When you are learning how to make copper earrings, you typically want an earring finding that matches.
Unless you have some silver accent elsewhere in your design, it’s likely you’ll want an earring hook which is either a copper or a dark hue, so it blends in nicely with your earring component.
You also want to be sure they are safe to wear.
Many people are allergic to earrings. The biggest culprit that causes an allergic reaction from earrings is nickel. However, it’s quite common that many metals used to make jewelry findings contain some small amount of nickel. And since the ear hook goes through the lobe of your ear, it’s often problematic for anyone with any metal allergies if the finding contains any nickel. After a while their ear lobes become itchy, red, and perhaps even become warm to the touch. This is what sends people shopping for hypoallergenic earrings.
But isn’t copper hypoallergenic?
Pure copper is deemed to be hypoallergenic. However, it is also quite soft. So, it’s common for companies to add a small percentage of nickel to add strength to the metal. If you source pure copper wire, you could make your own ear wires, but you would have to find a way to make them strong enough to hold the shape over time.
Nickel-content is not the only issue to be aware of when making copper jewelry.
When copper is exposed to moisture it reacts with the oxygen in the air and turns green on the surface. This green hue can then stain your skin. All it takes is a little perspiration or perhaps some moisturizing cream to provide the moisture that will start the chemical reaction. It’s important to note here, that this green hue is not necessarily harmful to you, but it’s often associated with “cheap” or fake jewelry.
Typically, when you make copper jewelry, you’ll want to seal it to prevent the chemical reaction with your skin and also to protect the finish you created from continuing to change.
So… What can you do to make your copper earrings safe to wear?
Luckily there’s a company called Tierracast who manufactures niobium ear wires in both copper colors as well as dark hues. Niobium is not just hypoallergenic, but it’s also quite strong. So, these ear hooks are what I suggest you use to complement your copper earrings. Plus, they’re formed with a good shape, so they drape well from your ears. I will delve into the mechanics of what makes an ear wire hang properly in another post. For now, all you need to know is that the niobium ear wires made by Tierracast are a great choice for finishing your handmade copper earrings.
Where can you buy niobium ear wires?
Tierracast only sells wholesale to bead shops and jewelry supply stores. While many of these locations may carry some of their products, most do not stock these particular earring findings. My recommendation is Lima Bead. They’re an online supplier with a fast turn-around and good pricing. You can find links to the specific Tierracast niobium ear wire listings I recommend on my list of suppliers.
Copper earrings are a hot style trend these days…
Along with other vintage styles re-appearing from the 80’s, large funky earrings are “in”.
It’s a perfect time to learn how to make your own.
I have an amazing free mini-course which shows all about how to achieve fabulous colors on copper using liver of sulfur patina. This course is a perfect way to get started making jewelry at home because it doesn’t require a lot of tools. Just a short list of supplies that are commonly used for making jewelry.
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There are many other ways to make stylish copper earrings. You can look forward to learning how to make hammered copper earrings and copper wire earrings.
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