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Chain & Gemstones Earrings

Instructions for making Chain & Gemstone Earrings using WigJig jewelry tools, jewelry wire and common jewelry making supplies:

Chain, Jewelry Wire and Gemstones Earrings Jewelry Making Project

 

This jewelry making project combines chain, jewelry wire and gemstones to make the chandelier earrings shown at right.  These earrings are made with pink Cubic Zirconia  (CZ).  The pink CZs appear identical to pink diamonds, only without the inclusions or flaws that are almost always present in natural, mined gemstones.  The larger of the two gemstones is 10 mm which is the same size as a 4 carat diamond.  The smaller of the two gemstones is 8mm which is the same size as a 2 carat diamond.  We really like these earrings and think that they would look good with any color of gemstone.  Would you call these 6 carat earrings because each earring has 6 carats of gemstones, or would you call them 12 carat earrings because the pair has 12 carats of gemstones?  Either way, these earrings will get noticed; just don't tell anyone how little you paid for them. 

This is an advanced beginner to intermediate jewelry making project.  It uses one of our jigs with a round peg pattern like the WigJig Centaur, WigJig Cyclops or WigJig Electra jewelry tool and one 3/4" Super Peg for that jewelry making jig.  The body of this earring is made of two jewelry wire components combined rather than trying to make one complex wire component.  We use this approach frequently because it is far easier to make and combine two wire components than to try to make one complex wire component.
 

Jewelry Supplies Required:

Jewelry Tools Required

  • One pair of commercial lever back ear wires
  • 8 inches of 18 gauge round soft jewelry wire
  • 10 inches of 18 round gauge half-hard jewelry wire
  • Eight inches of 20 or 22 gauge round jewelry wire
  • One pair of 10mm Low Wall Bezel Round findings
  • One pair of 8mm Low Wall Bezel Round Findings
  • One pair of 10mm round gemstones
  • One pair of 8mm round gemstones
  • 14 inches of medium commercial chain
  • Flush cutter
  • Round nose pliers
  • Bent chain nose pliers (2)
  • Nylon jaw pliers
  • Fine Step Jaw Pliers
  • WigJig Centaur, Cyclops or Electra jewelry tool
  • 3/4" Super Peg for the Centaur, Cyclops or Electra jewelry tool (In set of Large Round Super Pegs.)
  • Ruler
  • 40 minutes of free time

Chain, Jewelry Wire and Gemstones Earrings made using WigJig jewelry tools and common jewelry supplies.This jewelry making project requires us to make two jewelry wire components and then interconnect the two components.  In the following step-by-step instructions we will begin by making the top wire component (the part that connects to the ear wire) and follow by making the bottom wire component (the part that connects to the chain).  

Step-by-step instructions for making the Chain & Gemstone Earrings using WigJig jewelry tools, jewelry wire and common jewelry supplies:

Step 1:  Using your nylon jaw pliers, straighten a segment of 3 1/2" of 18 gauge round soft jewelry wire before removing it from the spool or coil of wire. 

Step 2:  Using your flush cutter, cut the straight segment of jewelry wire so that it is 3 1/2" long. 

 

Step 3:  Using your Fine Step Jaw Pliers, make a loop in the end of the jewelry wire.

 

Step 4 to Chain, Jewelry Wire & Gemstones Earrings showing jewelry wire shapped on WigJig jewelry tool.Step 4:  Position three regular pegs and one 3/4" Super Pegs as shown at right.  The jig is a WigJig Centaur jewelry tool, but the Cyclops or Electra jewelry tool would also work.  The large, white 3/4" Super Pegs is placed in the center hole of the round part of the WigJig jewelry tool peg pattern.  Regular metal pegs 1, 2, and 3 are placed just outside the 3/4" Super Peg. 

Step 5:  With your pegs in the position shown, place your initial loop on peg 1 and wrap the jewelry wire up to peg 2 as shown below-left.

