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Earrings - Anatomy

Instructions for the anatomy of an earring when making earrings by hand out of jewelry wire:

Anatomy of an Earring made out of jewelry wire, beads and jewelry supplies.

Let us start this jewelry making discussion with a basic description of the anatomy of an earring.  The generic components of an earring are the ear wire, the earring body, and possibly a connector and/or one or more bead dangles.  Not all of these components are required.  Some earrings will combine the earring body and the ear wire into one component.  We call these simple earrings "one piece" earrings and we document many designs for these earrings in our online book, "1 Piece Earrings".  Other, more complex earrings like the one shown at right, will have all of these components. 

In this topic, we will discuss ways to complete the Earring Body wire component using one of our WigJig jewelry making tools.  The pictures below show five ways to complete the top of an earring body.  The simplest to make of these five is on the left.  The earrings below get slightly more difficult to make as you progress to the right. 

 

In the section below, we will show techniques for completing earrings using each of these styles.

 



One Loop Earring made out of jewelry wire using WigJig jewelry making tools.

Earring Jewelry Making Style 1 made out of jewelry wire  and jewelry supplies using WigJig jewelry tools
Earring Jewelry Making Style 2 made using WigJig jewelry tools to shape jewelry wire, beads and jewelry supplies. Earring Jewelry Making Style 3 made out of jewelry wire, bead and jewelry supplies shaped using jewelry making tools. Earring Jewelry Making Style 4 made out of jewelry wire and jewelry supplies shaped using WigJig jewelry tools. Earring Jewelry Making Style 5 made using WigJig jewelry tools to shape jewelry wire and jewelry supplies.

The point in this discussion is not that these are the only way to make earrings.  The point is that here are six different ways to take a simple wire component and convert it into an earring.  Hopefully this will provide the reader with an idea how to convert any wire component into their own unique earring design.

 

Earring Jewelry Making Style 1 Peg Pattern on WigJig jewelry tools.  Earring Jewelry Making Style 1 made out of jewelry wire using WigJig jewelry making tools.One Loop Style Earrings made out of jewelry wire shaped on WigJig jewelry tools:

We call the style of earring body shown at right, "One Loop", because the top is simply one loop.  This is a very easy design to make and for this reason is great for beginners.  The pattern for this design is shown on our WigJig Centaur jewelry tool at the far-right.  The Queen of Clubs earrings shown below, right both use this one loop style of earring body.

Instructions for making the Queen of Clubs earrings can be found by selecting either picture below.

Queen of Clubs Jewelry Making Project with Amethyst Beads made using WigJig jewelry tools. Queen of Clubs Jewelry Making Project with Pearl Beads made out of gold jewelry wire.

 

Two Overlapping Loops Style Earrings made out of jewelry wire shaped on WigJig jewelry tools

We call this next earring style, shown below-left, "Two Loops", because the top is simply two loops made on the same peg in your WigJig jewelry making tool.  This is a very easy design to make and for this reason is great for beginners.  The pattern for this design is shown below-center and uses the same peg for the starting and ending loops.  By crossing the wire near the top, you can also use the hole that is formed to hang a bead dangle. When you are finished wrapping the jewelry wire, merely remove the wire from the jewelry making jig and cut the excess wire.  Close the final loop with your bent chain nose pliers and you can connect the top of this earring body to your ear wire finding or to a modified figure 8 connector made out of jewelry wire.


Earring Jewelry Making Style 2 made using WigJig jewelry tools to shape jewelry wire and supplies.



Earring Jewelry Making Style 1 Peg Pattern on WigJig jewelry making tool.

Diamond Chandelier Earrings Jewelry Making Project made out of jewelry wire, bead and jewelry supplies using WigJig jewelry tools.

