Earrings as the Main Course – Earrings for Earrings Sake vs Earrings as an Afterthought

A friend confided to me the other day that she was really stumped when it came to earring design. “I can’t seem to get away from the oval bead on a headpin thing,” she admitted.

I thought about this for awhile – and decided that:

a) earrings fall into two categories – the little coloured accents made out of leftovers from a necklace or bracelet OR

earrings made for their own sake,


b) I pretty much suck at them too.

Further thought brought me to the conclusion that point a is probably over-simplifying – but I think you get the idea – or will by the time you get to the end of this post.

So – I decided to have a look at what I’ve made for earrings – and it’s a pretty pitiful collection. These dragon earrings are my faves – and I wear them a LOT. Even though they violate what I think of as being essential to earrings – they are different, but the same. I think earrings that have a distinct pattern should be mirror images. (Earrings should be the same, mirror images, or completely different, IMHO) And, they have no pattern on the back – and given that earrings twist and flop about – I think that earrings should be interesting (at least) or the same on the back.

The reality is – these are just two dragon pendants (small) that I stuck on ear wires. I really like them, for themselves – cuz I have a thing for dragons, in case you hadn’t been paying attention. 😉 Our charms section has lots of stuff that works as earrings – buy two – add earwires – bingo!

But I also make lampwork beads, and keep trying to incorporate them into earrings – which is a challenge – as I make huge beads. One of the major constraints with making earrings is making them light enough to wear – a big problem for me, as my designs are large and over the top. Five pound earrings just aren’t going to cut it unless you are into pain and self-mutilation. Admittedly – that is a potential target audience, but still … . 😉

This particular combo of decorative headpin and bead cap works particularly well for lampwork spacers, and I use it a lot.

That would be these and these,

if they are in stock. They go out of stock quickly – so when you see ’em, snap ’em up.

There are lots of other bead cap and decorative headpin combo’s that work too, so if it’s lampwork spacers you are making into earrings – that’s pretty easy. These beads are pretty plain, but there are certainly lampwork-bead-making artists out there making wonderful intricate and SMALL beads that would make great earrings. (I’m just not one of them!)

So – then I thought I would fire up the wayback machine – so to speak – and go have dig through my not inconsiderable jewelry collection – and see what was in there for old favorites. None of these are made by me.

I used to wear these a lot – these are carved wood (I think!) Moths – made by LizzyBugs. These are lightweight and surprisingly flattering. Hmm – there’s another consideration for earrings. They are next to your face – so whether they are flattering is probably a bigger consideration than for, say, bracelets.

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I loved these and wore them a lot. See the close ups of the back and beads if you are curious as to the actual construction. Seedbeads and glue and a peacock feather. They’ve held up surprisingly well over the years.

Then I found these – hoo boy! Aren’t they fabulous!?!!! Can you wear them for more than an hour? Nooo! (They are clip-ons – and have tiny little labels on the back: “left” and “right.” How cute is that? They are exceedingly heavy and uncomfortable. There was a time when I suffered exquisitely painful earrings – but those days are gone!

Which brought me to these fabulous babies – lizards that appear to be gnawing on your earlobes! These are LAR – Lunch at the Ritz – and I have adored their jewelry for years. These are actually surprisingly wearable – being very lightweight. I had forgotten about these – maybe I should take them out for a spin again!

And these final pair of hammered silver. These are unremarkable by themselves – but I used to load on all my silver jewelery – and these would be the earrings that went with all that “stuff.”

So here are some thoughts on earring designs.

If they are statements unto themselves – go crazy – but remember – they have to be really fabulous in order for someone to put up with being in pain to wear them – so think lightweight. Polymer clay, wood, ivory substitute, bone, resin instead of glass, stone, for instance. Hollow designs. Lightweight wires (earrings don’t need a lot of strength.)

If they are accents – and maybe earrings are more often used as accents to coordinate with an outfit, match the colour of your eyes or draw attention to a long, slender neck, etc. – then they can be fairly plain and still be effective. Maybe the oval bead on a head pin is not really so bad?

I’m sure lots of you think I have missed the point entirely – so fire away with your comments. 😉


  1. I love your peacock earring. You used seed beads for the blue green part too? In close up with the pictures of the brown one seems like it had fuzzy materials. Any way it is beautiful. Also I wanted to compliment on your tutorial that I found from another web site link. Thank you. Dita.

  2. Heather

    Moth earrings?? Shudder!! (G)

    I, like you, end up wearing a pair of gold or silver hoops that go with everything, but have now been inspired to try some really oddball stuff….only in order to catch up with your peacock feathers and moths, lol.

    Thanks for the illustrations and thoughts. I will now hit the table to see whatI can make that is different. Bah to ovals!! (G)

  3. The blue-green fuzzy part of the peacock earring is an actual peacock feather! The ends are combed out and poked into beads and glued in place.

    (as opposed to the blue-green fuzzy stuff that is growing in my fridge. Sorry – couldn’t resist!)

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