Alternative Earring Making Designs:
One easy alternative design is to replace ear wire with a post style ear wire as shown near-right. These earrings were made with Argentium Sterling Silver in 18 gauge (Item 3008) and 10mm and 8mm man-made pink sapphire gemstones, Item 3345 and Item 3336.
Another alternative is that the gemstones in these earrings with pearl beads or with crystal beads. The center bead can be any round bead up to about 12mm in size. The lower bead should be smaller and could be oval or teardrop. When using beads, you would use headpins to attach the beads to the body of the earring.
Below are three alternative earring designs that use the bottom wire component from our Jewelry Wire & Gemstone Earrings. These three alternatives use commercial chain instead of the top wire component in our basic earring design. These three alternative earring designs are very easy to make and may actually be easier to make than the original earring design. All three alternative designs use 6mm glass crystal beads and the two outside designs also use 4mm glass crystal beads.
Making these earrings will require a jig with a round peg pattern like our WigJig Centaur, Cyclops or Electra jewelry tool.
Step-by-step instructions for making the alternative design for the chain and gemstone earrings using WigJig jewelry tools, jewelry wire and common jewelry supplies:
Step 1: We will begin our instructions for making the alternative design with the middle earrings shown above. These earrings are pictured at right. These earrings require about 15 inches of 20 gauge 1/2 hard jewelry wire, 16 6mm glass beads, 6 inches of commercial chain, 10 head pins and one pair of ear wire findings. Begin by assembling your materials to ensure that you have everything required.
Step 2: Straighten then cut two segments of 20 gauge jewelry wire (preferably 1/2 hard wire) each 4 1/4" long.
Step 3: Using Fine Step Jaw Pliers (or round nose pliers if you don't have fine step jaw pliers), make a loop in one end of the jewelry wire sized to fit over the peg in your jig.
Step 4: Grasp the loop in the end of your wire segment and straighten the jewelry wire by pulling it repeatedly through the jaws of your nylon jaw pliers.
Step 5: Now we are ready to make the bottom wire component on our WigJig jewelry tool. Follow the steps beginning with step 13 above and continue through step 25. When completed, your bottom wire component should appear as shown at left.
Step 6: Now we are ready to make the brace wire component that connects between the initial loop and the final loop in the bottom wire component. This component adds strength to the body of this earring and allows us to use 20 gauge jewelry wire when 20 gauge jewelry wire might not otherwise be strong enough. Begin by cutting a 2 inch segment of 20 gauge wire (preferably 1/2 hard). Make a loop in one end of the jewelry wire. Hold the wire by that loop and straighten the wire segment,
Step 7: Position two pegs in your WigJig jewelry tool about 7/8" apart as shown at right. Please note that pegs 8 and 9 shown here are not in the same holes as pegs 6 and 7 shown above. Now thread three 6mm beads onto your segment of wire and place your initial loop on peg 8 as shown.
Step 8: Wrap the jewelry wire completely around peg 9 as shown at right.
Step 9: Remove the jewelry wire from your WigJig jewelry tool. Using your flush cutter, cut the excess wire and close the final loop with your bent chain nose pliers.
At this point, your brace wire component will appear as shown at right.
Step 10: Now, we need to convert both loops into eye loops. This is done using your round nose pliers. When completed the brace wire component will appear as shown at left.
Step 11: To finish the earring, we need to connect the brace wire component to the end loops of the bottom wire component. In the earrings pictured at right you can see how the brace fits with the bottom wire component. To actually connect these two jewelry wire components you need to first open one of the end loops on the bottom wire component and connect the loop on one end of the brace wire component, then close the loop in the bottom wire component. Opening and closing loops is done with your bent chain nose pliers. At this point, you have one end of the brace connected to the bottom. To connect the opposite ends, you will need to open both the loop on the brace wire component and the end loop on the bottom wire component. With both loops open, you can connect the two wire components and then close both loops leaving the brace connected to the bottom wire component.
Step 12: For the earrings shown above-right, we used two segments of medium, oval chain, each 1 1/2" long. Cut your two segments of chain and make certain that you have the same number of links of chain in each segment. To connect one end of each segment of chain to the earring body that you made in step 11, you need to open the end loops of the bottom wire component, connect the end link of chain and then close the loop in the bottom wire component. (If you are really organized, you can connect the segments of chain as you perform step 11 so that you only have to open the loops on the bottom wire component once. We were never able to be that organized so we had to open the end loops twice, once for step 11 and another time for step 12.)
Step 13: Between the top of the earring and the commercial ear wire finding, is a figure 8 connector. Using one inch of 20 gauge wire make a figure 8 connector. Connect one end of this figure 8 connector to your ear wire finding and connect the other end to both segments of chain making certain that your chain does not get twisted as you connect it.