Pros: Good for those with metal sensitivities, uniform and well made
Cons: More expensive than gold or silver plated ear wires
When I first started making earrings to sell, I used gold plated and silver plated earring wires and headpins, as well as all of the other findings that go along with the making of earrings. It was easy to find gold and silver almost anywhere.
Then I learned that some of my customers were sensitive to metals, and I started to make some earrings using surgical steel wires, which is hypoallergenic.
A few years ago I added copper and brass to my collection, using mainly products sold by Vintaj and Trinity. These are really nice, but the problem with using brass or copper earring wires is that you also have to buy headpins, eyepins, crimp beads, spacers, and all of the other findings that will match them. Luckily, a local gal sells Vintaj out of her home and she lets me buy in any quantity I want. These French ear wires sell for 80 cents each.
Vintaj Natural Brass Company is a US company, and they make a fine collection of jewelry making supplies. These wires are sized 20mm by 10mm and are made of 20 gauge natural brass. Since there is no nickel in the metal they are also a good choice for those who have sensitive skin, or sensitivity to metal. Many people who have metal sensitivities are actually allergic to nickel. (Nickel is often used in white gold to make it harder, and my daughter can't even wear white gold).
Because these are fairly plain, with no decorative ball that rests just above the loop, I like to use these with my longer dangly earring designs. When I hang shorter designs off of them they just don't look right to me.
The shape is uniform and the loop is easy to open to add my designs to, and then it can be closed completely with a jewelry pliers so that the designs won't come off.
There is a slight angle at the tip of the wire, and I have had one customer tell me these were hard to get into her ears. I offered to replace them for her, but she said once she got used to them they were okay. I don't have any problem sliding them through the holes in my ears.
I still have some of these ear wires in my bead cases, and they still look good a year later. No discoloration at all. If you don't like having to polish your jewelry all the time, the Vintaj Brass French Ear Wires are a smart choice.