I love cheap earrings but they irritate my ears. Replacing earring hooks with sterling silver, gold or surgical steel hooks is super easy. If your choice of earrings has been limited because of metal allergies this technique really opens up the possibilities. Its not only dead simple but super cheap too.
You will need : cheap, irritating earrings, quality earring hooks, jewellery pliers, less than a minute.
Click image to enlarge
1. Open loop. Grab end of hook with pliers.
2. Pull outwards (I've seen people also bend it sideways)
3. Separate pieces. Discard horrible earring hook.
4. Get silver hook and open like previous hook.
5. Join pieces.
6. Gently close the loop. Make sure it closes completely so earring doesn't fall off.
7. Love them.
If you want to see this technique being done there are some videos on Youtube too.
You could use strong tweezers, even fingernails (don’t). Jewellery pliers cost about $10 from a craft store. I like using a 4-in-1 set of pliers as I find it gives me more control, but round-nose, chain nose, and flat nose pliers would all be fine.
Buying hooks is easy. You can usually get them in bulk. Online jewellery stores are a great place to get them. There are some links for jewellery finding suppliers in my links tab. Ebay can be good too. I would be careful buying them from China – the prices are amazing but you may not necessarily be buying the real thing. There are warnings on ebay about this.
I’m in Australia and I buy them from the Beading Store on ebay (http://stores.ebay.com.au/BeadingStore). I’ve had great experience from them. Also polyermerclay.com.au is a really great store too. Sterling silver hooks usually work out to be about $2 a pair. Gold filled or gold plated sterling silver are about $3 a pair. Surgical steel is about 30cents a pair. There is also niobium which is another completely hypoallergenic metal for about $1.50 a pair. Niobium comes in lots of fun colours. Basic earring hooks stated as silver or gold plated with no further information are not the real thing and will be irritating to a lot of people. I like to buy in bulk – a pair for each of my earrings. It is so easy and quick to change hooks though that you really don’t need that many. Buying kidney hooks, which slide off can make it even faster to change.
These sites also sell clip on earring findings which you can attach using the same technique. I’ve bought good quality sterling silver clip-ons to use for my heavier earrings and they’ve been great.
Another way of dealing with earring sensitivity is to use a hypoallergenic metal coating. It will look like a clear nail polish and is painted onto an irritating metal to form a barrier to your skin. I have never seen these in shops but you can get them online. Try the Earring Doctor. Apparently clear nail polish can work fairly well too.
If anyone has any thoughts or experience with this would be great to hear from you.