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.

Unique Types Of Beads For Jewelry Making

The jewelry industry is booming and everyday millions of people shop for jewelry either online or from their local jewelry stores. The demand for jewelry is high and this is the reason more and more people are looking to get into this business. But in order to be a successful jewelry designer, it is important to provide unique and stunning pieces of jewelry. Today, jewelry is not only worn by women, but men and children also and this is an important thing that you must keep in mind when thinking about your designs.

You can become successful if you have something unique to offer to your customers. Incorporating unique types of beads in your designs is one of the best ways to create unique jewelry items. Here’s a look at some of the unique types of beads for jewelry making that you can consider.

Organic Beads

There is a range of organic materials which can produce beads for jewelry making. These include shells, pearls, horns, bones and amber. Using these types of beads in your creations can help you make unique pieces of jewelry. In addition, you will be playing a significant part in recycling beautifully.

Skull Beads

You may or may not have heard about skull beads, but these are some of the unique beads for jewelry making, especially mens’ jewelry. Skull beads date back to at least 3000 years. It is believed that the first beads were made around 1000 BC and they were made using clay.

Today, they are made of clay and a range of other materials such as plastic, wood and acrylic. But those made from clay are more popular than the others. Skull beads are mostly used in the creation of creepy jewelry items and key chains. They are a popular choice during Halloween. The most preferred stringing material for these kinds of beads is leather cording.

Troll Beads

Troll beads are also unique and they are around from at least 30 years. What makes them a popular choice for jewelry is their design. Troll beads are available in many different types and they can be made using a variety of materials such as silver, gold and glass. Each of the different types of beads is inspired by astrology or mythology. These beads are commonly used in necklaces and bracelets and they also offer a great level of customization. If you are looking to give your customers jewelry that can help them create a personal sense of style, then you must consider using troll beads in your creation.

Lac Beads

Lac beads are also a fantastic choice when it comes to creating unique jewelry pieces. Lac is an eco-friendly and natural substance which is secreted by an insect belonging to the Kerriidae family. This insect is extremely common in India and this is the reason India is the major producer of lac. Lac beads are created by combining lac and marble powder. These are hand made beads which are then ornamented with rhinestones, seed beads and silver plating. A range of embellishments including mirror chips and metal elements are also added to give each bead a unique look. Lac beads can be made in usual shapes and they are available in a range of designs and colors. They are among the unique beads for jewelry making today as they can give any jewelry item an exotic and royal look.