I have a novice question about sterling earring posts. I am getting
tired of buying them and need to know advantages/disadvantages of
making them myself out of wire. Assuming that is the way to go, what
gauge wire? Hard or half-hard? Any nifty tricks of the trade I need
I have used 20 and 18 gauge wire for years. Use a bit more than you
need for posts to temporarily solder the two earrings together. Use
enough to secure the combination side to side in a ring clamp. For
most designs, this makes it easier to polish the earring as you have
more to hang on to. Cut and straighten the post when you are done
and touch up the cut end of the post. The excess should be enough to
make another post. Make sure that you buy ear nuts that will fit 18
gauge posts. After polishing down from.040", they usually will fit
a.038" hole friction type ear nut. Good luck. Rob
make a stop or buy pliers that have a gauge built in (micro-mark
sells em).. Cut a bunch at once, line em up and torch them Flux wire
well, heat end in a torch to ball, or forge or whatever you want to
design. I prefer a 24 g.-20g wire depending on the metal. and it's
ability to be work hardened in a tumbler. Its quite easy to make or
you can buy a lot of fusion posts cheap as well. they are sometimes
too short for my needs though. . rer
20 gauge wire, approx 10-11mm long, make the indentation
approximately 2.5mmfrom the end with a pair of snip pliers. Round
off the end and polish. Harden the the post by giving it a twist.
you probaply don't want to hear this but don't make them yourself!
The amount of time and labor you put into making them is not worth
it. Sure, their's nothing to it. Just a piece of wire with a notch or
two and your done. First you have to draw the wire or buy it (if
you've a drawing plate of 80$). Next you have to cut them in length
and file the cutting edge nice round or use an appropriate bur to do
the job. Then file the notches one by one yourself. ....very boring
Buying them costs you something like 11 or 12$ for 100 pieces. So,
where is your profit by making them?
Have fun and enjoy
Candy- I make my ear post out of .8mm wire. After I draw the wire I
then put one end in my vise and grab the other end with my draw tongs
and give it a good tug to make it absloutly straight. After that I
cut them to length and solder. After soldering I take my fine tipped
round/rond nose pliers and gently squeeze and turn near the end of
the post so that the posts are notched without taking away metal. To
finish the ends of the posts perfectly round I use a cup bur.
If the posts are too soft after soldering grab them at the base with
a pair of duck nosed pliers and give the post a twist.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Try stainless steel posts. You can buy them by the 100 or 1000. The
stainless steel is sturdier, and lasts longer than sterling posts. I
gave up using sterling posts 20 years ago for I was tired of fixing
them/replacing them, for they broke so easily. Otherwise, get 20g
wire, cut it up into 3/4" lengths, file the ends and solder them on.
Some people use 14kt posts for it's quite sturdy, but costs more.
Good luck with your posts! If you do use stainless steel, get the
ones that have a padon them, put easy solder on it and solder them
I would love to know what responses you get as I have the same need,
but possibly for a different reason. After following the posts on
Orchid re "what is handmade" I got the impression that the legal
definition allows NO PART of the jewelry to be purchased. That would
mean using purchased posts and ear nuts would disqualify my jewelry
from the handmade designation even if everything else was from sheet
and wire. This is making me rethink my earring designs.
As to wire gauge, I would probably use 20 gauge as that is the most
common size for ear wires, so why not posts? However, if you are
planning to purchase ear nuts instead of buying them, then I would
use whatever wire size the ear nut manufacturer recommends. Hope
Mary Partlan, White Branch Designs
Buying ear posts gets you a piece of thin wire with the end snipped
and tumbled yet sharp-edged. I believe many customer complaints
about allergies to various metals in ear posts are actually victims
of sharp edges scratching the ear hole when the post is inserted.
Making your oun ear posts is not much more work than using the
bought ones, and you can make every part of the post exactly as
First, the end has to be rounded into a polished hemisphere. This
has to be done to bought posts same as your own posts.
Second, you choose the diameter of the post according to the weight
of the earring and the preference of the customer. Bought posts are
the thinnest possible for cheapness. Get ye a drawplate, you need
wires of any diameter on demand. A drawplate is as essential as a
Third, Soldering a post will anneal it. Whichever post you use, it
must be work hardened by twisting 1 and1/2 turns followed by
un-twisting the same amount. This is a good test to prove that the
post is attached firmly. Interesting that the post only twists at
the most annealed part, thus the work hardening happens exactly
Fourth, the groove. It can be a positive lock for the butterfly
rather than a 'click-reference' provided by a thin line. The groove
is filed with a thin round file and a pin vice that sets the
position of the groove. The same pin vice as used for the
I'm pleased you are getting tired of buying earing posts. They
cheapen your product in many ways. Making your own is slightly more
work than correcting the deficciencies of the bought ones.
