Basic Earring Findings

As we learn our first pair of earrings let's look closer at the basic earring findings.

What are findings? Findings are a category of jewelry making supplies and with earrings we only need two!

Plus we'll need some decorative beads as well. 

Here is your list:

  • Beads
  • 2 Head Pins
  • 2 Earring Wires

That's it!

The process is as simple as the supply list.

  1. The beads get strung onto a head pin.
  2. Create a loop at the top of the head pin to hold the bead(s) in place.

At this point you just created a 'dangle'.

It looks like this...


Since we are creating earrings in this example, the basic earring finding used will be an earring wire.

   3. The dangle gets attached to the earring wire as shown.


This particular earring wire used here is called a 'fishhook' earring wire.

You just made an earring. Now do it again and you have a pair of earrings.

That looks simple enough don't you think?


What if you don't want to make earrings. What if you would rather make something else.

Maybe you'd like to make a charm.

Then you have the choice of adding other basic findings to the dangle which will create other types of jewelry accessories.

Such as... 

  • purse tassel or zipper pull
  • pendent necklace
  • linked bracelet
  • bookmark
  • charms

The list can go on and on just by simply adding the original dangle to a different finding.

For now let's just explore the basic earring findings to get you started learning the second of the two basic beading techniques and send you on your way to creating a treasure-trove of jewelry and accessories.

Basic Earring Findings

Let's look a little closer at basic earring findings to clarify what we just talked about.

When making earrings or charms or pendents you must begin by making a drop or dangle.

To create a drop or dangle you will need a finding called...

Head Pin -or- Eye Pin

  • Head Pin or Eye Pin is a bendable wire different then the soft flexible beading wire used for bracelets and necklaces.

This type of wire is flexible enough to shape and manipulate but firm enough to hold it's shape based on the gauge of the wire. Learning which gauge to use will be the task.

This wire is shaped as a pin with either a head or eye on the end which keeps the bead from falling off the pin at one end.

The purpose for the head pin is to create a stopping point.

The purpose for an eye pin is to create a link which allows the option of continuing the design to other dangles.

We will look at this a little later on in our lessons, but first let's understand a bit more about the wire in the head and eye pins.

Sculpting Wire Gauge Conversion Reference Chart

The wire is measured generally in diameter. The diameter size is listed most commonly by gauge generally shown in even numbers [ex. 20, 22, 24] or it may also be measured by mm.

It's important to learn how to read both so you know what to look for as you buy pins for your earrings or charm creations.

Use this wire conversion chart as a quick reference to help you begin to understand the difference in sizes available.

Wire Conversion Chart

As you can see in both examples here the smaller the number of gauge the thicker the wire as you can see in this picture.

For a head or eye pin a 20 gauge/thicker diameter is a good gauge when creating the single or plain loops.

Gauged wire is sold either pre-packaged as pre-cut pins or you can also find gauged wire sold on spools, but this is not the same wire used to create necklaces and bracelets as discussed in 'My 1st beaded necklace' or 'My 1st beaded bracelet'

Learn to tell the difference now, here in the beginning. This will help you in the long run.

Beading Tip:

When shopping for wire remember soft flexible beading wire, used for necklaces and bracelets, is measured in strands.

This stiffer wire, intended for sculpting loops, is measured by gauge.

Learning to read supply labels properly will save you the headache of buying the wrong materials.

You must be careful though not to get the gauged wire mixed up with soft flexible beading wire packaging, they may look the same or seem similar but they are not. 

The pre-cut pins can be found in different lengths generally between 2" to 4".  Depending where you buy your pins will determine how you need to understand the measurement.  Each supplier labels differently so it's important to pay attention to the difference between gauge and diameter both mm and inches.

Refer to the chart above as you begin to shop for these pins. It will help you to learn the difference so you'll be ready when reading your suppliers descriptions of the product.

Beading Tip:

Not all beading suppliers descriptions are created equal.

Let me repeat my advice from above;

Learning to read supply labels properly will save you the headache of buying the wrong materials.

The next basic earring finding we are about to discuss is what turns the dangle or drop into earrings.

It is...

Earring Wires

  • Earring Wires are the components worn in the ear and are made of metal either a base metal or precious metal available in variety of styles.

Shapes and styles will vary. These are just two examples of different styled earring wires for pierced ears.

Fishhook Earring Wire

Lever Back Earring Wire

You will find colored metal earring wires as well, such as gun metal, bronze or an assortment of pretty punchy colors.

Earring wires can also be purchase for either pierced style or clip on style. Both shown here are pierced.

You will also have option of a dangled earring or also a post earring as well for both pierced and clip on. You see there are lots and lots of options. [have I said that before?]

If making earrings is not your thing then we'll talk more on other options as we get further into how to make jewelry and accessories.

Learning to make earrings is not a necessity, but learning the technique of making a single or plain loop is.

It is used in so many other applications than earrings that you will find this a very handy technique, earrings just happen to be the most commonly found using the single or plain loop.  

So we'll look at other findings in the jewelry making classes and jewelry findings beyond the basics.

Allow me to introduce one more finding not listed above but an important finding easily used in earrings, bracelets and necklaces...

Jump Rings

  • Jump Rings are a circled component made of metal, either base metal or precious metal. They are a general type of finding with lots of uses. Their main purpose is to connect items together.   

Jump rings are very handy to have in your stash and I would encourage you to have a few. They are not limited to just earrings but can also be used with necklaces and bracelet designs as well.

The picture here is an example of using a jump ring connecting several drops to create a pair of dangle earrings on fishhook ear wires.  

Jump rings are most commonly made of wire, either base or precious metal, in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors as well. But most commonly, jump rings are found as either circles or ovals.

Most jump rings have a slit for convenience to open and close the ring but some jump rings are soldered shut, in which case they must be connected using a different method.  

There is also a different type of connector that is similar to a jump ring called a split ring which is a double jump ring created from a continuous strand of wire.

You know them best as key rings. 

Let me remind you, if some of these words are new to you then be sure to visit the bead terminology page for reference.

Last on our list of basic earring findings will be the most obvious...


  • Beads are the eye candy for all your jewelry projects.

Beads come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, colors, textures, materials and the list goes on. It would be too much if I were to cover it all right here.

The basics to beads is the place to discuss this.

Follow the link, it should open in a new window and read it along with this page. Just be sure to come back here and finish

The choice is yours. It all fits'll thank me later. 

Earrings and accessories are great ways to use up odds and ends of beads left over from larger projects.

Skip on over and read the general overview to give you a feel for the assortment and variety that awaits you when selecting beads for your earring and accessories projects. 

In Conclusion...

The selection of findings can seem overwhelming and endless.

If you just start with these basic supplies listed here you will be fine for your first beginner projects. 

As you progress through and start moving beyond the basics, more findings will be introduced, discussed and examples provided for your convenience.

If you take this process I share, you will be ready if you don't jump to far ahead. I offer this process for a reason.

There is time to learn about all the basic earring findings plus so much more, but in their own time as each new project is introduced. 

So keep moving forward, you're getting there.

What to Do Next?

Now that you have covered the basic earring findings move on to the basic jewelers tools needed to create the single or plain loop.

Then you'll be ready to begin viewing or making your first project with the earring beading tutorial.

If at any time you have any questions or need more guidance feel free to leave a comment or contact me.

We all had to start somewhere and it's nice to know there is support.


Then I'll see you on the next page.

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