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18K omega clips

Hi everybody, I’m a new subscriber, and I’m in need of some help on
using omega clips.

I’m making a pair of 18K gold earrings (a commission) and am having
trouble getting a strong enough snap or tight enough grip to hold the
earrings to the ears.

I didn’t solder them with the clip attached, so that’s not the
problem. I’ve also gently bent the post forward (the post I’m
referring to is the part that the clip is riveted to, I’m not using a
pierced earring post), and that doesn’t seem to help.

I made a pair of sterling prototypes first, and they work great.
However, I did notice that the post part of the silver omega clip is
larger than the gold post, even though the clip is the same size
(they were both purchased from Rio). So the clip sits higher on the
silver earring and therefore hits the (domed) pad a little

So I think there must be something about the height and/or angle of
the clip or maybe something about how or where the end of the clip
hits the pad, that is affecting the grip.

Does anybody have any experience or ideas?

Thanks, I hope I can be of help to someone soon.

My personal ‘trick’ for making an omega clip tighter on the client’s
earlobe is to use a needle nose pliers on the rounded end of the omega
(the end opposite the open end) and give it a slight squeeze to
flatten the curve a little. This puts more “spring” into the clip.
David Barzilay, Lord of the Rings

Sharon- bending the post might be in the right direction, but with
some clips it is necessary to file the bottom of the post at an
angle. For me it works best when the omega part reaches all the way
down to the pad or back of the earring in a resting position. You can
adjust this before soldering, just by holding your (preliminarily)
assembled piece down where it is supposed to go.

The clip will have its maximum tension in about 5-7mm distance from
the bottom. If the tension is not enough you can increase it by
gently squeezing the two hinges of the post part together 1/2 mm.

Good luck, Regina

Hi Sharon, I’m a fairly new subscriber myself, but have received some
great help here already. I think that your problem might be the omega
clips. In my experience the single loop omega clip isn’t really meant
to be a “stand alone” clip back, but just a more stable alternative to
the earnut on friction posts. Sometimes you can get away with them if
the earring is light, or the omegas tight. They’re not consistently
tight though, and as you’ve found, can only be tightened to a certain
point by bending the post.

(Disclaimer, I have no connection to Stuller)

Stuller makes a heavy double loop omega that will work, but they’re a
bit expensive, (about $60. a pair). They are also offering something
new called an ear button, it’s a little gold “pillow” that straps
across the omega to give it more grip. It doesn’t look like it would
be very expensive, but the price wasn’t in when they printed the
catalog. I hope this is some small help

Robert Wise Studio
Columbus, Ohio

Sharon, My experience has been that omega clips were never intended to
be used without a post. The clips I use when making ( or converting )
non-pierced earrings, are more expensive, but designed for use without
posts. The clips are availible from Stuller, they have a separate
spring bar that is removable for soldering and are much stronger than
omega clips. I don’t have a copy of the catalog at home so I can’t
give you the part number until Monday ( if you want it ).

Dean D Amick
Hamilton Jewelers

I have found that omega clips never work perfectly without some
adjustment. You need to pull the rivet and remove the clip wire.
Solder the base to your earring. Then bend the two arms of the base
portion so they line up perfectly (they rarely do). Then take a
needle bur or an .8mm drill bit and clean up the two locking grooves
on each arm (they are 90 degrees from each other, one for clipping to
the ear and one in the released position). You need to make each of
the grooves nice and smooth, well defined and just like it’s mate.
Then bend the wire open a bit to create some tension and put it in
the base and slide the rivet through. Check to be sure it works
perfectly, if not you will see that one side is not snapping into its
groove properly. I usually ball up the ends of the rivet with my
torch, if you peen them over you may bend the rivet wire and cause
more trouble. After polishing put a little drop of mineral oil on the
moving parts. You should have an omega back that will
hold any reasonably sized earring on any ear. Mark

         The clip will have its maximum tension in about 5-7mm
distance from the bottom. If the tension is not enough you can
increase it by gently squeezing the two hinges of the post part
together 1/2 mm. 

