These ear cuffs are inspired by ancient Celtic jewelry. A lot of Celtic jewelry was made using wire wrapping techniques using bronze wire. So for this pair, I used Vintage Bronze colored wire. It's an enameled finish on copper wire and one of my favorite colors. You can use any wire you prefer.
You will need:
14 inches 18 gauge round wire
16 inches 22 gauge round wire
beads- the beads I used are faceted crystals from Michaels- vertically drilled drops and a large oval shape.
round nose pliers
Chain nose pliers
knitting needle, dowel or pencil to use as a mandrel
Start by cutting the 18 gauge wire into 2 7 inch pieces. Measure 2 7/8th inch from one end, and bend the wire, then 2 7/8th inch from the other end to make a second bend going towards the opposite size of the wire making an elongated Z shape. Repeat with the other wire. Smooth ends of the wire with the file.
Cut two pieces of the 22 gauge wire to 3 inches and wrap around the middle of the Z shape. Flatten the wire tightly with the chain nose pliers.
Now you add the spirals. You want them to be mirror matches for each other, so it's helpful to do one, then the other. Bend one wire up, and start the spiral with the round nose pliers, then hold the loop flat between the jaws of the chain nose pliers and turn the wire around the center. On the bottom, bend the wire down, then make an S shape curving the wire around the round nose pliers. Add a small open spiral on the bottom.
Now to make the drops. Start with the top accent bead, and cut a piece of 22 gauge wire that's as long as the bead you are using + 2 inches. Smooth ends of the wire with the file. Make a wrapped loop
at the bottom and slide the bead on. Wrapped loops have been used in jewelry making for over 2000 years. It's a very secure, classic technique.
For the top loop, make the circle, then put it on the bottom spiral of the ear cuff before finishing by wrapping the loop.
Cut a piece of wire for the bottom drop that's an inch and a half longer than the bead. Smooth ends of the wire with the file. Make a very small loop on the bottom of it, and bend it at a 90 degree angle. This is another very old technique to use in place of head pins. Making a loop then flattening it into a T shape will also work. Thread on the bead, then make a loop at the top, slide it through the bottom wrapped loop of the other bead, and finish wrapping the loop closed.
Curve the cuffs around your mandrel to finish.
One of the reasons that I like ear cuffs so much is that for people who don't have pierced ears, or people who can't wear heavy earrings, they are a great option.
In my photo of the finished cuffs, I used a knitting loom my husband made me. You can learn more about it here
if you're interested.