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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Different Types of Stringing Material

By Gary A Capps 

There are various kinds of material needed in making jewelry, and choosing the right kind for you is very important. One of the most important materials is the string, whether it is for a necklace, bracelet, or anklet you want to make. Selecting the right stringing materials is a must. When choosing the right string for your jewelry, you have to consider the type of jewelry you want to create, the style and design you want to achieve, and the type and size of the beads you will use.

Some of the most common stringing materials for you to choose from are: 

  • Bead Stringing Wire 
  • Illusion Cord/Monofilament 

  • Elastic Cord
  • Nylon Thread 
  • Silk Thread 
  • Leather Cord 
  • Memory Wire

Bead stringing wire, is one of the most popular stringing material in jewelry making. This wire is composed of stainless steel cables inside a nylon coating to prevent tarnishing. Soft Flex®, Accu-Flex®, and Beadalon® are the main brands of bead stringing wire. Before using wire you will need to learn how to crimp and other techniques as well as jewelry making tools and their proper usage and maintenance.

Before buying wire, you must consider the flexibility you will need for your design. The higher the number of strands, the more flexible the wire would be. For example, a 7 strand wire has some flexibility, a 19 strand wire is more flexible, and a 49 strand is the most flexible. If you're looking for very stiff wire, choose Tiger Tail wire. This kind of wire is not as flexible as other beading wire. Beading wire also varies in diameter. Wires having a diameter of 0.13 or 0.14 are for lightweight beads like seed beads and small pearls, while wires with a diameter of 0.16 or 0.18 are for bigger beads.

Elastic cord, a flexible, stretchable cord commonly use in making informal type of jewelry. In using an elastic cord, you don't have to worry about needing any findings to finish off a jewelry piece. The end of this cord can be knotted or fused together. One of the common brands of elastic cords available in the market is Stretch Magic™.

Nylon thread is the modern alternative to silk. Unlike silk, nylon doesn't fray nor stretch as much as natural silk. And nylon is more popular today compared to silk. Main brands of nylon treads are Griffin® and C-lon®. These brands are available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and spool lengths.

Silk, this is commonly use in traditional way of stringing beads. This type of string is perfect when stringing valuable pearls where you have to do knot in
between the pearls. Silk is easier to knot than any other thread because it is soft. However, silk frays and stretched when used over 3-5 years. The main brands of silk are Gudebrod® and Griffin®. If you want to string pearls sizes of string like Griffin® size 5 or 6, and Gudebrod® size E are highly recommended. Silk is no good for heavy beads.

Leather cords, this kind of cord along with simulated suede are very popular when creating a rustic look and this cord is commonly use to string heavier pendants because it has more strength and high durability. Suede could be tied in knot and worn with a pendant. In suede necklace, you can use coil or leather crimps in finishing off. Simulated suede is more popular compared to leather cord because it is softer and it's compatible to more consistent dye colors.

Memory wire, this is a coil that has very strong tempered stainless steel wire. If you want to make quick and easy necklaces and bracelets, this is definitely what you
will be using. This can stay on your neck or wrist without a clasp. In finishing off a memory wire, just make a loop at the end of the wire or you can glue a capping bead at the end of the wire. Don't use side cutters in cutting memory wire; just use hardware store wire cutters. Just remember to protect your eyes when cutting this wire.

Now, if you are still looking for other alternative stringing materials you can use in your jewelry making, here are some other stringing materials: satin cord, hemp thread, ribbon, black rubber cord, waxed linen, and rattail. As with most things, all your supplies can be found online at various online stores. One of the most popular is eBay where you can find all you stringing materials, clasps as well as anything else you need. Most jewelry uses some sort of beads so use eBay to find cheap beads.

Being organized is important to the success of your business and if you are looking for help getting more organized then our beaded []jewelry software is guaranteed to help. We have a []free jewelry pricing calculator and a free jewelry book that will help you improve your jewelry business.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Using Swarovski Crystal Beads For Making Beaded Jewelery

Swarovski crystal beads add a new dimension of sparkle to any jewelery making project. Fun, simple to use and producing spectacular results for very little cost, these delicate glass crystals are specifically designed to shimmer and catch the light, transforming a simple design into something that dazzles with chic elegance. A simple multi-stranded necklace can be one of the easiest ways to transform an ordinary outfit into something spectacular, and you don't need any specialist equipment to do it - just a few, simple basic tools.

Swarovski crystal beads have been a staple in jewelery making for over 100 years and are still as popular today as they were in Edwardian times. They're ideal for brightening up a tired piece of jewelery by simply restringing an existing necklace and interspersing Swarovski crystals throughout the pattern. All you will need to do
this is your original necklace, a new length of beading thread, a beading needle, a sharp pair of scissors and a new clasp and jump rings to complete the project. You will also need a pair of flat nosed jeweler's pliers to put the clasp and links onto the ends of the necklace and of course, a selection of Swarovski crystals. Using a little care (and a tray to catch any beads that fall from the original necklace, otherwise you could spend an inordinate amount of time on your hands and knees looking for that lost bead!), un-string the original piece with care. Decide how you want to re-create the necklace, incorporating the Swarovski crystals into the design and choosing crystals that correspond in color with your original beads. Swarovski crystal beads come in a rainbow of different colors, so there should be a colour to match any necklace.

