Monday, July 11, 2011

DIY solitaire earrings

I went through a phase where I lose lots of single earrings. I was most upset about losing a cubic zirconia earring that I bought a few years ago, at the same store where I bought the jewellery for my matron-of-honour. They're simple and they go with everything - definitely one of my favourites.

See how lonely the "orphan" is?

I searched high and low to find a replacement but to no avail. Finally I decided to take matters into my own hands. I'm going to make them myself!

I know etsy sells supplies as well as handcrafted goodies so I did a search. Canterbury Lane has all the parts I wanted and the store owner Jing was very helpful so I placed an order.

A week or so later I received my parcel.

The silver prongs came in a pack of 4 so I ordered another a pair of round crystals as well. The colour is called "Vintage Rose".

I have no experience whatsoever with jewellery making so it was very much a matter of trial-and-error. I raided Mr C's toolbox for some equipment.

Attractive, ay? I don't even know what the tool on the left is called, it is used for cutting wires.

The prongs I bought are meant to be for pendants so each has a bail attached. My first task was to remove the bail. I used the cutting-wire tool to twist and break the bail. It was a bit fiddly but I got there at the end.

(Note: You can buy prongs without the bail. I chose this one because I didn't want the prong to be open at the back.)

Next I put the stone on the prong. As you can see the "claws" need to be clamped down to secure the stone.

It was a bit nerve-wrecking trying to use the pilers to press down the claws. I was worried that I'd break the stone, or even the claws themselves. After many tentative attempts these are the steps that worked for me.

(1) Clamp the prong with the pilers as pictured below (let's call it at 12pm and 6pm) - a little bit below the tips of the claws. Apply gentle pressure until you can feel a slight tightening.

Use your other hand to hold onto the prong (the stone can still fall off at this point so keep it levelled), then rotate the prong 90 degrees and do the same at 3pm/9pm.

(2) Tilt the prong by 45 degrees, use the pilers to clamp the prong as below. Apply gentle pressure to bend the claw at the top.

This is a delicate operation. If you press too gently the claw won't yield. If you press too hard you may chip the stone. Once you get it right the first time, you'll have a much better idea on the amount of force required.

Repeat the same for all 4 claws and the stone is secured!

The last step is relatively easy - use the pilers to open up the loop part of the ear wires, slot the prong in, then clamp the loop shut.

The first earring took a while to make as I tried different techniques. The rest were a lot quicker - around 10 minutes each.

Here are the finished products!

Aren't they beautiful? The CZ are so sparkly!

Actually I chipped the top of one of the CZ slightly. It is only visible in close-up. I don't mind the imperfection, it reminds me that they are hand-made - by me!

This was a lot of fun, and while I'm not going to become a jewellery designer any time soon, if I have new ideas I won't hesitate to make more earrings.

The 2 pairs of earrings came to a total of US$17.50 including postage. Now that's a bargain!

P.S. I posted all the giveaway parcels this morning. Elle, Lisa and Jadegrrrl I hope you get them soon!


  1. So clever!!! The vintage rose colour would look lively with your hair colour x

  2. Nice work! I'll let you know when my darling broach arrives :)

  3. Oh WOW! They look amazing, CG and I agree, they look like they'd go with everything. So clever!

  4. i think you've done a marvellous job!

  5. so pretty! maybe time for a career change? hehe

  6. I love those earrings! I have had several pairs of the same type, but always end up losing them too :-(

    I might have to look into making them! Great post :-)

  7. Thanks everyone. I'm really happy with them. I'm wearing the CZ pair right now.

    Let me know if any of you decide to give it a try!

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