Let’s talk about earrings! or ear rings – as you prefer. Earrings are fun and quick to make – you can easily make up pairs to go with every mood, outfit, holiday, day of the week, etc. Even before I made jewelry – I could easily go more than a month without repeating a pair.
Of course, the findings are what make an earring work. A necklace or bracelet is mostly about the content – the beads or whathaveyou – and the clasp is a nice finishing touch. But with earrings – the findings – the mechanical bits, if you will – set the tone of the earring. Dangley, drippy vs stud, etc.
Here’s a review of earrings findings.
The simplist of all are “Shepherd’s Hooks” or “Fish Hook” style earrings – which is – to put not too fine a point on it – a piece of bent wire. In fact – you can buy a nifty little tool – a jig and bending device – that allows you to crank out your own earwires by the score!
The downside to this very, very simple finding is that they can fall out of your ears and you lose the earring. Either they slide forward and slide out, or they snag in clothing and are pulled out. So a more secure option, but nearly as simple, is the “Kidney Wire” – which adds a little hook to catch the back of the earring in, to close it up and become a loop. Usually delicate and light – they don’t add much to the weight of the overall piece.
The more substantial “Leverback” – in both a roundy style and an elongated style are much more secure to wear – and eliminate the little hook that can snag on clothing, hair, etc. The more round-in-profile style is often referred to as Euro-style. Leverbacks are generally more substantially made – they have moving parts, and so are a more expensive finding to make. They can be a little more awkward to get into your ear as well. But they are very secure in terms of staying there, and they don’t snag on things.
These all have in common that they have a loop at the front for hanging the decorative part of the earring off – so they are used for “dangly” style earrings. The leverbacks often have some decorative element too – from a simple ball or a little fan shaped wedge of metal, to make them look less utilitarian.
Stud or Post style earrings make for a more minimalist design – if desired. You need to pair these up with a “back” – to slip over the back to retain them. This is usually a “butterfly” back – or nut – that slips over the earring to keep it in place.
The wider, flatter style – also known as a “clutch” – has a built-in disk to make the earring back wider. The wider style is good for heavier earrings – as it spreads the weight and pressure out over a larger area – making the earring more comfortable – or changing the exquisite pain into a dull ache – as the case may be – depending on just how heavy you made them!
Those who never conquered their fear of having needles stuck in them and didn’t get their ears pierced need not feel left out. (OK – I’m being a bit flippant about that – there are lots of good reasons for wearing clip-ons and/or not having holes poked in your body.) Clip-on earrings still need to walk the fine line of design by not being too heavy, as a clip-on with enough strength to keep a heavy earring on can be excruciatingly uncomfortable. (Guys – you have no idea the suffering women do in the name of fashion. )
Clip-ons come in a surprising number of styles, actually. They can be light and airy, with a simple loop for hanging. Or a more decorative style.
Or they can be a speciality finding – like a perforated disk – for wiring small beads to.
Chandelier is a term used for particularly large, ornate, drippy style of earrings – much like a chandelier light fixture. These findings can be hung from almost any style of earring that has a loop – from shepherd’s hooks to leverbacks to clip-ons, and are hung with small beads or crystals. Be careful not to get carried away and make them too heavy!
Hoop earrings are a simple style that are more oriented for viewing from the side – excellent with pulled up hairstyles, and they won’t widen the look of the face visually the same way a wide, chandelier style might.
That pretty much wraps up earrings. Because earrings need to remain light – so that they are comfortable and wearable, and they seldom get the hard knocks that bracelets do – you can attach the beads that you use with a “simple loop” as opposed to a “wrapped loop.”
And one final thought – you know you are a beader when … you make a pair of earring to go with your outfit for tonight’s evening out while your significant other is in the shower. On a regular basis. 😉