Thread your beading needle with the new beading thread and tie a knot about four to six inches in and place an 'anchor bead' at the end of the new thread. This will prevent your beads slipping off the end as you place thread them onto the new necklace. At this point you can let your imagination take over. How you restring the necklace is entirely up to you, depending on the effect you wish to create. If you want to create a shorter, multi-stranded necklace out of a single strand of beads, remember to divide up your beads evenly before beginning. If you're not sure, try
laying the design out first on a flat surface before committing the beads to your new thread. Once you have completed your first strand, remembering to intersperse your Swarovski crystals where appropriate, finish with a second anchor bead and tie off the thread.

Depending on how many beads you have available and what kind of effect you wish to create, repeat the process. Try making each strand a slightly different length from the first for a layered look to really capture the beauty of each individual bead.
Once you have your re-threaded strands of beads, draw the ends of the thread through a crimp bead and make a multi-stranded loop, drawing the tail ends back through the crimp bead. Close the crimp bead to form a sealed end and trim any loose threads off with the scissors. Repeat the process with the other ends. This will give you a single, multi-stranded necklace. Attach your jump ring to one loop and the corresponding catch to the other and instantly you have a beautiful necklace recycled from an old piece of jewelery and transformed by the simple inclusion of sparkling, iridescent Swarovski crystals.

Adam Hunter - E-commerce Marketing Manager of Cookson Precious Metals offer a choice of jewellery making supplies from over 10,000 products including all types of []Swarovski crystal beads. Other items include - jewellery tools, precious metal clay, gemstones and gold and silver sheet - gold, platinum and palladium plus technical information for jewellers, jobbers, designer, craftsmen, artisans and students.
For interviews, quotes, images or comments contact:
Adam Hunter
E-commerce Marketing Manager
Tel(DDI): +44 (0) 121 212 6491
E-mail: []
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Friday, October 2, 2009

Sterling Silver Jewelry Findings Made Simple

Sterling Silver Jewelry Findings give you options in your jewelry making. You know by making or buying your own jewelry findings that you're not going to see your necklace on every other person you meet. It will be your own unique design and creation.

The Chain Nose pliers will help you get into tight spots and help close and open rings. The Round Nose pliers are for making loops. You will also want a good pair of Flush Cutters this tool will help you make clean cuts for your jewelry.


You will want a good pair of pliers. Pliers for jewelry findings come in many different styles. The style you use will depend on what you need.

The Chain Nose pliers will be the most used pliers in your tools for jewelry making. It tapers to a fine point, great at getting into tight spots and opening and closing jump rings. Round Nose pliers are great for making loops in the wire. Nylon Jaw pliers allow you to straighten your wirer. Flush Cutters will keep your wire cuts where you want it. Make sure you get a good quality pair of each to meet all of your wire needs.

Stringing Wire

This is more of your choose. There are plenty of wire types you can use to make your jewelry. It will depend on what you want, more than anything else. You will need to make sure the wire is small/big enough for the pieces you choose to make. You will also want to consider the different wire strengths for your jewelry. If you are going to use heavier pieces, you will want to consider using a strong wire to string your beads. However, there is a cheaper way to go, fishing line. Fishing line is a high strength sting for making jewelry. There is a downfall to using fishing line. Over time, it will stretch out of shape.


Here you will have plenty of choices. The clasp is what connects your jewelry together. You will want to make sure your clasp is of good quality. Nothing could be worse than finishing your jewelry and watching it fall apart the first time you wear it.

Ear Wires and Post

If you want to make your own earrings, this is an important and necessary material. The Ear Wire is the base of the Ear Ring. It goes through the piercings in your ear. There is a loop at the bottom to put your jewelry findings on. For beginners, you can buy pre-made Ear Wires. There are plenty of styles to choose from. The post is what will keep your Ear Ring safe and secure.

Head Pins

Come in many lengthens and thicknesses. These are mainly used for ear rings and pendants. You can add your beads and things to your head pin. Then make a loop at the top and attach it to your ear wire. Now you have a custom made earring!

Finding the right beads and materials is pretty simple to do! Understanding the difference between the metals and other materials used to make Jewelry Findings is more challenging.

Over time, you may find that your materials don't last as long as you expected. They might be easy to break. It can be an expensive and time consuming task to keep remaking and fixing your jewelry. Sterling Silver Jewelry Findings are much more cost effective in the end because of their increased durability. It also has a better look and feel.