Hi Regina,

Good to hear from you, and thanks for responding.

I do have one question about the "5-7mm distance from the bottom."
I’m not sure where the bottom is, do you mean the tip of the round
part of the clip? Or the end of the open prongs?

Cordially, Sharon

Not all omega clips are of the same quality. Some of the lugs
(bases) are cast and poorly finished. Others have lugs that are
hollowed out to lighten and cheapen them in terms of metal content.
The best ones are solid, die struck ones with no hollowing out. The
just have the grooves cut for the spring locking and the rivet holes.
I like the Cobb Omega clips. I believe Frei and Borel carries them.

I almost always need a different angle or height, so I disassemble
the clip, anneal the lug and bend a curve using nonmarring pliers.
This works with good quality lugs, not the lightweight hollowed ones
which tend to crush or deform. Depending what I’m soldering the lug
to, I may do one of the following: (1) file the lug bottom for good
contact on a flat surface, (2) round the bottom of the lug, use a
ball bur to make a round divet in the earring back and solder the lug
in the divet, or (3) use a cylinder bur to cut a round groove on an
inside wall of the earring, back the lug into the groove and solder
it in place. I have even soldered extensions to the bottom of the
lug to get more length and more positioning options.

I always check my positioning prior to any soldering by testing with
a temporarily assembled omega clip. Then I disassemble for soldering.
After I solder, I double check for positioning and proper working
action by temporarily reassembling. If necessary, I make adjustments.
If all is well, I prepolish, set stones, polish, etc. Then when
reassembling the omega clip, I take a ball bur and slightly
countersink the rivet holes on the outside of the lugs. I replace my
rivet, pushing it farther out on one side. I then wrap up my clip
with a piece of wet paper towel to protect it from accidental
annealing, dab a little boric acid/alcohol on the extended rivet tip
and melt a small bead by aiming my torch flame away from the earring
and clip. I use a pretty hot flame, working quickly and taking care
to get a nicely shaped bead, not a wrinkled, pitted one. Then I push
the beaded end snugly into the countersunk hole. I trim any excess
rivet if necessary and then melt the bead on the remaining tip, once
again taking care to aim the heat away from the clip and the earring.
By countersinking the holes, I can slightly shift the rivet so it
looks balanced with the beaded tips partially imbedded in the lug. I
don’t like seeing balled ends with wire exposed. I then clean and
finish polishing the clip, rivet ends and lug. After I thoroughly
clean the piece, I put tiny drops of oil to lubricate the moving
parts. NOTE: If you pre-bead your rivet before reassembling, you may
have problems sliding a soft, annealed rivet through the lug and
spring without it bending or breaking.

Something I do when using omega clips without posts is to do one of
the following:

(1) Thread 1mm wire with a threading die. Make appropriately sized
jumprings which will serve as the pad against the ear. These
jumprings are positioned so when the spring is down in place, you’d
see the threaded donut within your spring loop. In the case of small
omega clips, your threaded jump ring may be about the same size as
the loop of your spring.

(2) Make discs and dome them. Solder threaded jumprings so they rest
on the edge of the domed discs. Position the domed disc/threaded
jumpring assemblies in much the same way as above. NOTE: I
sometimes logo and quality stamp the discs before I dome them and
solder on the threaded wire. That way, my quality/ID tag is
integrated into the piece and not just added on.

(3) With good quality lugs that are securely anchored, I can adjust
the grip of the spring against the threaded jumpring or disc/ring pad
by bending the lug slightly. This is the reason I always put a
slight bend in my lugs. Straight lugs don’t lend themselves to this
adjustment very easily. You end up stressing the solder joint
instead. Also, different people have different comfort levels and
lobe thicknesses. Some customers like to know their earrings are
secure and want to feel pressure. Others can’t handle much pressure.
You never know what’s going to be the case until they try the
earrings on. If you precut the lugs and established the distance
between the spring clip and the pad, you can’t do much in the way of
adjusting. Squeezing in the spring to kill some of the tension just
makes for an insecure, improperly functioning spring.

I got carried away. I hope this helps.

Donna Shimazu