I stopped at Homeowner's Hell the other day for a propane tank. I started browsing around in the hardware and came home with some fun earring components. Three of these are made with steel retaining rings. They looked a little grungy at first but a trip through the tumbler cleaned them up, and I think they look kinda cool embellished with sterling silver chain and gemstones. The round brass thingies are compression sleeves. I drilled holes in them, then added pyrite to the large ones and Swarovski pearls inside the smaller ones, connecting them to the ear wires with sterling silver chain. The pyrite ones make a fun tinkling sound when they move.
I started my jewelry making journey in 2006 and it quickly took over my spare room and spread out into the living room. I was able to retire from my civil service job in August 2008 and I'm now able to focus on it full time.