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Garnet Bead Hoop Earrings
These wire hoops turn the bead dazzling hoops design upside down - literally! They use the same technique to make a hoop frame, but instead of adding the beads to the hoop, this design connects the hoop at the bottom with a wire wrapped chain of garnet beads. What is most surprising is that the weight of the beads is enough to keep the hoop balanced on the earwires and they hang evenly without ever sliding to one side.
They are also extremely easy to make and only require beginner level wire... working skills.
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How to Make Wire Hoops
Wire hoops are very easy to make. For this earring design, I make the hoops about 1 inch in diameter using a plastic step mandrel from BeadSmith and 20g brass wire. To make the hoops, wrap the wire around a mandrel that is slightly smaller than you want the finished wire hoop to be. The wire will spring out a little when you remove it from the mandrel.
I wrap the wire around step 3 on the mandrel and then re-shape them on step 2. I wrap a small coil to make several hoops at once, but if you... only want to make 1 pair of earrings, you can wrap the wire around 3 times. The extra helps make sure all the wire is rounded and gives you a little extra to trim off.
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Cut the Wire Hoops Apart
Remove the coil from the mandrel. Cut the wire hoops apart using flush wire cutters. There is a picture of how to cut them at the link. The only difference is that for this project, you want each hoop to be a full circle, not a little larger.
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Add a Loop on the Ends of the Wire Hoops
Using round nose pliers, add a small wire loop on each cut edge of the wire hoop. You want to make the loop so it stays aligned with the hoop like you see in the picture, not turning out or in. You can make small adjustments to the loop using chain nose pliers to twist it into place.
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Join the Garnet Beads with Wire Wrapped Loops
Make a wire wrapped bead chain at least 3 beads long using a thinner guage wire. I am using 26g gold filled wire and garnet heishi beads. To make the wire wrapped bead chain, make a wire wrapped loop on one end of the wire, add a bead and make a second wire wrapped loop.
The picture shows each of the links ready to be joined into a chain. One link has both loops wire wrapped and the other two have one side with the wire not wrapped so it can be joined with the other links and then wrapped... closed.
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Join the Garnet Wrapped Loop Chain
Slide the open wire loop into the closed loop and wrap it to close. Continue on the other side. Your chain can be longer than three links, but it probably cannot be shorter or it will not fill the gap in the hoop.
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Completed Garnet Bead Chain
This bead chain is ready to be joined to the loops on the wire hoop.
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Twist Open the Loop and Slide on the Chain
Using your chain nose pliers, twist open the loop on the wire hoop enough to slide in the loop on the garnet bead chain. Twist the loop closed to keep it in place.
The tricky part is adding the second side of the chain. Because the chain needs to twist slightly when you slide it around the loop, you will need to twist the chain 1/2 twist before putting it on the other side of the hoop.
Dangle the chain so it hangs freely. Pick it up and figure out which way the chain will twist when you slide it... on the open loop. Twist the chain the opposite direction, so it is slightly twisted, but it will untwist when you put it on the loop.
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Completed Hoop with Chain
The hoop will be joined by the gemstone chain that you made. Repeat these steps to make the other earring hoop.
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Add the Earwire
Add an earwire to the hoop by opening the loop using your chain nose pliers. Slide the hoop in place and twist the loop closed again.
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Hoop Earrings with Bead Chain
The completed earrings are lightweight and balance on the earwire with the chain dangling at the bottom. I was surprised that the hoops never twist so the chain is not centered at the bottom, but I have worn them multiple times and they seem to stay balanced with the beads at the bottom.
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Gemstone Hoop Earrings
These earrings are a similar style to the garnet gemstone hoops that I made with the extra wire hoops. The open loops are turned outward instead of behind the wire hoop, and the gems are put on a single piece of wire instead of making a short piece of chain.
This was actually trickier than it looks. It was difficult to get the wire with the gemstones on the loops since they have to twist around the curve. I had to put one side on and leave the other side straight until after I put the loop... from the gemstones on - and then make the open loop that holds them in place.