Creating Jewelry Objects Composed with Concentric Rectangles


The two pairs of earrings on the right side show rice paper beads framed within a series of concentric rectangular forms, and the pair of earrings on the left represents small watercolor on paper paintings framed by concentric rectangular forms.

When using beads, I usually restrict my bead selection to handmade paper beads, although sometimes I do incorporate purchased beads.  The inclusion of beads represents a way to accent and create textural contrasts within the jewelry object. The primary reason why I prefer using my own handmade paper beads as opposed to using purchased beads is that my handmade beads give me complete control over their shape and color.

Approaching jewelry design as sculpture-in-miniature, I apply the same compositional considerations to jewelry design as I do in painting. I strive to create jewelry objects that are resolved visual statements, harmoniously integrating form, color and texture.  Another reason why I like using my handmade paper beads as opposed to introducing purchased beads is this: purchased beads can be extremely beautiful, but I find their beauty to be a distraction from the compositional integrity of my jewelry. The addition of handmade paper beads enables me to maintain a unified look throughout the piece. All of the parts that make up the jewelry object – although they may have contrasting textures and colors – embody a unique and distinctive visual signature. Each handcrafted part contributes to the jewelry object, like individual brushstrokes contribute to the totality of a painting.

Let’s examine an effective way for making a beautifully simple earring form composed of concentric squares.

The rectangle is a powerfully elegant and simple shape that I often use in my jewelry designs.  The challenge when forming concentric rectangles is to create shapes that maintain 90° corners and parallel sides.  The following will show how I achieve nicely formed right angles at the corner of each rectangle.

concentric_squares 2

Step 1

1.  Cut two lengths of 18 gauge dead soft wire, 11 inches long.  Next make the first bend by measuring 1/2 inch from the end of the wire, and at that point bend a 90° angle.


concentric_squares 3

Step 2

2.  Position your pliers at 1/8 inch from the first 90° bend, to make a second 90° bend. Bend the wire parallel to the 1/2 inch length of wire that was previously bent.


concentric_squares 4

Step 3

3.  In this step I make certain that the 90° corners are firmly locked in place. To do this, position the wire on a steel block and hammer the bent wire corners with a chasing hammer.  Before hammering, double check to make sure the wire is bent to 90°, then hammer the 90° corners.  This effectively work hardens the wire, giving it a flattened forged look, locking the 90° angle in place.


concentric_squares 5

Step 4



4.  To ensure that the 1/2″ length of wire is centered within the earring, instead of measuring 1/8″ inch from the right angle, I position my pliers at the 1/4″ inch mark, and make the next 90° bend.

The 1/2″ center wire will eventually hold the bead.




Step 5

Step 5

5.  The pliers are positioned to make the next 90° bend. This bend completes the first rectangular shape. After the bend is formed, I carefully hammer the new corner to work harden and flatten the wire, making sure that all the opposite sides of the rectangle that are being formed are reasonably parallel to one another.

*see the next image

concentric_squares 7

View of the 1st complete rectangle. This rectangle will be used as a guide to complete the remaining rectangles. It takes a total of 5 bends to arrive at this stage. 



concentric_squares 8

Step 6

6.  The fifth bend will result in the completion of the first rectangular shape.  To make this bend, I line up my pliers along the base of the inner rectangular shape; next I introduce a 90° bend that is perpendicular to the wire form, as shown in the image at the left.

concentric_squares 9

Step 7

7.  After the perpendicular bend that you see in Step 6 is made, I re-bend the wire to the correct position, and hammer the newly formed corner before moving on to the next bend.

I repeat this procedure for making each 90° bend, and I forge all newly bent corners before moving on to the next bend.  This method results in rectangular shapes with square corners and parallel lines.

concentric_squares 10

An example of the finished earring with concentric rectangular forms, before the rice paper bead is attached.


Sterling Silver, Square Link Necklace by Ross Barbera

In the necklace that is show above, I created all the 90° angles for each square shape first, then hammered the completed square forms on each individual link with a chasing hammer. I held off on forging the square forms on a steel block until all the angles were bent; then hammered the completed square shape – this results in slight variations in the corner angles. I approached the links for this necklace in this way because I intended to achieve a slightly irregular look in each square shape.

COMING SOON –  My video tutorial demonstrating the concentric rectangle jewelry object in detail!

Subscribe to my Newsletter! Sign-up box is on the upper right side of this page — >


More videos you might like:

     Bead Locked Earrings  
     Greek Link Earrings  
     The Greek Link Necklace  
     The S- Link Necklace with Beads  

 The jewelry objects that you see created in the videos and websites are original designs by Ross Barbera. These designs may be copied for your personal use only, and may not be offered for sale or exhibition without written permission from Ross Barbera.

©2013 Ross Barbera Realisticart, Inc.


This entry was posted in Basic wire construction, Link necklaces, Necklaces, Other Paper Solutions, Pendants, Watercolor jewelry, Wire and Watercolor Paper Jewelry, Wire earrings, Wire jewelry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Creating Jewelry Objects Composed with Concentric Rectangles

  1. Eileen Freeman says:

    I’ve made some very similar earrings – they didn’t go to plan – a lovely project, and the earrings I’ve made look very nice. I’ll be making another pair soon. Thank you Ross,

    • Ross Barbera says:

      Hi Eileen,

      I hope you’ll consider posting a photo of the earrings in the group feed – would love to see them!

      Your work looks *great* on our Featured Artist page!!


  2. MaBeatriz says:

    Lovely! This will be my next project. Thanks Ross!

    • Ross Barbera says:

      Hi MaBeatriz,
      I hope you’re enjoying the project! Thanks for commenting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>