Techniques: Involved components, horseshoe link
Skill Level: Intermediate
With a lot of motion, these sturdy earrings have a delicate appearance and are fun to wear. You can make them as shown, (graduated in size from the top down - small to large), or reverse the order. Seemingly simple to make (based on the "Horseshoe Link') they can be a bit tricky to connect; be sure to follow all of the directions carefully. The finished design is 3 inches long. If you prefer shorter earrings, only make the first two links. Explore variations, by using your own favorite combinations of beads and/or crystals, for a new addition to your line!
Make components first:
1. For each earring, using the 21 gauge fancy square wire, straighten, clean and cut two each of the following lengths: 2 1/4 inches, 2 3/4 inches, and 3 inches. Mark the center of each length of wire.
2. Place the center mark of the 2 1/4 inch wire at size 1 on a ring mandrel and push evenly on both sides of the wire simultaneously, until the wire forms a 'horseshoe - U' shape, or an 'open teardrop.' Repeat with the 2 3/4 inch piece on size 2, and the 3 inch piece on size 3.
3. To make the "open eye" connection hoops
on each 'horseshoe' – with the 'U' shape facing you, place your round nose pliers at the very tip of a wire's end, grasp firmly, and in one smooth motion roll the wire toward the back of the shape, away from you. Loosen your pliers' grip on the wire, but do not remove the pliers.
4. Roll your pliers around the loop you just made until they are in the front, and where they just hit the wire in front, tighten your grip and bend the wire slighlty toward you, forming an "open eye." Repeat on both ends of every "U" shape. (Remember that you are making eyes to go around another 21 gauge wire, leaving room for swing.)
5. To shape your "U" into an open teardrop that will swing properly, use flat nose pliers to gently bend each "open eye" straight up. Finish by grasping both 'open eye' ends of each "U" together with flat nose pliers.
6. Make each charm by using a 22 gauge, 1 1/2 inch long headpin and the following sequence, with the first item listed being the first put on the headpin.
Top charm: 6 mm round, 4 mm bicone
Middle charm: 9x6 mm olive and two 4 mm bicones
Bottom charm: 9x6
mm teardrop and four 4 mm bicones
After adding the beads, place the tip of the chain nose pliers just above the last bead and use fingers to bend the headpin over the edge of the pliers at a 90 degree angle, locking on the beads and proceed to make a wrapped loop.
7. Lay all components out in order. Start with the middle "U." Use chain nose pliers to slightly open the eyes, bending the ends toward each side of the "U" (like opening a jump ring). Slip on the BOTTOM, longest charm, and set this piece aside.
8. Take the BOTTOM, largest "U" and open the eyes slightly. Gently squeeze the "U" together with your fingers and hook it over the bottom of the middle "U" and on either side of the charm. Close the eyes, making sure not to squeeze them tight, so the "U" will swing.
9. Slide the TOP, shortest charm onto the 7 mm jump ring. Open the eyes of the smallest "U," slip on the MIDDLE charm, and then hook this smallest "U" onto the jump ring, on either side of the charm, and close the eyes. Now, hook the eyes of the middle "U" onto the top "U," and on either side of the middle charm. Finish by attaching ear wires to the jump rings, and enjoy!