Whether you already know the joy of []creating magnificent jewelry, or are new to the craft, you will find every thing you can put to use by clicking here: []Sterling Silver Jewelry Findings

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Stringing Seed Beads - Tips on Sizes, Needles and Bead Spinners

Since they are tiny, stringing seed beads often seems to be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Here's some basic seed bead stringing info to get you started:

1. Bead Sizes:
Seed beads come in sizes ranging from 5/0 to 28/0. The smaller the number, the larger the bead. 28/0 beads are really tiny and very hard to bead with! 11/0 is the most commonly used size. In an 11/0 size, you need to string about 16 or 17 beads to make an inch. Seed beads in the 6/0 size (about 4mm wide) are also called "E beads" and are often used in knit and crochet projects.

2. Beading Needles:
Beads and beading needles use a similar gauge (the smaller the number, the larger the bead or needle). A good rule of thumb to follow in selecting a needle is to buy at least one size smaller than the seed bead size. For example, if you're working with beads with holes that are equivalent to 11/0 seed beads, then use a #12 needle.

3. Options for stringing materials:

  • Nymo, the most popular thread for stringing seed beads, is a colored thread that looks like dental floss.

  • Another popular thread is Silamid. It comes prewaxed (for easy threading) and is stronger and less stiff than Nymo.

  • You can also buy elastic nylon thread for creating quick and easy projects.

  • Flexible beading wire, also called beading cable, consists of several strands of fine steel wire coated with nylon. These wires come in a variety of gauges (widths).

4. Stringing pre-strung beads:
To string the beads quickly, buy them already temporarily strung. Keep them on the string but feed your own wire/threaded needle through the holes transferring them onto your string while removing the temporary string. This way you can pick up lots of beads at one time.

5. Stringing loose beads:
To string loose seed beads, take a small, shallow bowl (sushi sauce bowls work nicely) and pour your loose beads into it. Run your threaded needle or wire repeatedly through the seed beads, and they will be picked up on your needle or wire.

6. Using a bead spinner:
To use a bead spinner (a stringing tool that consists of a spinning bowl on a spindle), place the seed beads into the bowl, insert your wire or threaded needle into bowl, and spin. The beads hop right on.

Don't let those little beads intimidate you! Stringing these tiny beads just takes a little bit of patience, and the next thing you know, you'll be achieving delightful results.

Do you want to learn more about bead spinners? Get more information here: Bead Spinner

You can also find everything you need for beading projects. Click here: Beading Supplies
Merrilee Gasaway writes full time in the crafting industry.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bead Stringing Techniques - Beyond the Basics

Basic bead stringing isn't hard. Just pick your stringing material, beading method, a needle if needed, and a surface to work on. But first you have to get yourself some great beads.

For more efficient and professional results, incorporate these 10 bead stringing techniques into your beading regime:

1)Use the largest size stringing material that fits inside the hole of the smallest bead in your project. The added strength will help retard wear and fraying.

2)Leave a little space between the beads in your design for less wear on your stringing material.

3)Give the beads you're working with a critical once over before you begin stringing to check for rough edges that might cause your stringing material to wear or fray.

4)Try leaving the string attached to the spool when stringing your beads for a quick bracelet (or when you're working on a design while riding in the car). You won't have to worry about your beads falling off the unsecured end.

5)For a simple bead stopper to put on the end of your string while you slide on the beads, just wrap the end with tape or tape that end to your work surface.

6)Having a little trouble getting the string through a bead? Try a bead reamer to enlarge, straighten, or complete the hole in the bead.

7)Nobody likes it when the string breaks and beads go rolling in every direction. Use the best stringing material you can for your project. Never use fishing line, dental floss, or plain sewing thread if you want to create a professional looking design that wears well.

8)Needle threading woes? Color the tip of your thread with a permanent marker. Let it dry and thread your needle. The ink stiffens your thread and helps it slide through the eye of the needle.

9)When cutting your stringing wire, observe the proper safety measures. Point your pliers away and down from you. For extra security, wear safety glasses. It is important to protect yourself from bits of wire that might be flying around.

10)Need some bead stringing inspiration to get you started? Make yourself some "bead soup." That's just a collection of leftover beads from previous projects all mixed together. Take out a handful, team the beads up with your favorite stringing material, and challenge yourself to create something wonderful.

Hope these bead stringing techniques help you achieve the beaded designs you're dreaming of!

Do you want to learn more about how I do it? Get more information here: []How To String Beads
You can also find everything you need for beading projects. Click here: []Bead Supplies
Merrilee Gasaway writes full time in the crafting industry.
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Monday, June 29, 2009

Tips About the Best Lampwork Beads

You're looking for the perfect bead for your necklace - well a lampwork bead is a great option. These jewelry accents help to create just the perfect look. Here are some helpful hints if you are thinking about purchasing a lampwork bead for your favorite chain or necklace.

Bear in mind that good quality beads can be either new or old. You may believe that the quality of older beads is much greater than more recently-made ones. Nevertheless, things do not work like this all the time. So long as they are completely dedicated to the trade of crafting these glass beads, new and veteran artists both produce quality work. The physical characteristics of the bead itself are of far greater concern than the bead's age.

