by Rena Klingenberg.
This Victorian chain earring project is a versatile design.
You may want to use longer chains, or more chains, or a variety of chains, or some other creative idea. 🙂
You also may want to add beads, wire-wrapped briolettes, or charms as dangles on the chains.
Have fun creating your custom jewelry from this basic earring pattern!
- 18 gauge soft round wire – 2 pieces, each 76mm (3″) long.
I used Artistic Wire in antiqued brass color.
- 6 pieces of chain – 2 short, 2 medium, and 2 long. You may want your chain lengths to be longer than mine.
My shortest chains’ length was 35mm (1.38″) long.
My medium chains’ length was 3 chain links longer than my short chains.
My long chains’ length was 6 chain links longer than my medium chains.
- 8 small jump rings.
I used 5mm size.
- A pair of earwires.
- Sharpie pen for marking your wire.
- Wire cutter – for cutting your wire lengths, and for cutting your chain lengths (if your chain has soldered links).
- Wire rounder or cup bur – to smooth and round the ends of your wires.
- Round nose pliers.
- Flat nose pliers.
- Chain nose pliers.
- Mandrel that’s about 45mm (1.77″) in diameter (I used a spice container).
- Optional: Jeweler’s steel block, and a plastic, nylon, or rubber hammer – for flattening your wire.
How to Make Victorian Chain Earrings
Cut your 2 pieces of wire, each 76mm (3″) long.
Use a Sharpie marker to mark the centerpoint of each piece of wire:
Use a cup bur / wire rounder to smooth and round the ends of your wires:
Now use your Sharpie to make a mark on one jaw of your round nose pliers (you can easily remove the mark later, using rubbing alcohol):
We want to shape our wires into half-circles.
Shape each wire around your 45mm-diameter mandrel (in my case, a spice container):
Let’s start by making the wire hanger part of the earring.
Pick up one of your half-circle wires.
Use your round nose pliers to grasp the wire.
The Sharpie mark on the center of your wire should be touching the Sharpie mark on your plier, with the wire ends pointing downward:
With the wire still grasped in your pliers, use the fingers of your other hand to press the wire ends downward:
. . . and keep pressing the wire ends until they cross each other:
Your wire should look like this:
Use your round nose pliers to grasp the tip of one end of your wire.
Your wire tip should be on the Sharpie mark on your pliers:
Roll the wire end around one jaw of the pliers, forming a loop in the end of the wire:
So that your wire now looks like this:
Make an identical loop in the other end of your wire.
Now your wire should look like this – the wire hanger that will hold your chains:
Now we’ll use the jeweler’s steel block and rubber, nylon, or plastic hammer to flatten the wire.
We mainly want to make sure the wire hanger isn’t warped.
Hammer each side of the wire hanger – EXCEPT for the place where the wires cross, which can break if hammered.
Hammer the rest of the hanger just enough to make sure the hanger lies flat:
Make your second wire hanger the same way, so that you have a nicely matched pair:
Now it’s time to add the chains to your earrings.
I used 3 fairly short chains.
Cut your chains to your desired lengths.
My shortest chain is 35mm (1.38″) long:
Now we’ll use jump rings to attach the chains to the wire hangers.
If you’re new to using jump rings, see my quick tip, How to Open and Close a Jump Ring.
Use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist open one of your jump rings.
Move to the right-hand end of your chains.
String the right-hand end of each chain onto your jump ring, in order from longest chain to shortest.
Use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist the jump ring shut again:
Use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist open another jump ring.
Move to the left-hand ends of your chains.
Make sure the chains all lie flat, not twisted or tangled.
String the left-hand chain ends onto the jump ring, in order from longest chain to shortest.
Use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist the jump ring shut again.
Now your chains should look like this:
Now use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist open 2 more jump rings.
These jump rings will attach the chains to the wire hanger:
Use the open jump ring to attach the right-hand chains’ jump ring to the wire hanger’s right-hand loop.
Then twist the jump ring shut:
Move to the left-hand end of your chains.
Use the open jump ring to attach the left-hand chains’ jump ring to the wire hanger’s left-hand loop.
Then twist the jump ring shut.
Now your earring should look like this:
To finish off the earrings, we’ll add earwires.
Use your flat nose and chain nose pliers to twist open the loops on your earwires:
On each earring, thread the opened earwire loop through the top loop of the earring.
Then twist each earwire loop shut again:
Your finished Victorian Chain Earrings may look something like this: