Making conchas are usually made with a matching male/female die called a repousse die. There are some commercially made ones, but many traditional silversmiths make their own. To make them and use them takes a good deal of skill, even with the commercially made ones. The commercial ones don't come looking pretty like the one below. They have to be dressed, trued, registered and polished. Once that is done, then you can start using them.
This pair of earrings are made with small disks at the top to make the traditional round concha design, and the lower part of the earrings are made with a large fan shape from the same round concha die.
The conchas below are the typical round shape. The patterns are diamond cut.
Many people mistakenly call conchas "conchos." Concha is from the Spanish word for conch and other sea shells, and it gender specific for female. However, in certain countries it is also slang for a specific part of the female anatomy. It's not a nice slang word, so if you're south of the U.S. border, feel free to use the word "concho"!
Copyright 2011 by Katherine Palochak