I thought about this for awhile - and decided that:
a) earrings fall into two categories - the little coloured accents made out of leftovers from a necklace or bracelet OR
earrings made for their own sake,
b) I pretty much suck at them too.
Further thought brought me to the conclusion that point a is probably over-simplifying - but I think you get the idea - or will by the time you get to the end of this post.
So - I decided to have a look at what I've made for earrings - and it's a pretty pitiful collection. These dragon earrings are my faves - and I wear them a LOT. Even though they violate what I think of as being essential to earrings - they are different, but the same. I think earrings that have a distinct pattern should be mirror images. (Earrings should be the same, mirror images, or completely different, IMHO) And, they have no pattern on the back - and given that earrings twist and flop about - I think that earrings should be interesting (at least) or the same on the back.
The reality is - these are just two dragon pendants (small) that I stuck on ear wires. I really like them, for themselves - cuz I have a thing for dragons, in case you hadn't been paying attention. ;-) Our charms section has lots of stuff that works as earrings - buy two - add earwires - bingo!
But I also make lampwork beads, and keep trying to incorporate them into earrings - which is a challenge - as I make huge beads. One of the major constraints with making earrings is making them light enough to wear - a big problem for me, as my designs are large and over the top. Five pound earrings just aren't going to cut it unless you are into pain and self-mutilation. Admittedly - that is a potential target audience, but still ... . ;-)
This particular combo of decorative headpin and bead cap works particularly well for lampwork spacers, and I use it a lot.
That would be these and these,
- Sterling Findings - Headpins - 2.75 inch Headpins - Large Victorian Fan - Sterling (1)
- Sterling Bead Cap - 12 mm Bar Star - Sterling (1)
There are lots of other bead cap and decorative headpin combo's that work too, so if it's lampwork spacers you are making into earrings - that's pretty easy. These beads are pretty plain, but there are certainly lampwork-bead-making artists out there making wonderful intricate and SMALL beads that would make great earrings. (I'm just not one of them!)
So - then I thought I would fire up the wayback machine - so to speak - and go have dig through my not inconsiderable jewelry collection - and see what was in there for old favorites. None of these are made by me.
I used to wear these a lot - these are carved wood (I think!) Moths - made by LizzyBugs. These are lightweight and surprisingly flattering. Hmm - there's another consideration for earrings. They are next to your face - so whether they are flattering is probably a bigger consideration than for, say, bracelets.
I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I loved these and wore them a lot. See the close ups of the back and beads if you are curious as to the actual construction. Seedbeads and glue and a peacock feather. They've held up surprisingly well over the years.
Then I found these - hoo boy! Aren't they fabulous!?!!! Can you wear them for more than an hour? Nooo! (They are clip-ons - and have tiny little labels on the back: "left" and "right." How cute is that? They are exceedingly heavy and uncomfortable. There was a time when I suffered exquisitely painful earrings - but those days are gone!
Which brought me to these fabulous babies - lizards that appear to be gnawing on your earlobes! These are LAR - Lunch at the Ritz - and I have adored their jewelry for years. These are actually surprisingly wearable - being very lightweight. I had forgotten about these - maybe I should take them out for a spin again!
And these final pair of hammered silver. These are unremarkable by themselves - but I used to load on all my silver jewelery - and these would be the earrings that went with all that "stuff."
So here are some thoughts on earring designs.
If they are statements unto themselves - go crazy - but remember - they have to be really fabulous in order for someone to put up with being in pain to wear them - so think lightweight. Polymer clay, wood, ivory substitute, bone, resin instead of glass, stone, for instance. Hollow designs. Lightweight wires (earrings don't need a lot of strength.)
If they are accents - and maybe earrings are more often used as accents to coordinate with an outfit, match the colour of your eyes or draw attention to a long, slender neck, etc. - then they can be fairly plain and still be effective. Maybe the oval bead on a head pin is not really so bad?
I'm sure lots of you think I have missed the point entirely - so fire away with your comments. ;-)