Making Matching Freeform Earrings
by Dale Armstrong

I have been doing some freeform wired earrings lately. I have tons of fun with the first one and always agonize over getting the second one to match! Is that just the nature of the beast when doing freeform work, or is there a trick I'm not aware of? Also, is 20-gauge the best for earring wires?

-Val in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin

Making your own ear wires is an important skill for wire artists to have–and if you’re having an “uninspired” day, you can just make a large batch of ear wires in the metals you work with, and definitely still count that as a work day! So, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. Freeform means “an asymmetrical shape or design, not conforming to conventional rules of composition,” so by definition, a “freeform pair” is not going to match perfectly. If the two forms did, they would no longer be freeform, but symmetrical.

The best way I know to make earrings match, is to make them both at the same time, performing one or two steps on one and then on the other, progressing until they are finished. Yes, freeform earrings are more difficult to match; however that is the beauty of freeform style! It is a challenge to your skills, especially if you are making mirror images (one left and one right). If the earrings are labeled freeform, it should be a notice to the customer that they will not match. Besides, earrings are worn on different sides of one’s head, so they are not both fully seen at the same time.

As far as the gauge of wire used to make ear wires, it totally up to both you and your customer. Most traditional wire jewelry designers use 21-gauge. You could make pairs in both 20 and 21-gauge and give your customer the choice, as some may have larger ear piercings than others.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong


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  • Category: Findings
  • Technique(s): Making Findings