The Beginners Guide to Jewellery Findings…
Before the Basics…
‘Jewellery findings’ are the bare bones of any piece of jewellery. The term ‘findings’ is a collective way to describe any individual component that falls under this category.
Jewellery findings are used to link, hold, or secure jewellery items together to create a complete piece of jewellery.
Choosing which beads you like is often the easy part. Selecting the right findings, however, can be a difficult task for any beginner.
So, here is a full guide to all your jewellery findings and what they can be used for to get you started.
These handy little soft metal balls (or tubes) are designed to be squashed or (crimped) to secure end fastenings to nylon coated wire (also known as tiger tail) and other stringing materials unable to be knotted. The easiest way to use a crimp, is to thread your nylon coated wire or stringing material through the crimp bead & a jewellery clasp. Then pass the wire back down through the crimp to create a loop. Squash (crimp) your crimp to secure the wire.
Useful tools – Crimping Pliers or Flat Nose Pliers.
Also known as clamshells due to their shell-like shape and the way cleverly encase your crimp like a tiny pearl. Calottes are a great alternative way to finish off your nylon coated wire creation and to enable you to add a clasp with ease due to their added loops.
Simply, thread the calotte over your wire before attaching your crimp to the wire and then you will be able to fold the calotte around your crimp to create an end fastening in which you can attach your clasp.
Basically, does what it says on the tin. These little crescent moon (or Pac-man) shaped findings are designed to be slotted and closed over your crimp to disguise the bare bones of your creation – especially great if you are planning on selling your jewellery or giving it as a handmade gift.
They can also be used to hide knots on elasticated bracelets.
Useful tools – Flat Nose Pliers
As you may have already guessed from their name, wire guardians are essentially little horseshoe shaped protectors for your nylon coated wire, they guard it from wear and tear overtime and are an excellent way to make your jewellery look polished and professional.
Using them is simple – all you need to do is thread your wire up through one side and back down through the other, this creates your protective outer layer and will keep your jewellery looking its best for a lot longer.
Have you ever had a piece of jewellery you feel is just a tad too snug? Well, extension chains are the ideal way to resolve this problem. They can easily be attached with a jump ring and add an extra 1.5- 2 inches onto your necklace, bracelet, or anklet.
Are soft wire pins with a flat disc, or sometimes a ball on one end. Headpins are used for projects you might want to dangle beads from, it might help to picture a dangly beaded earring.
Useful tools- Round Nose Pliers and Flush Wire Cutters.
Soft wire pins, just like headpins, but instead of a flat disc on one end this has been replaced by a ready-made loop allowing you to create a link to attach multiple hanging components together.
Thread your bead(s) on to the pin leaving enough space (1.5cm should be enough) to make a loop at the other end using your round nose pliers and trim off any excess.
Useful tools- Round Nose Pliers and Flush Wire Cutters.
Are one of the handiest and widely used of all the jewellery findings. These small metal rings can be found in a huge range of colours, sizes and thicknesses and are used as the link to attach other findings together. Jump rings have a small gap which can easily be twisted open and closed.
Top Tip – To avoid misshapen jump rings. Never pull your jump ring open from side to side, always twist open and closed.
The same as keyrings in appearance these are fantastic alternative to jump rings if you want to add a fun twist to your jewellery by adding an interchangeable option.
Use through pierced ears. These are ideal for anybody who loves a dangly earring. Fishhooks have a loop at the bottom you can attach beads, charms, tassels, or anything else you feel demonstrates your personality.
Useful Tools: Flat Nose or Chain Nose Pliers
Used through pierced ears. These have a flat head for gluing your designs. A great alternative if dangly earrings are not your thing.
Jewellery End Fasteners
Are the bridge (with help from the jump ring) between your cord and your jewellery clasp, this is the piece you fold around or glue to your stringing material, depending on which cord is best for your project.
Made from metal and usually rectangular in shape with two fold-able wings, these are best used with round cord or thinner flat cord.
Simply place your chosen stringing material in the centre and fold your wings over the cord.
Useful Tools: Flat Nose pliers
Flat and wide in appearance with little teeth for grip on the front edge. ribbon clamp findings are ideal for use with ribbon as the title would suggest and perfect for creating chokers. Personally, would usually fold the end of the ribbon over at least once before closing to make sure that the tiny teeth grasp onto the material
Useful Tools- Flat Nose pliers
Top Tip – you can always add a dab of glue to add extra security.
Shaped like a hollow bell with a loop on top, these cord ends are a great for gluing chunkier or multiple strands of cord/leather into and for all kinds of projects, especially Kumihimo braiding.
If you decide that you want to fasten your necklace, bracelet, or any other type of jewellery without just simply tying a knot, then ‘jewellery clasps’ are your next stop. The style and size are completely personal preference depending whether you want to be understated and minimal or bold and eye catching.
Lobster/ Trigger Clasps
Probably the most popular type of clasp. You will see these on most pieces of jewellery in shops, aptly named due to its shape – the clasp resembles a lobster’s claw.
Come in 2 parts usually a variation on a ring and bar combination, however there are many elaborate designs if you are looking to make a statement.
Come in lots of shapes and a wide range of sizes, these are perfect for anybody who struggles with fiddly little clasps. Magnetic clasps allow you to take jewellery on and off with minimal effort.
Top Tip – make sure the magnetic you choose is strong enough to hold the beads of your jewellery. Heavy beads will require a strong magnetic grip.
After The Basics…
Hopefully, with this information under your jewellery tool belt you will now feel confident to select findings that are relevant to the projects you want to tackle. You should now have the confidence to create beautiful jewellery for yourself, create a gift to loved ones or even sell to customers.
And to test yourself on the information you’ve just read…