Which Jewelry Findings Are Essential for Learning How to Bead?

Jun 13, 2012

An important part of learning how to bead is learning which jewelry making findings will be most useful to you when it comes to making beaded jewelry that will last. I am always amazed at how the selection of jewelry findings at my local craft store has grown exponentially over the years, and I'm sure it can be confusing for someone who might be learning how to bead.

Using tube crimps will make your beaded jewelry more secure!
Using the right jewelry finding for your beading projects when you're learning how to bead is important for two reasons. First, using the right jewelry finding like a clasp, crimp bead, or jump ring can mean the difference between a piece of beaded jewelry that falls apart the second time you wear it and a piece of beaded jewelry that becomes a family heirloom. Second, you can improve your overall design by choosing the right jewelry findings to match your beads and jewelry making components.

So if you or someone you know is just getting started learning how to bead, here are my top picks for five jewelry findings that you should add to your stash for beautiful bead stringing projects:

1. Crimp beads. There are so many different kinds of crimp beads out there, but for my money, the cylinder-shaped crimp beads are by far the superior way to fasten your beaded necklaces and bracelets on beading wire.

2. Toggle clasps. It took me a while to warm up to the idea of using toggle clasps, but in the last few years, these jewelry findings have been transformed from simple bar-and-ring jewelry making components to becoming works of art that you won't want to hide around the back of your neck!


These toggle clasps from Green Girl Studios are so lovely, you won't want to hide them in your beaded jewelry designs!
3. Head pins. If I want an eye pin (a piece of wire with a loop at one end), I usually make it myself out of a piece of wire. But since I don't have a microtorch (yet) for making head pins, I usually keep a nice variety of these jewelry findings in my stash. Like toggle clasps, head pins have come a long way from when I first started learning how to bead, and you can find lots of different decorative styles of head pins in your local bead shop or craft shop.

4. Cones. Whether I use them to finish off a length of Viking knit or to provide a professional finish for several strands of seed beads, cones are a worthwhile addition to your stash of jewelry findings. You can also use them as bead caps or spacer beads when creating beaded jewelry designs with silk, leather, and cotton waxed cord.

Cones for jewelry making can also be used as bead caps.

5. French bullion. Also known as french wire, this tightly coiled metal wire slips over your beading wire for a professional-looking finish on all of your beaded necklaces and bracelets. In addition to using it for beaded jewelry designs made with beading wire, I also use it for finishing a strand of knotted pearls. The french bullion slips over the silk used for knotting pearls to protect it from rubbing against a metal clasp.

Even if you're already an experienced beader, there are always new jewelry making findings to discover from your local bead shop or your favorite online beading supply company! Stay up to date with the latest and greatest findings for jewelry making when you subscribe to Jewelry Stringing magazine. The editors of Jewelry Stringing magazine are always on the lookout for beautiful and useful new jewelry making findings. And then they get to work using them in innovative and creative jewelry making projects!

Subscribe to Jewelry Stringing magazine today and learn all you need to know about jewelry findings and how to turn them into fantastic beaded jewelry!

Do you have a favorite jewelry finding for your beaded jewelry projects? Or, if you're learning how to bead, which jewelry finding has been most helpful for you? Leave a comment on the blog and share your thoughts and suggestions with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

on Jun 13, 2012 3:53 PM

I am in total agreement on using quality findings, they reallly make the piece looked polished. One  of the newer findings I really love are the wire guardians. I especially like them for bracelets, since they really protect the wire from wear and tear. I have lost several bracelets because the wire broke from consant rubbing where it is atached to the clasp. And......if you have a really spectacular clasp, make sure it is featured in your design. Some of my fav. bracelets (can you tell I like bracelets) are designed arround a fabulous clasp. I am looking for a shibiuchi clasp to build a bracelt arround, and can't wait to make it, when I find it.

on Jun 14, 2012 9:36 AM

I also agree that the highest quality findings should be used when making jewelry, however I have stopped using sterling crimps except when I plan to leave the crimps exposed. For me the process of design seems to requires revisions, so I found I was taking apart crimped portions of my designs and I couldn't salvage the bits of sterling to recycle. That was wasting precious metal and adding to the cost of my projects. So now I use plated or high quality base metal crimps and sterling crimp covers. Every little bit saved can go toward other design components.