Choose expert artisans. It's important that you search out the best crafters when buying these beads. Follow the same procedures or produce the same quality of material. Although there are lampwork bead designers who will tell you that you do not need a kiln to make them, kilns do affect the durability of the bead. Designers who are not competent with kilns may still not produce the durability one would want. The artist should have previous work available, so ask to see some at close quarters if you can. Then you will know what to expect in terms of quality with your own lampwork bead.

You should go in for lampwork beads that are annealed. The bead needs to be properly annealed, which just means heated or cured. This is done so it stays strong and of good quality. You may have a discussion with the merchant as to how the bead has been anealed. Avoid any beads that have been heated using vermiculite, a heated blanket, a crock pot or an open flame instead of a true kiln. The bead will suffer greatly in quality if it has gone through any of these processes. A kiln can still produce improperly done beads, but is nevertheless recommended over other forms of heating.

Watch for a strong body. There should be no sharp edges on a good lampwork bead. On the flip side, all the beads curves and sides must be spherical or puckered. The bead should have no cracks or folds in it. You may concentrate on small corners and at the joints of lampwork beads checking it out for soft spots of crevices. And the stringing point should be solid and without weak points.

The beads you're considering buying must be properly made. If there are pupils, dots or lines attached to the main form of a bead, ensure that these are fused to the piece.

If there is any flexibility at all with any part of your lampwork bead, it wasn't heated appropriately and you shouldn't buy it. You shouldn't notice any powdery bead release coming from your lampwork bead when you tap it. The bead obviously has a design flaw or perhaps it's just a sign of poor craftsmanship. Take some time to see if the bead hangs well when it hangs from your chain. When you shop for lampwork beads, these are all of the things you need to consider.

Tiffany Provost writes about []lampwork beads and other []fashion and personal care tips for
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jewelry Making: How to Use an Extender Chain

Often times making jewelery for others is a game of guesswork: no one person's neck, ankle, belly or wrist is the same as another's, and here is where the extender chain comes into play. Or, perhaps you have outgrown a favorite article of your own, or miscalculated a new accessory's length. Here again, is the extender chain's chance to shine.

To begin with, choose a chain that is similar in size to the rest of your piece, and also matching your clasp.

When using chain, it is necessary to use a lobster claw or spring-ring clasp. Two inches is a common length for an extender, but again, this depends on the size of the jewelry, as well as where it is intended to be worn on the body. Three inches may be needed for a necklace, whereas only one for a bracelet, depending.

There are several ways to attach chain to jewelery, even without taking anything apart. The easiest is to use a jump ring, a tempered metal ring that can open or close. Again, chose a ring that is like-sized to the rest of your piece, and chain. Open the ring using flat-nosed pliers by moving the ends side to side (resist the urge to pull apart! Not only will it make closing the jump more difficult, but it creates a weak point in the metal). Another option is the split ring, a connector that looks like a miniature key ring. These can be trying to use, but do offer security as a split ring is unlikely to come apart.

If your piece is wire-wrapped, simply wire-wrap the chain to the end. Chain makes an excellent finish to such jewelry, as it continues the metal motif.

Feeling spunky? Add a bead to the end of your chain! This can be done by any of the above methods, and is a classy way to complete a unique piece of jewelry. Also, the extra weight of such a dangle can help keep the chain and clasp where they belong-whether behind the neck, or on the underside of the wrist.

Extender chains add versatility and style to almost any piece. Try it and see.

Learn more about this author, Cassandra Koslen.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to Use a Bead Board for Beaded Jewelry

Bead boards provide a simple way for beaded jewelry makers to organize their beading projects. These beading accessories are usually plastic trays covered with a fuzzy coating, or flocking. This surface helps prevent beads from rolling around on the bead board. These bead boards can be found in many sizes and types. They all have various wells and channels in them, usually with measuring marks.

These spaces are used to arrange the beads for necklaces, bracelets, and other jewelry projects.

Choosing the Right Bead Board for a Jewelry Project

If you make many types of beaded jewelry, a large bead board with various types and sizes of spaces is your best bet. An all encompassing bead board would have multiple long, curved channels, several smaller spaces to hold beads, and even a section where you can pin beaded earrings. If you specialize in bracelets or necklaces, you will need a flocked bead board that includes long, measured channels for designing and stringing beads.

Use a Bead Board to Make a Necklace

Designing a beaded jewelry necklace on a bead board is very easy. Place your bead board in front of you on a flat surface and get out your beads. It is a good idea to start your necklace beaded jewelry project with the center bead. This holds true whether you intend to have an accent bead there or not.

Place the center bead at the lowest point of the curved slot in your bead board. This should be indicated by a mark on the measuring line. Then, simply lay out the beads on either side of the center bead at the same time. This ensures that your beaded necklace will be symmetrical.

After the bead layout is complete, it is time to thread your needle and string the beads together. Making a bracelet beaded jewelry project with a bead board is done in the same way.

The sections on the bead board that are simply open spaces or wells are useful for holding the beads needed for an exact beaded jewelry project. These bead board spaces can also hold thread, beaded jewelry findings, and needles.

