Jewelry-Making DIY Basics – What is an Earwire?

Position yourself as a jewelry making professional by knowing the names of different jewelry components. You will know better how to impress potential customers and how to speak with jewelry shop owners and potential suppliers by knowing the industry terminology.

Definition of a Jewelry Finding

In jewelry terms, a “finding” is a component of jewelry less than a finished piece. Findings include jewelry closures such as clasps and toggles, Tiffany mounts and bezels for setting stones and crystals, headpins, eyepins and earring findings.

Definition of Earwire Findings

One type of finding used for earrings is an earwire. As the name implies, an earwire is for the ear and is made of wire. An earwire normally goes through an ear where it is pierced, although there are large earwires or earcuffs that fit around different parts of the ear. The area where a dangle or wire wrap is hung is often called a “loop”.

Earwires are also known as “french wires”, “earring hooks” or just “hooks”.

Earwire Designs

The simplest of earwire designs is a round wire shaped into a curve, with an open loop at the front of the wire to hold a dangle or wire wrap. When sections of the earwires have been flattened, they are called hammered earwires. Very traditional variations of earwires include earwires with coils, with a tiny coil of wire above the loop or ball-and-coil earwires, which have both a bead and a coil above the loop. “Ball-end” earwires are shaped wire with a ball soldered onto the front end; the loop is usually more of a “U” shape than a circle.

Fancier earwires will incorporate granulated beads, bezel-set crystals and other embellishments to enhance their appearance. The use of a twisted wire, with optional oxidizing, is another enhancement made to earwires.

Earwire Materials

Earwires are produced in precious and base metals. The materials most often used by the DIY jewelry community will include:

Sterling Silver
Silver Plate
Gold Plate
Antique Brass Plate
Bright Copper Plate
Antique Copper Plate
Gunmetal Plate (Hematite/Hematine)
Black Oxide Plate (Matte Black)

The plated earwires are most often made over brass or surgical steel. People with nickel allergies will want to avoid many gunmetal plates, which are defined as “black nickel”. U.S. and European-standard sterling silver will be nickel free. Many people look for earwires which are both nickel free and lead free.

Earring Stops

Rather than risking the loss of one or both earrings, earring stops are recommended. For earwires, the stops are usually a white rubber cylinder with a center hole or clear plastic of a similar design. Stops are inexpensive insurance for those who sell earrings or give them as gifts.

Tools Recommended for Assembling Earrings

Jewelry-grade chain nose pliers or flat nose pliers are recommended for assembling earrings using earwires. (Wire wrapping the dangles or creating your own earwires will require additional tools.) These pliers will be smooth on the inside to minimize any marks transferred to earwires or dangles. An upgrade from normal jewelry pliers to nylon-jawed pliers will prevent accidental marking even more.

Earwires are one set of inexpensive jewelry findings that will let you unleash your personal creativity in jewelry design. The variety of earwire designs available will keep you from getting bored while making earrings.

Start Jewelry Making the Right Way With Wholesale Jewelry Supplies

It doesn’t matter whether you are just starting out into the craft of jewelry making or are an experienced crafter, it is important that you shop around for wholesale jewelry supplies.

There are several reasons for this such as…

· Naturally, the cost factor is one of the biggest reasons for wanting to shop for wholesale jewelry supplies. It is particularly important if you are planning on selling the jewelry that you make. As you progress in your homemade jewelry business you are hopefully going to find that there is an increase in demand for what you are making. When this happens, you want to have a good supply of the jewelry materials on hand and in addition to know that you have good source for wholesale jewelry supplies.

· Another reason for making sure that you are getting your jewelry supplies at wholesale prices is so you can stay competitive. If you are paying top dollar for your jewelry items then you are going to have to charge more to recoup your costs when you sell your items. If on the other hand you have a good selection of wholesale jewelry supplies in stock then you can sell your finished jewelry for less and stay competitive price wise in the market.

· Finally, another great reason for purchasing your jewelry making materials wholesale is that you can then afford to buy in bulk. This is convenient if you are buying your wholesale jewelry supplies online. Most often with bulk orders you can get an even better price or at the very least save on the shipping costs.

Quite often newbies to the craft of jewelry making don’t realize that there is more to making jewelry then just having the jewels and the stones. There are all the extras that you require as well for your finished products. For example there is the clasps, a variety of threading materials, ear wires, bead tips, and even a selection of jewelry needles, and this is just to name a few of the necessities. So you can see that without taking the opportunity to purchase wholesale jewelry supplies the costs can soon mount up.

Another thing you may want to keep in mind to is to do a little research into finding a good wholesale jewelry supplier. Ideally, you will want one that carries a good stock of everything that you are going to require for your jewelry making. This way you can make it a one-stop shop. These types of items are great for shopping online. It’s easy to click through the web pages and clearly see all the items being offered by that supplier. It’s far less confusing than going to an on land store where it can be almost overwhelming.

You may be new to the world of jewelry making and starting out with the intention of just making a few pieces for yourself as a hobby. Most probably though 95% of those in the homemade jewelry business have started out with this intention as well. It’s not very long before their jewelry becomes in demand and they suddenly find themselves in the jewelry making business. So you can see why it’s a good idea to start buying your wholesale jewelry supplies right from the start.