Two Loops Earrings Two Loops Pattern Shown on
WigJig Centaur Jewelry Tool
Diamond
Chandelier
Earrings

The pattern for the jewelry wire at the bottom can be as many loops or whatever wire shape suits your fancy.  The pattern above right has four loops made on the WigJig Centaur or WigJig Cyclops jewelry tools.  We have other earring designs that use 2, 3 and 5 loops as well as some geometric shapes.  The earrings shown above far-right use this two loops style of earring body. 

Below we will describe a similar technique for making an earring body that may be slightly more attractive.

 

Modified Two Loop Style Earrings made out of jewelry wire shaped on WigJig jewelry tools:

The style for making earrings shown at right uses two loops on the beginning and ending peg as described previously, but changes the orientation of those loops after the wire is removed from the WigJig jewelry tool.  Instead of leaving these two loops where they can be easily seen, in this style, the loops are first converted into eye loops and then bent 90 degrees so that they are perpendicular to the rest of the earring.  Finally, a small bend is made just below the loops so that the two loops lay flat against one another.

Instructions for making the earrings shown below, center-right and far-right are provided.  Please select either picture to view these instructions.  In these free instructions we describe how the top two loops are first converted to eye loops, then bent 90 degrees and finally, we show how the two loops are bent so that they will lay flat against one another.


Earring Jewelry Making Style 2 made using WigJig jewelry making tools to shape jewelry wire.



Earring Jewelry Making Style 2 showing peg pattern on WigJig jewelry making tool.
One Piece Chandelier Earrings Jewelry Making Project with Amethyst Beads made using WigJig jewelry tools.
Small Chandelier Beaded Earrings Jewelry Making Project made using WigJig jewelry tools to shape jewelry wire.
Mod. Two Loops Pattern on WigJig
Centaur Jewelry Tool
One Piece
Chandelier
Small
Chandelier

 

Compound Earring Body Style Earrings made out of jewelry wire shaped on WigJig jewelry tools:

This third technique for finishing an earring body is slightly more work than the first two techniques, but I believe that the extra effort is well worth it.  This technique makes two simple wire components and connects these two components to make an earring. We call them compound earrings because there are two wire components in the earring body.  We show one simple example of a compound earring below-left.  In the picture below center-left, we show the peg pattern on our WigJig jewelry tool for making that compound earring. 

This technique for making these compound earrings calls for converting the two loops in the upper earring body wire component first into eye loops and then rotating them 90 degrees so that they can easily connect to the bottom wire component.  Since this connection is similar to a hinge, the motion of the "hinge" when worn adds to the interest in these earrings. 

Select either picture below center-right or below far-right for detailed instructions in how to make that style of compound earrings.

Earring Jewelry Making Style 3 made using WigJig jewelry making tools to shape jewelry wire.

 

Earring Jewelry Making Style 3 Peg Pattern on WigJig jewelry making tools.

Wire Chandelier Earring Jewelry Making Project with Violet Beads made out of jewelry wire shaped using WigJig jewelry tools. Four Plus 1 Earrings Jewelry Making Project with Emerald Beads made using WigJig jewelry tools to shape jewelry wire. Five Plus 1 Earrings Jewelry Making Project with Black Beads made out of jewelry wire shaped on jewelry tools.
Compound Earring Peg Pattern on WigJig Centaur Jewelry Tool "V" Shapped
Earrings
Four Plus 1
Chandelier
Earrings
Five
Plus 1
Earrings

Here is a relatively simple modification to the compound earring we discussed above.  Simply replace the one piece top wire component in the earrings shown above with two spacer bars, one connected to either end of the bottom wire component and connect the tops of the spacer bars to your ear wire or to a figure 8 connector.  Here are some examples of this modification to the compound earring style.  From these examples, hopefully you will be able to see the power in this style of earring body. 

