Handcrafted Jewelry Down to the Ear Wires

November 28, 2012

Findings are the components of a piece of jewelry (not including the decorative beads, stones, pendants, etc.) like ear wires, clasps, head pins, jump rings and bead caps. They are the details that, with the decorative element, add the uniqueness and artistry of a piece of handcrafted jewelry. 

When I first started making jewelry, I bought ready made findings for all of my pieces. But my inner artist said no. . . . . .  you really want to make them yourself. That inner artist always gives me more work to do :) Although I still purchase some of the findings, I hand make many of them. 

One of the first components I worked on were ear wires for pierced ears. I use gold filled, Argentium silver or bronze wire to compliment the materials used in the earrings. Gold filled wire has a brass core with a layers of 14K gold. It has a lot more gold than gold plated wire and is very durable. Argentium silver is a silver alloy that keeps tarnish to a minimum. Bronze looks great with vintage and other types of jewelry. They are all hypoallergenic for most people. I also make the "tail" on the ear wires longer than ready made to both to keep them secure in the ears and because they just look great!

Since handcrafted jewelry is very labor intensive, some jewelers ask me why I spend the time making ear wires when they can be easily purchased. After all, they do look pretty simple. There are a number of reasons: the satisfaction of designing the entire piece and getting just the right shape and proportion of the ear wires for the particular pair of earrings; the creative aspect of the fabrication process, seeing a piece of wire being transformed into the graceful curve of the ear wire; the attention to detail that make the difference between a nice looking piece and a fabulous piece; and the positive reaction of my customers to the work that is put in each piece.

So stay tuned for future posts about the different types of handcrafted findings I'm working on and the various materials I use. Here are some of my handcrafted ear wire styles and the earrings that inspired them:

   

Double loop Argentium silver ear wires

   

Inside loop 14K gold filled ear wires

   

Ball end Argentium silver ear wires

   

Long soldered loop Argentium silver ear wires

 

 




1 Response

Hazel Thornton
Hazel Thornton

December 11, 2012

This post caused me to take a closer look at my Nina Forrest earrings. My ear wires are pretty basic, but I can see now that they can be little works of art unto themselves. And I had noticed, and appreciate, the longer “tail”!

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