Musical Pairs Metal Clay Earrings by Arlene Mornick

Create treble and bass clef earrings with metal clay, beads, and pearls

By Arlene Mornick

Pearls and beads present two challenges for the metal clay jewelry maker. First, these items cannot be set in metal clay prior to firing, as the intense heat would disintegrate or deform them. Second, they are usually displayed and supported with wire that is 20 gauge or thinner, and that does have to be set prior to firing. As you make these musical motif earrings, you’ll learn how to do both: securely set thin wire in metal clay before firing, and add pearls or beads afterward.

For my design, I wanted to make earrings that relate in design but don’t match. I chose a treble and bass clef: each indicates a different way of reading the notes on sheet music. Both symbols have perfect areas for pearls or beads.


Metal clay, wirework


metal clay, 5 grams

clay paste

clay syringe

2″ fine silver 20-gauge wire cut in the following lengths: 1 pieces 1 inch, 2 pieces 1/2 inch

2 pearls (4mm diameter)

4 beads (4mm diameter)


ear wires



Acrylic work surface, non-stick work surface, snake roller, roller to flatten clay, playing cards or other thickness guides, brush, metal spoon tool or hard rubber tip tool, sanding sponge, round file, tweezers, ruler, flat nose pliers, narrow flat nose pliers, round nose pliers, wire cutters

Arlene Mornick is a Master Instructor for Art Clay World and teaches in the San Francisco Bay area. She wants to open new doors and paths of expression for others. Her work can be viewed at, and she can be reached at

See this project and more in the July/August issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist!