Two Ways to Make Dangling Gemstone Earrings

Bridal Pearl Earrings

Two Ways to Make Dangling Gemstone Earrings

Bridal Pearl Earrings

For her wedding, my daughter wanted “new” pearl earrings to coordinate with the “old” pearl strands she planned to wear around her neck and in her hair. It meant a lot to her to wear pearls that her grandmothers wore years ago, so we hunted for a good match.

The freshwater pearls we found had the right look, so we dangled them from short lengths of sterling silver chain to make Bridal Pearl Earrings. The pearls show a subtle variation in size and color. This adds visual interest to the earrings. Attached to short lengths of sterling silver chain, the dangly gems dance along with the bride.

Basic wireworking skills are all you need to duplicate this design with beads of your choice. A good how-to book can help. Here’s what you need:

Each pearl attaches to a link of chain with a sterling silver headpin that is then formed into a wrapped loop. The pearls dangle from links at measured intervals and graduate in size from largest to smallest. Five pearls on each earring create a nice balance. They were long enough to be noticed, but not long enough to be distracting.

Here’s what you do:

  • First, line up your beads in the order you want.
  • Beginning with a headpin and the bottom bead, begin a wrapped loop, placing one end of the chain onto the loop before closing it with a couple of wraps. Trim excess wire.
  • Place the next bead on another headpin. Begin another wrapped loop, placing the wire on the next link in the chain you want to use before closing the loop. Then trim excess wire. (Depending on your personal preference and choice of chain, you may want to skip a link or two or you may want to use consecutive links.)
  • Repeat until you have 4 beads dangling on the chain. Cut the chain, allowing space to add one more bead. Set aside.
  • Place the 5th bead onto a headpin and make a completed wrapped loop, then trim excess wire. Set aside with the beaded chain.
  • Place the top bead onto a 2-inch length of wire. Begin a wrapped loop, placing the unbeaded end of the chain and the bead from the previous step onto the loop before closing. Wrap a couple of times to secure and trim excess wire.
  • Place the remaining top bead on the wire, then snug up next to the wrapped loop.
  • Begin a wrapped loop, placing an ear wire onto the loop before closing. Then wrap a couple of times to secure and trim excess wire.
  • Repeat steps to make the second earring.
Bridal Pearl Earrings

Metal sensitivities seem to be more and more common these days, and my daughter has to be very careful about the metals she wears. Sterling silver to match the earring dangles would have caused an unsightly and unpleasant skin reaction. So we chose ear wires made from surgical steel. They carry the silver color story throughout the jewelry, as well as being safe for her to wear.

Dangling Chalcedony Earrings

These Dangling Chalcedony Earrings topped off my “mother of the bride” ensemble for the afore-mentioned wedding. The faceted chalcedony stones hint at the bride’s color scheme of navy and lavender.

Headpins and heishi spacers connect the stones to sterling silver chain. This particular chain has alternating links that lend themselves to even spacing. There is just enough room between dangles – they are close, but they don’t crowd each other. Each stone stands on its own, as well as part of the ensemble. The iridescent translucence of chalcedony gives the stones a natural visual depth.

Almost white, the neutral palette looks good with a variety of wardrobe choices. They can look quite formal, but would be fun adding a little elegance to a blue jeans day, too. Day to night versatility!

I used a slightly different method to make these earrings. I used jump rings to attach the components, which gives a different look, but is easier to construct. And I wanted my earrings to be shorter than the bride’s, so I used just 3 stones for each earring – that was plenty of swing for me!

Again, basic wireworking skills will produce lovely jewelry. Here is what you need to make dangling gemstone earrings using jump rings:

Each gemstone attaches to a link of chain with a wrapped loop and jump ring. Place the stones close together or a few links apart, depending on the look you want.

Here’s what you do:

  • On each headpin, place one heishi bead, one gemstone and another heishi bead. Finish the dangle with a wrapped loop, then trim excess wire and set aside.
  • On an open jump ring, place one ear wire, one end of chain and one gemstone wrapped loop. Then close the jump ring.
  • On another open jump ring, place the next link of chain you want to use and another gemstone wrapped loop. Close the jump ring.
  • Repeat the above step for the third wire wrapped stone.
  • Cut excess chain below the last bead added.
  • Repeat to make second earring.
Dangling Chalcedony Earrings

Surgical steel ear wires are easy to wear. So if you have metal sensitivities or allergies, surgical steel is a safe alternative to silver. And it doesn’t tarnish. They are much easier to find that they once were, and I try to have several pairs on hand. Do you make jewelry in metals other than silver? Surgical steel and niobium (another nonreactive ear wire metal) are available in a number of finishes.


Browse through more jewelry projects and inspiration on Create Whimsy.


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