Low Wall Bezel Earrings Jewelry Making Project made out of jewelry supplies and jewelry wire shaped on WigJig jewelry tools. Triangle Earrings Jewelry Making Project made out of jewelry wire, beads and jewelry supplies using WigJig jewelry tools. Mod Classic Earrings Jewelry Making Project made using WigJig jewelry tools out of beads, jewelry wire and jewelry supplies. Milwaukee Earrings Jewelry Making Project made out of beads, jewelry wire, and jewelry supplies using WigJig jewelry tools.
Low Wall Bezel Earrings Triangle Earrings Mod Classic Chandelier Earrings Milwaukee Earrings

 

Complex Wrapped Earring Body made out of jewelry wire shaped on WigJig jewelry tools:

The earring jewelry making technique shown below is slightly more difficult than the earlier styles because it uses jewelry wire wrapped around itself to permanently set the shape of the piece.  This technique is suitable for advanced beginners and above, but is not suitable for beginners to making jewelry. This earring style is made with the beginning and ending loop on the same peg similar to the earlier two loop style, but instead of cutting the excess jewelry wire and re-orienting the loops, the excess wire is wrapped around the top of the earring body one or more times. The important question here is why would you go to the extra step of wrapping the wire around the earring body to finish the earring.  The answer is simple -- it makes the earrings stronger and is a more professional finish to an earring body. 

The key in completing these wrapped earring bodies is to make a nice, clean wrap at the top, without losing the shape of the basic earring body.  This is relatively easy to do when you grasp and hold the beginning and ending loops in your Step Jaw Pliers (or round nose pliers if you don't have step jaw pliers) while you wrap the jewelry wire around the top.  This style of earrings can be made with soft wire, but it will be easier to complete the wraps if you use 1/2 hard jewelry wire.  Select either picture below center-right or below far-right for detailed instructions on how to make these complex, wrapped earrings.


Earring Jewelry Making Technique Style 4 made out of jewelry wire shaped on WigJig jewelry making tools.



Earring Jewelry Making Technique Style 4 Peg Pattern on WigJig jewelry making tool.
Four Dangle Earrings Jewelry Making Project with Tanzanite Beads made out of jewelry wire on WigJig jewelry tools. Four Dangle Earrings Jewelry Making Project with Jet Beads made on WigJig jewelry tools shaping jewelry wire.
Complex
Wrapped
Earring

Peg Pattern on WigJig
Centaur Jewelry Tool
 

Four Dangle
Earrings #1
Four Dangle
Earrings #2

 

Advanced Complex Earrings made out of jewelry wire shaped on WigJig jewelry tools:

This style of earrings is the most difficult to complete, but when done correctly may be the most professional way to finish an earring body.  In this approach to making earrings we have two loops at the top of the earring body, one used to connect the ear wire finding and the other used to hang a bead dangle.  Between these two loops in the jewelry wire, we wrap the wire around to set and make the earring shape permanent.  This technique is suitable for Intermediate wire workers.

The instructions for making the two earring designs shown at below-right are provided in our online book "Wire Design Basics 2".  We also have free instructions for making our "Diogenes" earrings here. 



Earring Body Jewelry Making Technique Style 6 made out of jewelry wire shaped on WigJig jewelry making tools.


Earring Body Jewelry Making Technique Style 6 Peg Pattern on WigJig jewelry tool.
Diogenes Earrings Jewelry Making Project made out of jewelry wire, beads and jewelry supplies on WigJig jewelry tools. Saphire Chandelier Earrings Jewelry Making Project made on WigJig jewelry tools out of jewelry wire, beads and jewelry making supplies.
Diamond Chandelier Earrings Jewelry Making Project made out of jewelry wire, beads and jewelry supplies on WigJig jewelry tools.
Advanced
Complex
Earrings
Peg Pattern on WigJig
Centaur Jewelry Tool

Diogenes Earrings
Wrapped
Chandelier
Earrings
Wrapped
Diamond
Earrings

 

General Comments on Making Earrings out of jewelry wire:

There is no way that we could possibly describe all the ways to make earrings.  Many simple earrings consist of only an ear wire and a bead dangle, although as shown below, the design of the ear wire itself, or of the bead dangle could be quite complex.

