Thursday, December 3, 2009

Start to Finish: Pentaloops earrings

If I haven't been posting much it's because I've been busy -- some of it the not so great busy but a large portion has been working on orders including one for a Greek Orthodox church in Wisconsin who wanted a plethora of Pentaloop earrings for upcoming festivals.


The Pentaloop earrings use beads made from Mykonos Greek clay made by Linden Avenue Designs. I first found MaryAnn's fantastic beads when she posted some of her listings on Twitter. Her prices are great and she has wonderful customer service. She also likes to feature how her creations get used on her blog so please do check out her beads!

The coiled earwires used in these earrings are handmade. Surprised? I was too at how great they turned out. Please visit for the fantastic free tutorial by Abby Hook on how to make them. You'll need to register but its worth it and they also have other tutorials worth checking out.


For these earrings, while you can substitute beads and metals as desired, you'll want to be sure the beads have quite a large hole, almost a donut, otherwise your jump rings will fight for space and you won't get the dangly motion that is so attractive with these earrings.

I used 19 gauge pure copper wire for the jump rings. I hand wound the wire on a 9mm knitting needle and then cut the rings with a jeweler's saw. You can use a flush cutter -- I just had a lot of jump rings to make and the saw goes more quickly.


I have found that when cutting jump rings with a jeweler's saw if you use short coils, less than an inch in length and wrap them in masking tape you'll get a cleaner cut and the tape keeps most of the metal bits from scattering about.


Especially because the jump rings are on the big side, I recommend conditioning them by opening and closing them flush, and smacking them a few times with a rubber or nylon mallet. Although most books will tell you not to tumble your jump rings with your shot or tumbling media because you'll be picking out jump rings forever, I had so many jump rings I decided to go ahead. I wasn't picking them out for too long...


Because the finished earrings have a clay bead component I didn't want to chance tumbling them at the end. Tumbling did a nice job of getting most of the errant burrs out of the jump rings but I still kept a small file handy for ones I found while I was putting the chains together.

Once you have at least 10 jump rings you can start to make the chains for your earrings. Open one jump ring and add two of your beads -- close the jump ring. Open another jump ring and pass it through the second bead you added to the first ring and then add another bead. Repeat until you have used 5 beads and 5 jump rings. Set this chain aside and make another with your remaining 5 beads and jump rings. You should have two lengths of bead/jump ring chain when complete.


I made coiled earwires using the method described in the tutorial from mentioned at the beginning. To complete the earrings I opened the last jump ring from my bead/jump ring chains and added the earwire.

During this process I made twelve pairs of Pentaloops!


Mykonos Greek Ceramic Beads by Linden Avenue Designs

Coiled Earwires Tutorial by Abby Hook on (free with registration)

Pentaloops Earrings at Seedlings: Jewelry Because on

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