Using a bead board for beaded jewelry making makes designing and completing the projects easier. Since many beads are round, they ten to roll off tables or trays. Bead boards prevent this, therefore reducing loss of expensive or favorite beads. Their varied channels and spaced make laying out and completing necklaces, bracelets, and earrings simple.

Learn more about this author, Melanie Marten.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Standard beaded Jewelry Lengths and Beads Per Inch

Beaded jewelry designers, especially those who wish to sell their jewelry in a story or online, must make the jewelry to length standards. These jewelry lengths are similar to those found in professionally designed costume and fine jewelry.

Standard beaded jewelry lengths include the clasp. Of course, they can vary depending on the size of the person you are designing for, the particular style of jewelry, and your preferences.

Necklaces, for example, can be made in any length to suit the wearer or designer. For marketing and description purposes, however, the correct length standard titles should be used.

Standard length of a beaded jewelry bracelet is seven inches. Anklets are usually ten inches long. Choker style necklaces are designed to lay just above the collar bone and should be fourteen to sixteen inches long, depending on the wearer. Since neck sizes are so variable, designing beaded jewelry chokers to be adjustable is a great idea. There are also dog collar style choker, which should ring the neck snugly at the narrowest spot. Making this style of choker adjustable or elastic is practically necessary.

Beaded jewelry necklaces come in various lengths. Of course, you can design your jewelry in any length. However, standards give particular names to lengths of necklaces. Princess necklaces are eighteen inches. Matinee style are twenty to twenty-four inches. Opera lengths go up to thirty-two inches. Anything longer than that and still closed in a loop are considered rope length necklaces. Lariat necklaces should be forty-eight inches or longer and the ends are left open. They are designed to be worn looped around the neck with the tassel ends hanging down.

Besides knowing what length to make your beaded jewelry project, it can be helpful to know how many beads you will need to complete it. Seed beads come in various sizes. Size sixteen seed beads are tiny; twenty-eight can fit in one inch of beaded jewelry. Size five seed beads can only fit seven to eight per inch.

Other beads, both round and faceted, are measured in millimeters. It takes thirteen 2mm beads to fill an inch. Two 12mm beads fill an inch. You can easily figure out how many round beads are required for a particular beaded jewelry project.

Knowing how many beads you need to complete a project is just as important as knowing how long your jewelry project should be to meet standards.

Learn more about this author, Melanie Marten.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How to Make a Wire Spiral

Wire can make for a wonderful jewelry making supply. There are countless number of things that you can do with wire for interesting designs that can be added to your earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and more. The spiral is just one such element and in its own right has a lot to offer.

The word spiral can be used for a number of different types of projects. Because of that, I have included instructions for making a few different types of shapes and designs with your wire.

We will start with a basic spiral and work our way through spiraled coils, coils, and even two two sided coils.

Basic Spiral.

A basic spiral can best be achieved with a bit of patience, a pair of round nose pliers, flat nosed pliers, or combination pliers, a pair of wire cutters, and the wire of your choices. It is also a good idea if you dip your pliers in Tool Magic which will coat them in rubber. It doesn't change how they work, but it does protect your wire from nicks from your tool. This is especially useful if using a copper wire that has been coated a with a color of your choice.

Cut your wire. A good size for most spirals will be about 2", but longer wire will make larger spirals. Carefully wrap the first end of the wire around the round nose pliers (or the round nosed section of the combination pliers). This will form a small circle and the start for your spiral. Next carefully turn the circle on its side so that you can grip it with the flat nosed pliers (or the flat portion of the combination pliers). Carefully wrap the wire around the circle moving your griping pliers as needed. Continue around in a circle to form a spiral. You as the designer can decide how big and how tight you want this spiral to be. At the end of it you can bend a portion of the wire at a 90 degree angle. Use this section to form a loop or a wrapped wire loop with for attaching to your jewelry pieces.


Coils are usually not classified as spirals, but some do call them that. They are easy to make and can be used for a wide variety of things, including making jump rings. To make a coil find an object that is completely round and smooth. It should be narrow in diameter. This can be the smooth handle of a jewelry file or even a pen for a couple of ideas in different sizes. Cut a length of your coil. Slowly wrap the wire around the object. Press each coil close to the one before it. Make several coils and then slide them off the object. Carefully cut the end for a smooth service. You can now cut each coil into a jump ring or use the whole coil as a bead or focal point.

Spiral Coils.

Simple spirals can also be turned into spiral coils that can be used long wise. To do this you will want a basic spiral. Carefully pull the center of the spiral down so that the spiral works toward a coil. You can then hang the spiral so that it goes from the large portion downward or the opposite direction.

Spirals are great wire decorations that can be used for all sorts of decorations. You can also get creative and add beads to your spirals. Have fun with it and try new things for pieces that are unique and great eye catchers!

Author: Danelle Karth.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Colorful World of Murano Glass Jewelry

As you may already know, Murano is a small island just north of Venice and it has been the undisputable capital of Venetian glass for ages. Glass production in Murano started in 1291 when the Venetian Republic forced all of the glassmakers to move their entire workshops and factories out of the city to this now-famous Island. Murano jewelry and glasswork has been renowned around the world for centuries for the styles, quality of work and of course all the gorgeous colors.

