The hardware used to construct jewelry is commonly referred to as “findings”. I find a wide selection of items at Michaels Craft Store: http://www.michaels.com/Findings/products-beads-findings,default,sc.html, but there are lots of other places with more selection. In fact, if you’d like to check out some great places to buy findings, just click on the pictures to be taken to some great sites! Here’s the breakdown of the different pieces I use to build an earring:
1. Hooks: I only use hypoallergenic hooks because I’m allergic to so many things! It’s easier and more enjoyable for me to create these pieces when I don’t have to worry about what they will do to my hands.
2. Jump Rings: These are the various size rings that attach the other hardware to connect the entire earring. These jump rings usually match the hooks and other findings for a cohesive look. They can be quite fancy, but I prefer to show off the feathers, so I use really small ones.
3. Crimps–I get a lot of my crimps from abeadstore.com because they have a variety of colors and sizes. I have hypoallergenic “silver” colored crimps and am searching for more crimps in different colors and metals.
4. Chains–I’ve found my chains at local craft stores and, in some cases, taken broken necklace chains that hold sentimental value and incorporated them into earrings. I try to use the lightest weight chains possible to prevent earlobe damage or headaches.
5. Feathers–the feathers that I use are from various birds, like turkey, duck, goose, emu, etc. They are all sterlized and steamed, some include dyes, so I always advise checking for a feather allergy before gifting earrings.