Step 6:  Now bend the jewelry wire back against peg 2 as shown below-center.

Step 7:  Because it is easier to remove the jewelry wire to complete the loop around peg 2, remove the wire from your jewelry making jig and using your Fine Step Jaw Pliers make a loop at the bend around peg 2, then replace the jewelry wire on the WigJig jewelry tool as shown below-right.

Step 5 to instructions for making Chain, Jewelry Wire & Gemstones Earrings using common jewelry supplies.

Step 6 to instructions for making Chain, Jewelry Wire and Gemstone Earrings showing jewelry wire on WigJig jewelry tool.

Step 7 to instructions for making Chain, Jewelry Wire and Gemstone earrings made using common jewelry making supplies.

Step 5 Step 6 Step 7

Step 7 to instructions for making Chain, Jewelry Wire and Gemstones Earrings Jewelry Making Project

Step 8:  At this point, we want to make a loop around peg 3 just like we did around peg 2.  Bend the wire around the 3/4" Super Peg and bend it back against peg 3 as shown at right.Step 9 to instructions for making Chain, Jewelry Wire & Gemstones Earrings using common jewelry supplies.

Step 9:  Remove the jewelry wire from your jewelry making jig and using your Fine Step Jaw Pliers, make a loop in the wire at the point where peg 3 was.  At this point your jewelry wire component should appear as shown at left.

 

Step 10 to instructions for makign Chain, Jewelry Wire and Gemstones Earrings using common jewelry tools.

Step 10:  Using your flush cutter cut the excess wire and with your bent chain nose pliers, close that final loop in your wire component. 

Step 11 to instructions for making Chain, Jewelry Wire & Gemstones Earrings showing jewelry wire shape.

Step 11:  As this point, we need to convert both end loops from "P" loops into eye loops.  We do this with our round nose pliers.  It is simply a matter of inserting the tips of our round nose pliers into the loop and gripping the wire and bending it so that the loop is centered above the rest of the wire.  After converting the loops your jewelry wire component should appear as shown at left.

Step 12 to instructions for making Chain, Jewelry Wire & Gemstones Earrings using jewelry supplies.Step 12:  The jewelry wire component after step 11 is essentially flat, with all three loops laying flat on your work surface.   Now we need to make it three dimensional.  We need to grasp the loops made at pegs 1 and 3 and bend them 90 degrees.  Grasp the loop with your bent chain nose pliers, while you hold the rest of the wire component with your fingers on your non-dominant hand then rotate your pliers 90 degrees or 1/4 turn.  You will need to rotate one loop clockwise and the other counter-clockwise so that when you are done, the openings in the loops will be on the same side of the wire component.  This completes the top wire component.  Use a little hand finishing to bend the wire component around your 3/4" Super Peg and remove any irregularities in the shape of the piece, then set this component aside.  Instructions for making Bottom Wire Component for the Chain, Jewelry Wire & Gemstone Earrings using WigJig jewelry tool.

Step 13:  Now we are ready to begin making the bottom wire component.  The finished peg pattern for this piece is shown upside down on our WigJig Centaur jewelry tool at left.  We will begin making this piece with only pegs 1 and 2 in our jig, adding a peg as we go.  We will describe this process beginning with step 14.  We will also be removing our wire component from the jig and flipping it over after making almost every loop.  We do this because the finished jewelry wire component will be only 2 layers of wire using this technique instead of starting low on one side and growing one layer with each loop in the wire.  Begin making the bottom wire component by straightening a segment of 4 1/2 inches of wire before you cut it from your spool or coil.  Then cut the jewelry wire 4 1/2 inches long and make a loop in one end of the wire using your fine step jaw pliers. 

Step 14 to instructions for making earrings using WigJig jewelry making tools.Step 14:  We begin making the bottom wire component (upside down in the picture at right) by adding peg 1 and 2 to our jewelry making jig as shown and placing the initial loop in your jewelry wire segment on peg 1.Step 15 to instructions for making earrings showing jewelry wire on WigJig jewelry tool.

