  • 1. The 14 or 18 k gold wire is drawn to a 30 gauge diameter, as described above.
  • 2. The wire is annealed to a “dead soft” condition, again as described above.
  • 3. The wire is wound onto a spool (preferably in lengths no greater than 1000 feet).
  • 4. 168 2-3 mm beads are strung onto the spool of wire.
  • 5. Using a 1.5 mm crochet hook 14, chain 5 (see FIG. 2).
  • 6. Round one: Slip stitch into first chain from hook to form a ring.
  • 7. Chain one with bead in stitch—single crochet into ring. Repeat 3 times. End of first round.
  • 8. Round two: Working into first single crochet, chain one with bead in stitch, single crochet, twice. Repeat into next three single crochets. 8 beads total.
  • 9. Round 3: Chain one bead in stitch, single crochet into first stitch.
  • 10. Repeat 7 more times for a total of 8 beads.
  • 11. Round 4: Work as Round Two into all single crochets—total of 16 beads.
  • 12. Rounds 5, 6, 7 and 8: Work as Round 3. Sixteen beads each round.
  • 13. Final stitch—slip stitch into first stitch of round. Cut wire and pull through stitch. Preferably using flat nosed pliers, wrap wire around existing wire in earring and then clip off and bend over.
  • 14. Hang crochet component on ear wire by threading ear wire into crochet stitching along the outer round of stitching and then crimp ear wire tight around the crocheted component itself.

For the mini drop earrings 12, the process/pattern would be the same except 56 beads are used and rounds 5-8 are eliminated. Note for both the drop earrings 10, 12, the pattern is designed in such a way that a concaved or bowl-shaped vessel is created that holds its own form or shape while hanging from an ear wire.

Referring to FIGS. 5, 6, other embodiments with crocheted precious metal wire chains and beaded chains are shown. The beaded crocheted 14 k wire chain necklace 20 features different patterns within the crochet structures. The 14 k crocheted chain wrap necklace 30 a combination of crochet stitches and conventional link chain.

The present invention has been described in connection with preferred embodiments, but it is understood that modifications will occur to those skilled in the appertaining arts that are within the spirit of the invention disclosed and within the scope of the claims.