Jewelry Findings – An Overview
This month we are taking a look at the many different types of findings, or parts you need in order to add a clasp to a bracelet or necklace, add your earring beads to an earring, or finish your jewelry design with the appropriate hook, clasp, or “thingamajig”.
What’s a finding? It’s a metal, plastic, wooden, or gemstone part that fits to and holds or attaches a gemstone, bead, or another finding. Depending on the design, a finding is usually incorporated at the end of the crafting process, but not always. Some findings can be made part of the design, mixed in with beads, used to hold stones and so on.
Many jewelry designers prefer to design and manufacture their own findings because there is nothing available that will work with their design, and also gives their jewelry a unique signature look. Others prefer to use what is available on the market. There are tens of thousands of different types of findings in existence. Occasionally, antique or vintage findings become available and are much valued to give a design that “period” look. Currently you can get most types of simple findings in various metals such as sterling silver, karat gold, base metal with plating in silver or gold, vermeil (sterling plated with karat gold), or pewter. There are some finding styles available in copper.
Take a look in your jewelry box to see if you can identify some of the findings used in your necklaces, bracelets, earrings. Here’s a brief review of some of the names of findings.
For example, a clutch is the little gizmo you slide onto the back of the earring post to keep it from falling out of your ear. Sometimes referred to as a butterfly clutch or a comfort clutch.
A post is the thin stiff wire soldered to the back of an earring so you can push it through a piercing.
An eyeglass leash holder is a wire or rubber figure-8 finding that holds the side piece of a pair of glasses and attaches to a strand of beads for a decorative way to wear your glasses when they are not on your nose.
A badge clip is the metal piece that holds your ID badge, and to which a decorative strand of beads etc. can be attached.
Beading hoops are circles of thin wire onto which you put beads, then you can bend one end up & it fits into a loop or hole.
A jump ring is a wire circle that you can open so you can attach the ring to a loop or another ring. You can’t do without them, they are ubiquitous. You attach charms to a chain with a jump ring. You can also get soldered jump rings that don’t open. Jewelers occasionally make chain with jump rings, or manufacture their own jump rings by winding wire around a mandrel or form.
A split ring is like tiny key chain rings. They are wound around several times so they are very stable, unlike jump rings which can spread and fall.
Wire is one of the least expensive jewelry components. It comes in sterling, gold, copper, or plated. Clever designers can create unusual designs and findings with wire.
Memory wire is a strong but brittle wire that keeps the shape it was rolled into. It’s easy to make beaded designs with memory wire. It comes in ring, bracelet, and choker sizes. An ounce of memory wire in bracelet size reminds me of the slinky toys that we used to watch go down the stairs.
Bead cones are cone-shaped metal (or other material) pieces to use on the ends of necklaces or bracelets, especially good with multi stranded designs.
Bead caps are decorative cup-shaped metal pieces with a hole in the center that fit over a bead. Very decorative to add to any design.
A bail is a shaped attachment for a pendant so you can hang it from a chain. Bails come in many different designs, sizes and shapes.
A chain is also very useful in designing jewelry. Each pattern of links has a different name, such as box, cable, long & short, rolo, curb, figaro, anchor, rope, herringbone, foxtail, Byzantine, omega, snake. A current trend is chain with larger, hammered, twisted, or otherwise finished chain, and it can be expensive.
Jane Shafrin is the founder of Beads by Mail, a Web company specializing in unique, high quality beads, pendants, and findings for jewelry designers and crafters as well as jewelry hobbyists. At Beads by Mail http://beadsbymail.com you can find all types of unique beads (glass, gemstone, Swarovski, sterling, vintage) and pendants; free jewelry-making patterns; and bead jewelry kits. Every bead order includes a gift of free beads and jewelry. You can see various findings on Beads by Mail at http://beadsbymail.com/toolbox.htm Call Jane at 800-572-7920 for more information about jewelry design.
Wheres a good website to buy semi-precious beads?
I’m looking for higher end semi-precious- precious gemstone beads at good prices… Examples are, prehnite, topazes, lemon quartz, sleeping beauty turquoise.. Preferable shapes like briolettes and faceted teardrops.. I’ve tried firemountain gems already their selection isn’t big for these and I’m not sure if they offer good prices for them…
Technibond Faceted Gemstone Bead 18 Necklace
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