Step 15:  Now pushing the wire with the tip of the index finger on your dominant hand, rotate your jig with your non-dominant hand so that the wire wraps around peg 2 of your WigJig jewelry tool as shown at left.  Continue pushing the wire until the wire tail rests adjacent to the empty hole for peg 4 with no pressure applied.  (This technique is important because it allows us to keep the wire tail straight as we work the jewelry wire.)Step 16 to instructions for making earrings using common jewelry making supplies.

Step 16:  Remove the jewelry wire from the WigJig jewelry tool and add peg 3 to your pattern.  Replace the wire on your jewelry making jig with the initial loop on peg 2, the send loop on peg 1 and the wire tail adjacent to peg 3 as shown at right.  Essentially you are flipping your wire over. 

Step 17 to instructions for making earrings showing jewelry wire on WigJig jewelry tool.

Step 17:  Now push the jewelry wire around peg 3 so that the wire tail rests adjacent to the Step 18 to instructions for making earrings out of common jewelry supplies.empty hole for peg 5 as shown at left. 

Step 18:  Remove the jewelry wire from your WigJig jewelry tool.  Add peg 4 and replace the wire on the jewelry making jig with the initial loop on peg1 orientated as shown at right.

Step 19 to instructions for making earrings using WigJig jewelry tools to shape jewelry wire.

 

Step 19:  Using the technique described above, wrap the wire around peg 4 and continue pushing until the jewelry wire rests adjacent to the empty hole for peg 6 as shown atStep 20 to instructions for making earrings using jewelry making supplies. left. 

 

Step 20:  Remove the jewelry wire from your WigJig jewelry tool.  Add peg 5 and replace the wire on your jewelry making jig with the initial loop on peg 4 and orientated as shown at right. 

Step 21 to instructions for making earrings using WigJig jewelry making tools.

 

Step 21:  Wrap the jewelry wire around peg 5 and continue pushing the wire until with no pressure applied the wire tail will rest adjacent to the empty hole for peg 7 as shown at left. 

Step 20 to instructions for making earrings using jewelry making supplies.Step 22:  Remove the jewelry wire from your WigJig jewelry tool.  Add peg 7 to the pattern and replace the wire on your jewelry making jig with the initial loop on peg 7 with the remainder of the wire orientatedStep 23 to instructions for making earrings by shaping jewelry wire on WigJig jewelry tool. as shown at right. 

Step 23:  Now wrap the wire around peg 4 as shown at left.  Continue pushing the jewelry wire until the wire tail rests adjacent to the empty hole for peg 6 with no pressure applied.

 

  Step 24 to instructions for making earrings using common jewelry tools and jewelry wire.

Step 24:  For our last loop, we don't need to remove the jewelry wire from your WigJig jewelry tool.  Just add peg 6 and wrap the jewelry wire around peg 6 as shown at right. 

Step 25 toinstructions for making earrings showing bottom wire component made of jewelry wire.Step 25:  Remove the jewelry wire from your WigJig jewelry tool and using your flush cutter, cut the excess jewelry wire.  Using your bent chain nose pliers, close the final loop in your wire component.  At this point, the bottom wire component should appear as shown at left. 

Step 26 to instructions for making earrings showing connecting top and bottom  jewelry wire components.Step 26:  Now we are ready to connect the top and bottom wire components.  To do this, we first use our bent chain nose pliers and open the loop on one end of the bottom wire component, connect that loop to one of the bottom loops in the top wire component and again using our bent chain nose pliers, close that loop.  To connect the opposite side of the top and bottom wire components is slightly more difficult.  You will need to open the end loop on that end of the bottom wire component and open the end loop on the top wire component.  With both loops open, connect that side of the two components and then close both loops.  The two connected components should appear as shown at right. 