I'm pleased you are getting tired of buying earing posts. They
cheapen your product in many ways. Making your own is slightly
more work than correcting the deficiencies of the bought ones.
I do not understand, I have seen some artist made earring posts
thatwere pretty crappy looking. I do jewelry repair. I cannot tell
you how many 100's of sterling earring posts I have had to replace.
Thin posts that bend if you look at them as well as thicker posts
that get bent repeatedly over time while they are being put through
the ear. I prefer the earring posts with pads. I use Rio's
They are very well made and no deficiency to correct. Certainly does
not cheapen my earrings, and I get $200-400 for sterling with 18kt,
22kt, or 24kt details. I have not had one customer have an issue with
the thickness, and never had one come back for repair.
Richard Hart G. G.
I would love to know what responses you get as I have the same
need, but possibly for a different reason. After following the
posts on Orchid re "what is handmade" I got the impression that the
legal definition allows NO PART of the jewelry to be purchased.
The definition is a train wreck anyway, but this doesn't mean you
shouldn't attempt to make everything yourself ;-)
I buy standard alloys in stock gauge, and sheet, so as I understand
it those items might not get a hand made stamp.
I live in a country where the jewellery standards are voluntary, and
the standard is about metal purity.
Regards Charles A.
Buying ear posts gets you a piece of thin wire with the end
snipped and tumbled yet sharp-edged. I believe many customer
complaints about allergies to various metals in ear posts are
actually victims of sharp edges scratching the ear hole when the
post is inserted.
That is the most complete nonsense I ever heard of!. I buy the
earpost from the same company as Richard. I've NEVER ever had a
single earpost from a lower quality and I buy them by 100 pieces. Next
to this, I can make a choice out of 20 different earposts and
different thickness of wire. Ones with a pad, without pad,
multi-groove, etc. All first class quality merchandise.
If I should have complains, customer service of this company will be
glad to help me out without making a point out of it. That is what a
good company can offer.
Allergies and wounds are two different subjects and need to be
separated. You don't have to have a wound for having an allergic
reaction. Wounds can be infected which doesn't mean that you have an
Have fun and enjoy
The legal definition of true handmade can be a fuzzy issue. I know
according to the League of NH Craftsmen Standards, high quality
purchased findings are legally allowed, as long as the overall amount
of purchased compoments is 25% or less. That means premade earwires,
ear posts, earbacks, chains, clasps, cabs, faceted stones, some
commercial settings and commercial 3 part pinbacks are allowed. In
fact, we do encourage commercial earbacks for nobody makes them by
hand. That is one thing I willnot made. If you work for a Guild, or
an organization, then check their standards guidelines on what is
allowed, and what percentage is allowed for the makeup of handmade to
commercial compoment ratios. It can get complicated. I've grown up
with the League of NH Craftsmen so complying to their guidelines is
Certain things, like some ear posts, ear backs, tube bezels, prong
settings, lobster clasps/spring rings, as long as they are of high
quality, are more than acceptable and can be better in some cases
than handmade. It really depends on the design and construction. I
make all of my own earwries, all of my toggles, most of my jumprings
and more. The only thing I will not make are earbacks (which I get
the stainless steel jumbo size), earposts (always stainless steel),
good quality lobster clasps from Otto Freir and Stuller, and fine
neckchains. I've made my own pinbacks using stainless steel wire, or
vintage nickel riveting wire which coms with a lovely, sharp point,
prefect as pinstems. I have learned that it is best to use nickel
pin catches, nickel pin joints and nickel or silverplated pin stems.
Sterling pin catches simply don't hold up or fall apart quickly.
That is from experience.
I even make my earwires to a specific gauge - 19 1/2 when I need a
slightly heavier wire. After repairing jewelry for a few years, I
have a repair mentality. I will look at a piece, and see how it will
hold up 10,20 years from now. Most people don't, so I do have a
slightly different attitude.
Joy (who has suffered many a headache in League Standards committee
meetings regarding Standards guidelines)