Add Some Zing to Your Earring Designs: Make Asymmetrical Complementary Earrings

Here's a favorite post from Jewelry Making Daily archives a couple of years ago. Enjoy!

JMD member freshbakeddesigns shared these mismatched earrings in our member gallery. Love the copper heat patina!

Several years ago at the AGTA gem show in Tucson, I was shadowing a gem buyer, my friend and mentor, while he was buying high-end gemstones. After he purchased several coordinating but not matched pairs, he said that designers who create mismatched earrings would really enjoy them. I remember looking at him like I kind of thought he was crazy, never having heard of his world-gone-awry idea of mismatched earrings. I mean, if earrings aren't supposed to match, what is the world coming to?

Little did I know! Ever since then, I've noticed many mismatched earrings . . . I've even started making them myself. Naturally I still love my very-well-matched pearl studs, but there's just something so fun and playful about mismatched (or "asymmetrical") earrings, even if they're in a serious design. They're just more interesting to my eye now, too, kind of like a lived-in home or a not-perfectly-matching outfit.

Susan Dyer Jewelry's black and white polymer clay and silver bezel earrings are a perfect example of the striking earrings you can create simply by flipping your color scheme.

There are hundreds of mismatched and asymmetrical earrings on Etsy (over 1,400 when I searched), and sometimes I spot a pair from higher-end designers in fashion magazines. And no wonder–it's so fun and easy to do! (In fact, sometimes it's easier to make mismatched earrings than matching ones.)

You can easily modify the color(s), metal(s), shape(s), or even the number of elements in one earring design to create a unique option for the second earring. After you've set your mind to thinking in coordinating pairs rather than identical pairs, you'll have all kinds of fun ideas for mismatched earrings.

My bird and nest mismatched earrings feature sky-blue pieces of ancient Roman glass and bronze charms from Green Girl Studios.

Read on for more ways to create asymmetrical earrings and design ideas for making them.

Since I first began making mismatched earrings, I've started trying to spot two earring designs in a jewelry design book or magazine that coordinate enough to be made into a pair of mismatched earrings. It's like a large-scale version of a child's matching card game! For dozens of earring and other designs to play with and a nearly endless amount of wire jewelry inspiration, get an entire year's worth of Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry magazine on a collection CD or as an instant download. The five-minute jewelry designs at the back of each issue are perfect for modifying into mismatched earrings!

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