I began with square wire, 16 gauge, to make the frames, formed and soldered together with regular silver solder. Until the class with Gia, I had not realized the utmost importance of getting these curves correctly done. They have to be perfect. No dents, no sign of having been misshapen and reshaped...just smooth and curvy.
Some teachers think it's best to form lots and lots of little ornaments before placing, and others think it's best to make one at a time. Each one has to fit correctly in the space it is going to be placed, so even if you make them ahead of time, you will often have to clip a little off the end to make it fit correctly. So it's up to you how you want to do this.
I considered putting a gemstone in the middle of the earring, which would have been lovely, but because I used such heavy square wire for the frame, the earrings were leaning towards being on the heavy side, so left them out. I do like the look of a solid, heavy frame, though. In this next pair, I used a smaller gauge wire for the outside and inside frames.
Perhaps a filigree ring will be next on my project list...