I really love working with sterling wire, I know it is expensive, but for ear wires it is the only thing I use. I have tried to use non-sterling ear wires in order to keep my prices down, but after a small trial I decided I would only use sterling ear wires and I like to make my own.
I love making earrings with art beads and decided my earrings should have hand made ear wires to go with the artistic beads that I use.
Secondly, jewelry allergies are usually caused by nickle, so working with sterling I can be sure that my ear wires do not have nickle. Sterling silver is made up of 92.5 fine silver and 7.5% cooper
Some things I have learned.
Sterling is expensive, so I always make a sample in copper or tin wire, take careful measurements and put it in my small note book.
My little bench book is used to record precise measurements and tools used for components that I make all the time and I can always tweak my notes as I go along.
Below are the steps that I take when making my hammered ear wires.
I use 20g full hard sterling silver for my ear wires as I find it gives the best results. Using 20g full hard is a tip I learned from Denise Peck in a Step by Step Wire issue
- Measure my wire and cut as many pieces as I want to make.
- Hammer one end and round the other end with my burr cup wire rounding tool ( this can be done later too)
- Make a loop on the hammered end
- Make the earring loop and slightly hammer at the curve
- Finally I make a small kink at the end with my flat nose pliers
- Working in assembly line fashion I make 10 -20 pairs at a time
- I also include rubber earring backs with each pair