When Murano jewelry is created, it all starts with the manufacture of the colored glass canes. This is probably one of the hardest parts in making the jewelry because the chemical compounds involved in making the glass colored are extremely sensitive. One of the biggest challenges that glassmakers have when they are attempting to achieve a certain color is adding in the chemical compounds not only because they are so sensitive but also because they must be mixed with complete accuracy to achieve a certain shade.

For Murano jewelry to come out beautiful, it takes a master craftsman in order to get the colors correct. For example, in order to create the amazing color of aquamarine, you need to add in a fusion of cobalt and copper. This takes someone who knows exactly how to mix the chemicals for them to retain their properties in the heat of the glass-making process, and how much of each chemical to add into the glass. Once these colorful glass canes are created, they may be used for all sorts of Murano jewelry, lamps and even beadwork.

Glass beadwork is something that is very fashionable right now. Not only is Murano jewelry some of the best-looking and unique beaded jewelry in the world, but it is also of the highest quality. In the world of glass collectors, designers, and admirers, Murano Island is a special and symbolic place. Glassmakers are still working there and some of the greatest glass beads, jewelry, artwork, and chandeliers are produced on this amazing island. While the island of Murano is not so easy to get to, the World Wide Web has made Murano jewelry more accessible.

Searching the Internet is a fantastic option for those who want to find these amazing glasswork pieces, as there are websites offering various pieces of Murano jewelry for sale. However, one needs to be careful when buying Murano glass jewelry, because in recent years there have been many fake pieces and counterfeits from China and other countries offered for sale as “Murano Glass”. Every Murano glass buyer needs to know that Murano glass can only be produced on Murano Island within Venice, Italy. All other places of origin produce counterfeits.

When you purchase authentic Murano jewelry, you know that you are not only getting a piece of jewelry, you are actually getting a piece of history and art. This amazing art of glassmaking has been around for centuries and still today, Murano glassmakers are among the city’s most prominent citizens. Back in the olden days, many of the glassmakers that migrated to Murano Island held a lot of commercial and economical power simply because of all of the knowledge that they held in those days. Today, these incredible glassmakers are held in high respect for their work.

Murano jewelry is world-famous and has been exported all over the world for years. Whether you are looking for an unusual pendant, a pair of beautiful earrings, or any other stylish piece of jewelry, by buying Murano glass you create a unique and beautiful look that will impress everyone around you.

About the Author: Hand-crafted Murano Glass Jewelry and artwork imported directly from Venice, Italy. We offer Murano Glass jewelry, accessories, vases, pendants, necklaces, rings, art glass, chandeliers and much more. Visit

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Different Types of Jewelry Pliers

There is an old saying, "Use the right tools for the right job" because it really does matter. Not only do the right tools make the job easier and less time consuming, but they make the end result look more professional. This saying can be applied to many areas of your life, even jewelry making.

Take pliers as an example. You may think that they are all alike, but as you take a closer look and as you begin to use them, you will see that each type is quite different. Each plier has its own characteristics and job that it is best suited for. Here is a brief description of each type of plier and the jobs that they are suited for when it comes to making jewelry.

Bent Nose: The end of these pliers is curved upwards, which gives them their unique shape. This shape allows the pliers to easily pick up and manipulate fine wires into loops or coils. The shape also allows the pliers to get into difficult to reach areas that straight nose pliers cannot get into it.

Chain Nose: Are used to close bead tips and they are able to crimp in tight spaces. You are able to both shape and bend wire when using these pliers. Since the edges of the jaw are beveled, this prevents wire from becoming marred.

Crimping: These pliers are first used to curl and then flatten crimp beads. They make a very smooth curve in the bead so that you can't feel any sharp or rough edges. When choosing your crimp bead, keep in mind that there are two basic kinds. The first kind is either silver or gold filled tubes and the second kind is a round base metal. Both work well and choosing one over the other is a matter of personal preference.

Flat Nose: Are used to make right angles and sharp bends in wire. They can also be used to grip flat objects or to straighten out bent wire.

Precision Round Nose: They are used to form loops and curves in wire so that the wire can be used for beading or wire wrapping designs. Their main characteristic is that both jaws on the plier are long and conical in shape, which allows you to easily form curves.

Ring Shank or Ring Bending: These pliers have a solid build and are used to hold and reshape rings with the help of their specially shaped jaws. The bottom jaw has a concave shape and the top jaw has a convex shape. The edges of the jaws are usually rounded, so that the jewelry will not be scratched.

Side Cutter: These pliers allow you to cut wires and metal sheets, leaving the cut edges smooth and even. The rest spots on the plier for your thumb and finger are positioned close to the jaw, making it easy to do any fine manipulations on jewelry.

Split Ring: They are used to easily and quickly open split rings. To use, place the tooth jaw between the overlapping split ring. Then squeeze and the split ring will pop open, making it ready for the jewelry maker to place the ring on chains or wires.

