Daily Wire Tip August 25: Jewelry Wire for Earrings

By on August 24, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
August 25, 2011


I am an artisan and would like to make economical wire earrings. What type of wire do you recommend? Sterling silver is a bit too expensive for some of my customers. I have seen craft wire spools, but do not know if they tarnish or change color quickly. Can you help me?

-Lillian in San Juan, Puerto Rico


Hello Lillian, because you didn’t mention what your price point is, your question is a bit tricky. All kinds of jewelry wire are suitable for making earrings. Be sure to check out all of the cool earring designs on our Free Patterns page! Many of these designs can be made using the wide variety of colored craft wires available today, and several of them can be made into matching pendants. Yes, eventually some of the color may come off some of the wire, but that depends on the brand you purchase and where and how your customers wear and care for their jewelry. (Example: salt water beaches, chlorine pools, hot tubs, and saunas are not good for any jewelry!)

For the actual wires that go through a person’s ears, I would never recommend using a plated craft wire or any base metal other than stainless steel or niobium, because we have no idea what a customer may be allergic to. There are many places where you can order affordable stainless steel ear wires in bulk (that are hypoallergenic), or you can purchase sterling silver wire and make your own simple ear wires. In my opinion, if you make inexpensive products using low cost supplies, you have to remember that the customer gets what they pay for! I wish you all the best with filling your need.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    August 25, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Making ear wires can be economical in some ways and then, being able to buy in bulk can work out better. As Dale stated, using stainless steel ear wires is a good way to go and you can buy them in large quantities so that the per each price is really good.
    The option of making your own ear wires gives you the ability to dress them up and personalize them more. But, there again, you are affecting your price points.
    I personally like using ready-made ear wires. I will mix silver and copper or silver and gold accents on the body of the earring so that I can use the stainless steel ear wire.

    Scrimshaw Mary

  2. avatar


    August 25, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Dale, I began making my own ear wires when the price of sterling and gold-filled started its upward run. I still use the sterling wire and gold filled wire to make ear wires. At the cost of .10 cents to .15 cents per inch, and using under five inches of wire, I’m still running less cost than paying $12.00 a pair for SS French ear wires in sales catalogs. And I can tell my customer “The ear wires are Sterling or Gold Filled wires.” Most customers really apperciate the extra care, just in case anyone is allergic to base metals.

  3. avatar


    August 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I buy only hypoallergenic or surgical steel…we use craft wire for dangles,twists,etc..try beading a loop of craft wire, twist a loop in the top and add it to a earwire..fast easy earrings…also try the patterns that are in this blog..great things.

    I’m the one with sentive ears so if I can’t wear them I’m not using them…
    People do have issues with sterling…and I have issues with gold,nothing over 12kt…
    We have earrings in all price ranges because you never know what your customer will like.

  4. avatar

    Cairenn Day

    August 25, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    i agree with DeLane, I choose to make my own sterling silver or gold filled ear wires. I will not use surgical steel, because some of it has nickle in it and many folks react to nickle.

    I use either the SS or gold filled ear wires on my copper earrings.

    Niobium is another good choice, since very few folks react to it.

    What is funny, is that I can wear all the cheap ear wires, but I can’t wear SS or fine silver. I seem to be allergic to silver. Maybe there is a reason I like to work at night. :-)

  5. avatar


    August 26, 2011 at 3:32 am

    When I was young, my ears were pierced poorly, they go in at angles. I let them grow up, and had them re-done when I got older, yet again, they went in at angles again, but much less this time. No matter what I use for my ears, they react. The only way I can wear any ear wire is to seal it with renaissance wax and then dip it into neosporin or an antibiotic salve. So earrings are just a hassle for me to wear.
    I use silver, surgical steel, and copper for my earrings, I just make sure to talk to the customer and explain to them what could happen, so far, everything has been fine.

  6. avatar


    September 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Yes DeLane, often making your own components is the least expensive way to go, AND as you confirm, it’s a great feeling to be able to tell a customer that you make “everything”!

  7. avatar

    Joel Finlay

    October 17, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    I have not (yet, in two years) had any trouble with using gold plated and silver plated ear wires purchased from Wire-Sculpture.com. I also use gold-filled and sterling silver in higher-priced earrings or for special requests, but I make those ear wires, which is OK, but takes a bit more time than simply attaching ready-made wires that are EXACTLY alike.

  8. avatar

    Dorothy Garner

    June 5, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I am wondering about the ear wire, can the colorerd craft wire , that include all color also the gold and silver, can they be used for the ear wire ?