Paper Clip Earrings Jewelry Making Project made out of jewelry wire, beads and jewelry supplies on jewelry tools.
Square Earrings Jewelry Making Project made on WigJig jewelry making tools out of jewelry wire, beads and jewelry supplies.

Simple Ear Wire Earrings Jewelry Making Project made out of jewelry wire, beads and jewelry making supplies.
Caged Beads Jewelery Making Project made using WigJig jewelry tools out of jewelry wire, beads and jewelry supplies.
Paper Clip
Earrings
Square
Ear Wire
Earrings
Simple
Ear Wire
Earrings
Caged
Beads
Earrings

Finally, some earrings consist of rather complex and custom made earring bodies.  There are almost an infinite variety of earrings that can be made using jewelry wire and beads. Hopefully, this section will provide the reader with some ideas that you can incorporate into your own unique jewelry making designs.  Some examples of complex earring bodies can be viewed below. 



Money Earrings Jewelry Making Project made on WigJig jewelry tools out of jewelry wire, beads, and jewelry supplies.
Lisa's Earrings Jewelry Making Project made out of jewelry wire, beads and jewelry supplies using common jewelry tools. Zig Zag Earrings Jewelry Making Project made on WigJig jewelry tools out of jewelry wire, beads and jewelry supplies.
Figure 8 Dangle Earrings Jewelry Making Project made out of jewelry wire, beads and jewelry supplies on WigJig jewelry tools.
Money
Earrings
Lisa's
Earrings
Sapphire
Zig-Zag
Earrings
Figure 8
Dangle
Earrings

Making compound earrings our of jewelry wire shaped on WigJig jewelry tools:

When you are developing any new technology, you occasionally make a breakthrough, finding a new way to do things that is more powerful than the prior techniques.  Sometimes you are smart enough to recognize the power of the breakthrough immediately.  Sometimes you only understand the advantages after a period of time.  In the case of the compound earring designs shown below, we have to admit that we did not understand the power of this approach until after we had used it for several months. 



Earring Jewelry Making Style 3 made out of jewelry wire shaped on WigJig jewelry making tools.




Earring Jewelry Making Style 3 Peg Pattern on WigJig jewelry making tools.
Wire Chandelier Earrign Jewelry Makign Project with Violet Swarovski Beads made out of jewelry wire and jewelry supplies. Four Plus 1 Earrings Jewelry Making Project with Emerald Beads made on WigJig jewelry tools using jewelry wire and jewelry supplies.
Compound
Earrings
Peg Pattern on WigJig
Centaur Jewelry Tool
"V" Shapped
Chandelier
Earrings
Four
Plus 1
Chandelier
Earrings

In the above sections, we discussed several methods of making earrings, with the designs growing in complexity.  The compound earring design makes an earring body, not from one piece of wire, but from two or more.  What makes this compound earring design powerful is that we can make a wide variety of styles and sizes of earrings from two or more jewelry wire components that are each relatively easy to make.  We trade off the added complexity of connecting two or more wire components together against the fact that each of the components are very easy to make.  This approach to making a compound earring from two or more easy to make jewelry wire components is as opposed to trying to make a complex earring design with just one piece of jewelry wire, bent in a much more complicated pattern.  The end result is that when this compound design approach is mastered, advanced beginners to making jewelry can make a wide variety of very attractive earrings designs.   

Now let me try to explain the magic in this approach.  We show two Two Tier Beaded Chandelier Earrings Jewelry Making Project Made with Swarovski Crystal Pearl Beadsearring designs above left and right.  Imagine that you can trade the top from oTwo Tier Earrings Jewelry Making Project Made with Cobalt Teardrop Beads using jewelry wire and jewelry supplies.ne of these earrings with the top from the other.  This could be done relatively easily and would make two new earrings styles.  The same could be said for the top of the earrings shown at left and right.  All you need is to make an earring top that has a place to attach an ear wire at its top and a loop on the left and right sides.  This earring top can be connected to any earring bottom that has a loop on either end whether that earring bottom has only two loops or as many as 10 or more.  The varieties of earrings that can be made are almost endless. 

In order to be able to connect the top wire component to the next wire component in the earrings you need to do a little work by hand.  In all the pictures shown here, you can't view the loops in the top wire component for the simple reason that the loops are oriented so that they are perpendicular to the rest of the earrings and therefore not viewable. Below we will show the steps involved in making one top wire component, the component for the earrings shown at left. 

U Shaped Beaded Earrings Jewelry Making Project Made with Swarovski Sapphire Beads

The progression for making the top wire component in an earring body is to first make an essentially triangular wire component using three pegs on your WigJig jewelry making jig as shown below-left then cut the excess jewelry wire as shown center-left.  Then you use your round nose pliers to convert both the left and right loops in this component into eye loops as shown center-right.  The technique for making a "P" loop into an eye loop is depicted here.  The last step in making the top wire component for earrings is to use your bent chain nose pliers to twist the eye loops 90 degrees as shown below-right. 

 

Top Wire Component Jewelry Making Project Step 3 showing jewelry wire component. Top Wire Component Jewelry Making Project Step 4 showing jewelry wire component Top Wire Component Jewelry Making Project Step 5 showing jewelry wire component. Top Wire Component Jewelry Making Project Step 6 showing jewelry wire component.

Top Wire Component Jewelry Making Project Outside Loop Alternative showing jewelry wire component.Top Wire Component Jewelry Making Inverted Y Alternative showing jewelry wire component.The top wire component can be made in a variety of shapes and still work.  The top loop can be eliminated from the top wire component, or can be an inside loop as shown above, or an outside loop as shown at right.  The top wire component can be the inverted "Y" shape shown at left.  The top wire component can be and inverted "U" shape or it can even be a segment of commercial chain as we show in the earrings below-right. 

Chandelier Earring Jewelry Making Project with Commercial Chain made on WigJig jewelry tools.The power in this approach is that there are a variety of ways of making the top wire component and a similar variety of ways of making the bottom wire component.  These two easy to make components can then be easily connected to form an earring body.  This technique will allow the jewelry designer to make an almost endless variety of earrings that are all relatively easy to make.  We suggest that you consider developing your own unique combination of top and bottom wire components.

 

 

V Shaped Yoke Jewelry Making Project with Emerald Beads made out of jewelry wire shaped on WigJig jewelry tools.Using the Compound Earring Making Approach in Other Jewelry Making Projects:

The same techniques we used in making these compound earrings can also apply to making yokes as the center piece of a necklace.  Instead of making a yoke out of one wire component that is difficult to make, consider using the same approach to make your yoke out of two wire components that are connected using the same approach we used for the earrings.  In the case of making a V Shaped Yoke Jewelry Making Project Peg Pattern on WigJig Centaur Jewelry Making Tool.yoke, the bottom wire component could be "V" or "U" or "Y" shaped as long as it had a loop on either end.  The top wire component would generally be a straight wire segment with loops on either end. 

The peg pattern for the yokeV Shaped Yoke Wire Component Top Wire Component made out of jewelry wire. shown above can be viewed at left.  The straight top wire component is completed by converting the "P" loops on either end into eye loops as shown here.  These two loops are then opened and connected to the loops on either end of the bottom wire component. Please select any of these three pictures for our detailed jewelry making instructions for making this "Interchangeable Yoke" necklace. 

The reason that we go to the effort to make two wire components instead of just the bottom wire component is that the combination of these two wire components is much stronger than either component individually.  This combined yoke component will stand up the the forces that can try to stretch the yoke out of shape as the necklace is being worn.  The finished yoke wins the trifecta -- it is strong, it is easy to make and it is attractive. 

 

 



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