Step 27:  At this time, we need to set our gemstones in our low wall bezel findings.  Get your 10mm and 8mm low wall bezel findings (10mm is Item 3209 in gold-filled and Item 3211 in sterling silver.  8mm is Item 3210 in gold filled and Item 3212 in sterling silver.  You can view our selection of gemstones here.)  Set both the 10mm and 8 mm gemstones following steps A through D shown below. 

Step 27A to instructions for making earrings using common jewelry supplies. Step 27B to instructions for making earrings using gemstones and jewelry making  findings. Step 27C to instructions for makign earrings using common jewelry making supplies. Step 27D to instructions for making earrings using common jewelry making tools. Step 27E to Chain, Jewelry Wire & Gemstones Earrings Jewelry Making Project
Step A Step B Step C Step D Finished

Finished Chain, Jewelry Wire and Gemstones Earrings Jewelry Making ProjectStep 28:  To connect the low wall bezel findings to the body of the earrings we use 20 or 22 gauge wire to make a figure 8 connector.  The 8mm low wall bezel finding is connected using a figure 8 connector.  Use that connector to connect the 8mm low wall bezel finding to the middle loop in the bottom wire component. 

Step 29 to instructions for making earrings using jewelry making wire.Step 29:  The connector between the 10 mm low wall bezel and the middle loop in the top wire component is a rather special variant of the figure 8 connector.  In order for the 10 mm gemstone to hang in the center of the body of the earring, you need a connector that is slightly longer than normal.  Make an open loop for the top of the connector.  From the bottom of that open loop, allow 1/8" to 3/16" of straight wire then make a second open loop at the bottom.  The finished wire component will appear as shown above-left.  Use this special figure 8 connector to connect the 10mm low wall bezel finding to the middle loop in the top wire component. 

Step 30 to instructions for making earrings using gemstones and jewelry making findings.Step 30:  Because we used 18 gauge jewelry wire for the top wire component, our lever back ear wire findings won't easily connect to the middle loop in the top wire component.  In order to connect between the lever back ear wire finding and the earring body, make a modified figure 8 connector.  Use 20 or 22 gauge round jewelry wire.  The modified figure 8 connector will allow you to modify the orientation between the ear wire finding and the earrings so that the earring hangs at the angle you want.  To adjust the connector, use two pair of bent chain nose pliers and grasp each end of the connector with one pair of pliers and twist slightly as required.  This can even be done while the connector is in place on the earrings as long as you have thin jaws on your chain nose pliers.  The lever back ear wire findings that we recommend are Item 0117 in gold-filled and Item 0421 in sterling silver.  With gemstone earrings we really recommend these lever back ear wires because they prevent the earrings from coming off and possibly getting lost. 

Step 31:  The last step in assembling these earrings is to add the chain.  We recommend a medium size chain like our Item 2606 in gold filled or Item 2613 in sterling silver.  The chain is connected to the loops in the bottom wire component by open jump rings.  We made our own jump rings using 20 or 22 gauge wire. You will need to make four jump rings.  If you choose to purchase jump rings, you can purchase either size small or medium open jump rings (not soldered).  You can view our selection of jump rings here.  To connect the chain, open a jump ring, connect it to one end of the chain, then connect the jump ring to the appropriate loop in the bottom wire component and close your jump ring.  The shorter of the two chains needs to be 3 inches long.  The longer of the two chains needs to be 4 inches long.  When you have connected both ends of both chains, you are done. 

After you have completed these earrings, now you have to decide if you will take orders.  Our experience is that this design is very popular.  We think that these earrings would sell in a jewelry store for several hundred dollars.  In craft shows and other markets, we think that $70 would be appropriate.  We suggest pricing these earrings at three times the price of your materials. 

Earrings made by shapping jewelry wire on WigJig jewelry making tools.Earrings made out of jewelry wire, jewelry making findings and common jewelry making supplies.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.

