Discover all the different types of earring findings in this complete guide so you can explore various designs when jewelry making.
Did you know that earrings were predominantly worn by men in ancient times?
Throughout the years, they were used to represent various statuses in different cultures. Earrings have been used to show everything from being a slave to a wealthy member of society. Eventually, the Catholic Church in Europe forbade the piercing of ears and only the lower class continued to wear them. (The history of earrings is more fascinating that I would have guessed.)
Fast forward thousands of years and earrings are a popular accessory for any gender worldwide. Whether you have pierced ears or not, most people have at least a few pairs at home.
As a jewelry maker, you need to have earring findings in order to make beaded earrings. There are several types and that’s what I’ll discuss today.
This is the ultimate guide to earring findings. At the end of this post you’ll know all the different kinds there are for when you want to make your own earrings.
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A Guide To Earring Findings
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Types of Earring Hooks or Earring Wires
French or Shepherd hooks are the most popular type of earring findings. In their simplest form, they are made using a piece of wire that is curved with a small loop at the bottom end so you can attach the earring. These are inexpensive and easy to make.
You can create variations of these simply by changing the shape or adding decorative elements to the ear wire itself.
One downside of these findings is that they sometimes slip out of the ear while being worn. To prevent this, add a rubber back stopper to secure the hooks and avoid losing them.
V-wire hooks or Marquise wires are variations of the traditional ear wire hooks. The top of these are pointed instead of the gentle curve usually found in French earring hooks. V-wires are typically larger than regular hooks and can support heavier dangles.
Ear threads a.k.a ear threaders or threader earrings consist of a short post with chain attached. The post allows the earrings to slip into the ear easily where it dangles both at the front and the back. These earrings can be embellished with charms or beads.
Kidney ear wires are shaped like a kidney with a built-in latch that allows for added security.
Leverback earring findings or hinged ear wires have a hinged back that snaps into place behind the ear lobe. This earring style is very popular for high end jewelry as the leverback design prevents earring loss. Most designs have a loop at the bottom so you can easily attach beads or charms.
The ear harp is a type of lever back earring that’s shaped like a harp.
Post or stud earring findings consist of a post that goes through the ear and an embellishment that is fused or soldered to the front. Some styles include cups or pegs or flat pads for adding half-drilled beads and cabachons. In addition to that, there are variations that have loops where you can attach dangles to the earring.
Clutch or butterfly post earring backs keep these types of findings secure.
Earring Hoops for Jewelry Making
Hoop earring findings are available in a wide variety of colors and even shapes. There are the traditional round hoops, but also, square, rectangular, triangular, ovals and more.
Round hoops can be found in lots of sizes from ones that hug the ear lobe to huge components that touch your shoulders.
Wire hoops are lightweight and inexpensive, usually with one end flattened and having a hole in the middle where the opposite end latches into. Alternatively, they may have a circular loop at one end which secures the other end of the earring.
Hinged hoop earrings have a hinge that securely latches. These are often made with hollow castings which allows for ornate patterns and shapes.
Endless hoop earring findings are hollow. The top arch that threads through the ear is a fine wire that then is inserted inside the open end of the earring. This gives an endless look.
Earring Findings for Non-Pierced Ears
These findings were invented in the early 20th century. In some cultures, ear piercing was considered unsanitary (probably because it was at the time) and even barbaric.
These earring styles have pegs, loops and more to allow for decoration just like pierced earring findings.
Clip-on earring findings are the most popular earring finding option for people without pierced ears. They have a lever which allows the user to open them and attach them to the ear. These earrings do tend to fall off easily especially if the attached embellishments are too heavy.
Screwbacks have a component with a flattened end that screws into the back of the ear holding the earring in place.
Other Types of Earring Findings
Chandelier earring findings usually hang from an ear wire. The earring components include the hooks and filigree or wire components with several soldered loops along the bottom edge. Use the loops to attach embellishments e.g. crystals and chains and create a cluster effect.
These were originally very popular in East Indian cultures but have worked their way west and are now part of mainstream fashion everywhere.
Ear cuffs are metal bands that wrap around the cartilage in the middle of the ear. They can be embellished with chains or charms.
Ear climbers or crawlers have a post that threads through the ear and hugs the back. These give the effect that the earring design at the front is climbing up the ear instead of dangling down off the ear lobe.
Now, you’re an expert in earring findings. Ready to make use of them? Check out the step-by-step earring patterns below: