Pin this on Pinterest

Pearl earrings with wire-wrapped prongs

Edgy earrings hang from handmade hoop-posts.

Pearls don’t have to be demure. Why not spotlight these lustrous beauties with edgy, gothic-inspired wire wrapping? I’ll let you in on a secret: The tapered clawlike prongs only appear to be clutching the pearls. Cleverly concealed head pins are actually doing the heavy lifting. To finish off the pieces, you can fabricate your own hoop-post findings using basic torch skills. Or, forgo the torch, and forge simple ear-wire hooks instead.


  • Sterling silver wire:
    • 18-gauge (1.0 mm), square, half-hard, 24–32 in. (61.0–81.3 cm)
    • 14-gauge (1.6 mm), round, half-hard, 5 in. (12.7 cm)
    • 20-gauge (0.8 mm), round, half-hard, 3 in. (76 mm)
  • Fine-silver wire: 24-gauge (0.5 mm), round, 36 in. (91.4 cm)
  • 2 pearls: 10 x 12 mm
  • 4 sterling silver head pins: 3 in. (76 mm)
  • 2 earring-back findings
Photo 1
Photo 2

Part 1: Earring component

Cut square wire. Use flush cutters to cut four 3½-in. (89 mm) pieces of 18-gauge (1.0 mm) square wire. Use a fine-tip marker to mark the midpoint of each wire. You’ll use one pair of wires to make each earring. 


NOTE: Determine the length of the square wires based on the size of your pearls. I used 10 x 12 mm pearls. To accommodate larger pearls, cut four pieces of square wire that are 4 in. (10.2 cm) or longer.


Make a U-bend. Using large round-nose pliers, grasp one pair of wires at their midpoint marks. Pull the ends of the wires down to make a U-bend. 

Keeping one jaw of the pliers in the U-bend, pull one side of the U up against the second jaw of the pliers to bend that wire tail outward (PHOTO 1). Repeat with the other side of the U (PHOTO 2).

Photo 3
Photo 4

Wrap the U. Cut an 18-in. (45.7 cm) piece of 24-gauge (0.5 mm) fine-silver wire to use as wrapping wire. Starting on one side of the U-bend and leaving a 2-in. (51 mm) tail, use the wrapping wire to make tight wraps around the pair of wires (PHOTO 3) until you’ve wrapped the entire U-bend. 


Close the U. Use chainnose pliers to squeeze the U closed to form a loop and a neck below the loop (PHOTO 4).

Photo 5
Photo 6

Wrap the neck. Grasp the loop with small roundnose pliers, and make a few wraps around all four wires at the neck (PHOTO 5). The square wires extending below the neck will be the prongs.

Position the prong wires. Using chainnose pliers, position the prong wires at 12-, 3-, 6-, and 9-o’clock (PHOTO 6).

Photo 7
Photo 8

Begin weaving to make the cage. Using the working end of the wrapping wire, make one underhand wrap around a prong. Keeping tension on the wrapping wire, make a single underhand wrap around the next prong. Continue until you’ve made four rounds of wraps (PHOTO 7).


Position the pearl. Thread a pearl on a 3-in. (76 mm) head pin. Thread the head pin through the woven prongs next to the neck (PHOTO 8). Pull the head pin to snug the pearl within the center of the woven prongs, and wrap the head pin around the neck a couple of times to secure the pearl.

Photo 9
Photo 10

Bend the prongs. With the pearl facing up, use chainnose pliers to grasp one prong above its last wrap. Carefully bend the prong toward the pearl until the prong is nearly parallel with the pearl. Repeat to bend the other prongs (PHOTO 9). 


Finish the cage. Using the wrapping wire, wrap the prongs as before, being careful not to scratch the pearl. Make four or five rounds, leaving two-thirds of the pearl uncovered. Do not cut the wrapping wire.


Cut the prongs. Use chainnose pliers to align the prongs evenly around the pearl. Measure 532 in. (4 mm) below the last wrap of one prong, and mark this point with a marker. Repeat to mark the other prongs. Use flush cutters to cut each mark at a 45° angle (PHOTO 10).


NOTE: To add a patina to the wire, see “Patinate the Wire Capture” before you proceed.

Photo 11
Photo 12

File the prongs. Use a flat needle file to carefully smooth the cut prong ends (PHOTO 11). 

NOTE: Because the prong ends are angled, you should be able to position the file to avoid scratching the pearl. To be extra careful, use a safety-back needle file.

Bend the prongs. Use chainnose pliers to bend the prongs toward the pearl (PHOTO 12). The prongs should be close to, but not touching, the pearl.

Photo 13
Trim the wrapping wire. Using chain-nose pliers, grasp the prong that has the working end of the wrapping wire. Make two wraps around that prong (PHOTO 13), then trim the excess wrapping wire. Tuck the tail behind the prong.
Photo 14
Photo 15

Wrap and tuck the remaining tails. Using the original wrapping-wire tail, make vertical wraps around the neck (PHOTO 14). Tuck the tail inside the neck.

Using the head pin tail, make horizontal wraps around the neck, covering the wrapping-wire-tail wraps (PHOTO 15). Tuck the tail within the wraps.

Make the second wire-wrapped pearl capture. Using the remaining square wires, repeat the previous steps to make a second earring component.

For complete project instructions, click here to download and print this PDF.

FIND MORE: earrings , pearl , wire

Want to leave a comment?

Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
Get awesome news, tips, & free stuff!