Earrings made by shapping jewelry wire on WigJig jewelry tools. Earrings made out of jewelry wire, beads and common jewelry supplies.  Earrings made out of beads and common jewelry supplies using WigJig jewelry tools.

 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 to instructions for making Chain, Jewelry Wire & Beads Earrings

Step 5:  Now we are ready to make the bottom wire component on our WigJig jewelry tool.  Follow the stepsStep 5 to instructions for making earrings by shapping jewelry wire on WigJig jewelry tools. 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 to instructions for making earrings showing jewelry wire, with added beads, being shaped on WigJig jewelry tools.

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 to Alternative Chain, Jewelry Wire & Beads Earrings Jewelry Making ProjectStep 8:  Wrap the jewelry wire completely around peg 9 as shown at right. 

 

 

Step 9 to instructions for making earrings using jewelry wire, beads and common jewelry supplies.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. 

Step 9 After for instructions for making earrings by shaping jewelry wire on WigJig jewelry tools.At this point, your brace wire component will appear as shown at right. 

Step 10 to instructions for making earrings using common jewelry making supplies.

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 Chain, Jewelry Wire & Beads Earrings Jewelry Making ProjectStep 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.

Finished Chain, Jewelry Wire & Beads Earrings made using WigJig jewelry making tools.

 

Step 14:  Once you have the chain connected to the earring body and to the ear wire finding on top, all that remains to complete this earrings is to take five 6mm beads and five head pins and make bead dangles, hanging a bead from each of the bottom loops in the bottom wire component.  Instructions for a bead dangle with an open loop and with a wrapped loop can be found in the following sections.  When completed, your earrings should appear as shown at right.

 

 

 

 

Alternative earring design made with jewelry wire and beads.

The earrings shown at left are an alternative design for making these earrings.  This alternative had three modifications to the basic design.  The first and most noticeable modification is that the chain segments on either side of the earrings are 2" long instead of 1 1/2" long.  This makes these earrings more dramatic and obviously longer. 

Alternative Brace Design for Chain, Jewelry Wire & Beads Earrings Jewelry Making ProjectThe second modification is that the brace was made with a loop in the middle so that only two beads are required on the brace and the loop, causes the two beads to remain fixed in position instead of sliding around.  You can view the peg pattern on the WigJig jewelry tool for making this brace at right.

The third modification shown in this earring is that the beads at the bottom are 4mm instead of 6mm.  Both 4mm and 6mm beads work fine and it is personal choice which is best.

Alternative Design to Chain, Jewelry Wire & Beads Earrings Jewelry Making Project

The alternative design shown at right uses the 2 inches of commercial chain on each side, the  same as our prior alternative, and uses the brace pattern with three beads from the basic design, but includes two brace components instead of just one.  The bottom of the earring is made in exactly the same manner as our basic design.  The chain segments for either side are cut to two inches long and added to either side of the bottom wire component.  The figure 8 connector is added to the top and connected to both segments of commercial chain and to the ear wire finding.  At this point you basically have a completed earring.  The final step in this alternative is to make a second brace and connect it to the chain about 3/4" above the first brace component.  The finished earring appears as shown at right. 

The beads used for this alternative were Swarovski Crystal AB beads in 4mm round and Swarovski Crystal AB Beads in 6mm round sizes.  The ear wire finding that we used was Item 0117 from our store.  The chain we used for these earrings was our medium, oval, gold-filled chain, Item 2892.  The wire we used was 20 gauge half-hard gold-filled wire, Item 3017.  The head pins we used were item 0270, but these very thin head pins are not recommended for beginners.  For beginners, we recommend Item 0069

Summary of jewelry making instructions:

If you want some dressy earrings for formal evening wear, this may be the design.  We really like this design because it incorporates gemstones with chain and jewelry wire.  The combination shows the gemstones off and provides interest and motion when being worn.  Given all the alternative designs we describe, there should be an alternative that will go with the beads or gemstones in your jewelry tool box.

 

 



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