Earwire Gauge Questions
When making ear wires like on your amethyst hoop earrings, what gauge do you use? 18 or 19 is too thick to go through my ears or hurts when i wear that. Is 20 or 21 gauge too soft to hold it's shape?
Do you tumble the ear wires with the beads on them already? if not, how do you get the beads on after you have bent it(as in the long half moon type shaped ear wire where it is bent in the middle - part that hangs in ear)? I have found some round full hard 20 gauge sterling silver wire - would that hold up better for earwires than half hard? thanks very much. Is it absolutely necessary to tumble?
Those amethyst hoop earrings were/are made of 18ga wire (1.0mm). I like the way 18ga looks for earwires, but it is too heavy for some wearers. 20ga (0.81mm) suits most everyone, but because it's thinner, it does not work as well for some earring designs. I've even used 22ga (0.63mm) for plain, classic French-style earrwires. 19ga and 21ga are European gauges and not as common here. Of course, whatever gauge you do use, smoothly finishing the ends is very important!!! This is especially true for the heavier gauge wires! A rounded end is easier to insert than a blunt end. Pokey parts can tear delicate tissue, so proper finishing is a must!
I do tumble my earwires (I tumble just about everything!). It helps to harden them so they're more durable, and cleans them up and polishes them. 1/2 hard wire is nice to use for earwires and it does not require tumbling, just a few wipes with a jewelry polishing cloth. It makes beautiful earwires! And, lighter gauges are more durable too! Even full-hard can be used in 22ga or 20ga. Just keep in mind that it is a bit trickier to work with, but because the wire is fine you should have no problems.