Jewelry Findings: Choosing Head Pins Eye Pins

by lakeerieartists

The most common use for head pins is making earrings, but head pins can be used for other jewelry design elements as well.

One of the most basic building blocks for jewelry is the head pin. Head pins are cut wire in lengths of between 1 to 4 inches with one finished end. The most common use for head pins is making earrings, but head pins can be used for other jewelry design elements as well.

Head pins are available in just about every type of metal, but the most common metals used in handmade designer jewelry are silver, gold, gold filled, and silver plate.

Choosing the Right Head Pin for Your Jewelry Design

Fancy sterling silver head pinsWith earrings, most artists are especially careful of metals used because so many people are allergic to nickel and other base metals.  For some reason, allergies are more common around the face and ear area, possibly because the skin is more sensitive there or more exposed to the elements.

Whatever the reason, it is important to keep metal allergies in mind when you are buying head pins for your jewelry designs.

Eye pins are head pins with a loop end instead of a finished end.  Both head pins and eye pins come in simple and ornate versions, but most artists use the simpler versions to keep the expense down, and to let their own designs stand out.

Bali Topped Head Pins

If you are willing to pay a bit more money for head pins, you can get a fancier, more ornate version like the Bali topped head pins pictured here.  Fancy head pins are more commonly available in the 2 inch head pins because 2 inch head pins are the most popular.

I like to use 3 inch head pins to give me more room to make mistakes and be flexible.  I can also do a bit of wire wrapping with a 3 inch head pin.

Choosing Head Pins for Your Designs

When choosing a head pin, you have several decisions to make:

What metal head pin do you want to use? Your decision for this will be based on cost, and design issues.

What length do you want? This is a personal preference and cost issue.

What gauge wire do you want to have on your head pin? A thicker gauge is more expensive, and less flexible, but more sturdy.

What type of finished end do you want, plain or fancy?

Each decision affects your jewelry design and the cost of making your jewelry item.

Eye Pins Can Save You Time

Using eye pins that already have the loops attached to the end of the head pin or wire can save you a lot of time when making earrings, however, you will lose a bit of the handmade look, and originality of the piece. Eye pins are a good choice for lower cost earrings, or less evident connections on a bigger piece.

However, if you are going to make earrings professionally, then I recommend using head pins, and making the loops yourself for your earrings. It really only takes a little bit more time, and they look better, and less commercially made.

Eye pins do have their uses, and are a good choice for beginners, or hobbyists.  Another good use for eye pins is when you are teaching a class and need to make up kits for a range of student talents and skill levels.

Whether you are a jewelry designer, or just a person looking for the right chain to hang a favored pendant, choosing the right chain can make your necklace stunning, or just so-so.
As a jewelry artist, I can tell you that having the right pliers when designing and creating jewelry is crucial.
Pearls have a timeless, classic quality, and beauty that cannot be matched by any other jewelry component, stone, glass, or metal.
Updated: 10/07/2014, lakeerieartists
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