Stone Setting: They come in a few different shapes, but in all models the bottom jaw is notched and the top jaw is smooth. This allows you to easily hold the stones in place without damaging them, while closing or opening the prongs that keep the stone securely attached to the piece of jewelry.

Wire Wrapping: There are so many different types of wire wrapping pliers, that these pliers should have their own page dedicated just to them. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The job of each one is the same - to bend or wrap wire. Since wire comes in many different strengths and diameters and it must be wrapped in different ways or shapes, there is a different wire wrapping plier for each possibility.

Please visit to see the newest tools available for jewelry making. While you are there, check out the fine selection of gemstones and crystals available at and pay special attention to the many different colours of Swarovski Crystals that we offer.
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Drilling Holes in Seashells - Making Seashell Jewelry

Seashell Jewelry Making

Drilling holes in seashells is quite difficult and shall be done very carefully. Seashells are often quite fragile. Be very careful drilling holes in them and also try to pick shells that are not chipping or flaking at the edges. There are a few precautions that we should know and take in order to prevent the seashells from crack and damage.

1 - Drilling bits

Use A Dremel. A Dremel tool works well also because it's higher speed than your regular drill. Especially good for delicate shells; use a very small bit. It wasn't possible to use a very fast speed because the hardness of the shell made the drill bit slip and mark the surface. Once the hole was started, continue with slow because even then the drill would overheat from the effort. We had to stop every 5 minutes and allow the drill to cool down for about 20 minutes to half an hour. Also suggested to use diamond points to drill.

2 - Water

When you drill with diamond points, always use water to cool the points or they will fail quickly. This also keeps the dust down, but wear a good quality filter mask or use a vacuum to catch any dust/spray. Seashell dust is toxic. You can really hurt yourself if you breath it in, or get it into your eyes, a cut or sore, or ingest it. Sometimes the particulates are so small you don't realize they're in the air around you. Obviously, don't put your drill in the water, just the tip of the bit doing the drilling.

3 - Start Drilling

Make sure the drill bit is sharp, and that you are using a high speed drill. Use the smallest drill bit that will accommodate the chain or whatever you're putting through the shell. Secure the shell firmly in a vise or other arrangement to make sure it cannot move during the drilling.If the shell is thin, I would suggest putting tape over the spot where you are drilling to help prevent the shell from splintering or cracking.Lay the shell with the top up so that if spintering does occur as the bit reaches the other side, any splintering will be on the bottom (back) of the shell.
If you're not comfortable using a drill, practice first on some scrap shells before drilling in those you want to use.

Now when you start to drill, you're going to do it like this: hold the drill in a straight up and down position so that the hole will be straight. Hold the drill firmly so that the bit won't go skidding across the surface of the stone. (Now you know why you need practice pieces.) You're going to touch the drill bit down semi-firmly, like you mean it, but then lift the drill bit out of the hole so water can pool inside it. Repeat. You can do it pretty quickly, too. Touch down, lift, touch down, lift, etc. When you're almost all the way though, Stop. Flip your stone over and begin to drill from the other side. This will prevent a "blow out" or chipping the stone or glass where the hole should be. It takes practice to do this, so don't be hard on yourself. Glass and stone will pretty much drill the same. Anything else may be unpredictable, so a practice piece is necessary.

For more information about making of Seashells Jewelry, visit []Jewelry Skills and []Magnetic Jewelry Clasp
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Do's & Don'ts of Jewelry Making

The Do's and Dont's of Beading

Having been a beader off and on for about 15 years now (and having more money at some times than others to invest in my hobby), I have learned a few things about the do's and don'ts of jewelry making. The following are a few tips and rules for those of you just starting out on your beading journey.

1. Always use high quality crimp beads. Whether you are using silver or gold, try to avoid anything plated or anything that is not tube-like in its appearance. The plated crimp beads are okay for making simple illusion necklaces, but are not sturdy enough to withstand the wear and tear of your beaded jewelry.

2. Do not sacrifice quality for price when it comes to beading wire. Although 49-strand wire may seem expensive, in the long run it will save you time, money, and frustration from having to recreate pieces that have fallen apart due to the use of less durable wire. And although Supplemax is a great product for creating illusion necklaces and woven pieces, it is not sturdy enough to hold strands of beads. Neither is Fireline. (I speak from my experience and the experience of others on this one!)

3. Use the most project appropriate findings and clasps possible in your pieces. It is embarrassing to admit but when I began making jewelry again, I used beading wire and crimped the bottom so it would act as headpin. Though this may seem creative, it was actually not very attractive or very sturdy. And clasps… Don't even get me started! I used to buy my clasps in bulk and I used the same clasp on every piece of jewelry I made, whether it was delicate or bold and chunky. Now I cringe when I see those old pieces with those plain silver plate toggles. Also, when choosing a clasp, you will want to keep in mind what the finished piece will be. I generally use a lobster and chain at the back of necklaces (so the length is adjustable) and use toggles on bracelets (because they are sturdy, attractive, and easier to take on and off than a lobster clasp).

