Crystal beads impart an enchanting sparkle to jewelry and make otherwise simple earring designs come brilliantly alive. The magic of crystal beads lies in its facets, the multiple, intricate, light-reflecting cuts that define the surface of the glass. Because earrings are in constant motion as they dangle and dance alongside your face, they are the perfect showcase for crystals. From the basic stick-style or pendant earring to the elaborate chainmaille chandelier, all earring designs are enhanced by the addition of crystal beads.
Crystal Pendant Earrings
For a popular everyday, every occasion earring design, hang a side-drilled 15mm flat briolette crystal pendant bead from an ear wire using a pendulum constructed with 18-gauge wire. Place a 1-inch piece of wire through each briolette and curl the ends into a loop with round-nose pliers. For each earring use two, 1 1/2-inch pieces of wire and curl both ends of each into loops. Gently open the loops on these connectors to fit into the two loops on each of the briolettes and close like jump rings. Finish by placing the top loops into the ear wire and closing the loops.
Head Pin Crystal Earrings
Stack crystal beads onto 2-inch head pins and attach ear wires for a pair of instant showstopper earrings. Modify the head pin design by adding silver beads between the crystals or using different color combinations. You may also vary the size by using different lengths of head pins. Make your own head pins with 18-gauge wire by making a tiny loop on the end of the wire with round-nose pliers, then curling the loop into the wire with flat-nose pliers to create a spiral. Add the crystals, close with a loop and attach to the ear wire.
Multiple Head Pin Crystal Earrings
Create stunning crystal earrings in minutes with round-nose pliers, six 2-inch headpins, two large jump rings, enough Swarovski crystals to fill the head pins and ear wires. Stack the crystals onto all the head pins and make a closed loop on the top of each with round-nose pliers. Assemble the two ear wires by threading the large jump rings through the ear wire loops. Slide three crystal-filled headpins onto each jump ring/ear wire assembly and close the two large jump rings.
Chainmaille and Crystal Earrings
Chain mail, or chainmaille, weaves lend themselves beautifully to earring designs with crystal beads. With only a handful of jump rings and two pair of pliers, an infinite number of designs can be created. Crystal beads may be attached to the bottom ring in a dangle or drop effect or incorporated throughout the design for maximum dazzle. Byzantine, Full Persian, Inca Puno or Box Chain are all weaves that work well for this design idea. For beginners, the two-into-two weave is a wonderful introduction to the age-old and timeless technique of chainmaille and requires only that you add and close two jump rings into two others until you reach the desired length. Dangle crystal bead drops from the last two jump rings.
Washers and Crystal Bead Drop Earrings
Industrial chic jewelry design is one of the most popular trends today. Imagine washers, those round pieces of metal with a large hole in the center — hardware store staples — morphing into glamorous earrings. Earrings are the perfect showcase for richly textured washers embellished with crystal bead drops. To execute this design you will need two each of large, medium and small sterling silver or copper and crystal beads of your choice prepared as drops with a loop at the top — 12, 16-gauge jump rings — a hole punch or drill, two ear wires, a ball peen hammer or texturing hammer and flat-nose pliers for closing the jump rings.
Assembling the Washers and Crystal Bead Drop Earrings
Punch or drill two, side-by-side holes in the top and bottom of the small and medium washers and two, side-by-side holes in the top of the large washers; each large enough to accommodate one 16-gauge jump ring. Punch or drill a hole directly above the center of the opening of each washer and directly centered between the two holes punched in the top. Hammer the washers to achieve a pleasing texture. Assemble the earrings by hanging one crystal drop from a jump ring placed in the hole above the open center on each washer. Attach the washers together with the remaining jump rings, graduating from small washer at the top to large washer on the bottom. Add the ear wire to finish.