4. I would never say that you shouldn't use inexpensive beads; plastic, glass, and base metal beads can make some great fashion jewelry pieces. What I would say is that you should never mix your less expensive beads with your more expensive beads. For example, I probably wouldn't use Czech glass to create a necklace around a $30 sterling silver pendant. I also probably wouldn't mix plastic beads with Swarovski crystal. The main reason for this is that you will ultimately devalue your finished piece. Remember: a person's perceived value of a product is just as important as the actual value.

5. The best advice I can give is to learn, learn, and learn some more! I am a person who does not like to be taught by others. I don't read instructions and I don't learn from a classroom environment; I am more about being self-taught and experimentation. Some people, like Karla, find they do better when they have a trusty friend or magazine to help them learn a new technique or skill. However you learn best, learn as much as you can! Take classes, subscribe to beading magazines, look at free online jewelry projects, watch online videos. All of these things will teach you not only new techniques, but what kinds of tools and materials and resources you can use while you learn your new craft. And I believe one of the best things about this hobby is that you never stop learning!

You will get out of this hobby what you put into it and, whether you are selling your pieces or giving them as gifts or keeping them in your own jewelry gift, you want to make sure you are creating nothing but the best. Happy beading!

Shanna Steele,

Jewelry-Making DIY Basics - What is a Toggle?

To work effectively with friends, customers and suppliers, jewelry makers should learn the terminology of jewelry-making supplies. The right terminology will help define a need for the right jewelry closure when images are not available.

Jewelry toggles make up a second category of jewelry closures, along with lobster claw clasps, for handmade artisan jewelry, mass-market costume jewelry and fine jewelry. You will see toggle closures on jewelry pieces from Tiffany and David Yurman down to special Mothers Day gifts that only a mother would wear. Toggle clasps can fasten jewelry and enhance jewelry appearance. Many jewelry-makers use toggles as closures for their necklaces, bracelets, and anklets.

What is a jewelry toggle? (Jewellery toggle for you Brits!)

A jewelry toggle is a set of two pieces: a jewelry loop and a jewelry stick. The jewelry loop is attached to one end of your jewelry chain, strung beads, seed bead weave, wire crochet, etc. The jewelry stick is attached to the other end. To hold the jewelry together around the neck, wrist or ankle, one inserts the jewelry stick through the jewelry loop; the stick then rests against the jewelry loop by gravity to hold the jewelry together. If the jewelry piece does not have some slack, then the size is most likely too tight for long lasting jewelry.

Mechanics of Toggles

The shortest distance from your anchor point (often a ring soldered on or cast midway a metal toggle stick) to the end of the stick must be longer than the widest opening of your toggle loop. Otherwise, the toggle stick will easily slip through the loop and the jewelry will drop off. The toggle loop must be big enough to accommodate the smallest beads on the end attached to the toggle stick. The stick must be pulled through the loop before it can be turned to rest against the toggle loop. For that reason, many designers who use toggles will graduate end beads down in size. A toggle that is heavy with respect to the beads and other components will help a bracelet to hang comfortably, with the toggle loop underneath the wrist. Lighter weight toggles will let a bracelet rotate around the wrist as gravity drags on the heaviest parts of the bracelet.

Your "stick" may be as simple as a button with a shank used with a loop of seed beads on bead wire. Your loop may be quite fancy, with "expandable" toggles of several rings attached together. The rings on both the toggle loop and toggle stick should be firmly attached. Cheaply manufactured toggles will often have rings that will twist off or deform or sticks that have no rigidity and bend under tension.

Fastening Toggles

When using chain, toggles will usually be fastened with open jump rings, split rings or link locks. If one wishes to have soldered connections, then chain end caps will be used. Jewelry designers will usually fasten toggles to bead wire projects using crimps. The wire is strung through the toggle or stick loop, then doubled through the crimp before it is flattened into place. Bead wire projects and fiber projects such as knotted silk jewelry pieces will often use clam shells or bead tips to make the transition from the knotted fiber to the toggle. Inexpensive leather or fiber pieces may be knotted directly onto the toggle pieces with overhand knots.

Toggle Materials

Most toggles used in the United States will be made of cast or assembled metal alloys. High end jewelry will use Platinum, Gold, Palladium and Sterling Silver toggles. One will often see Stainless Steel, Surgical Steel and Titanium for edgy, contemporary jewelry. Middle-market products will most likely use Gold-filled toggles and Sterling Silver toggles. Plated toggles will feature brass, surgical steel or copper with plates of gold, silver. copper, gunmetal/"blackened nickel", imitation rhodium, imitation silver and imitation gold. Gold, silver, copper and brass may be oxidized or antiqued for the look of aged jewelry components. Solid copper toggles have their enthusiasts for the alleged medical benefits. Raw brass and lacquered brass toggles have their fans, too. One may also find toggle sets of wood or stone. Some toggles are decorated with crystals, cubic zirconia or gemstones. Pot metal toggles will appear on only the very cheapest of jewelry.

Fashionistas usually regard jewelry toggles as more fashionable than lobster claw clasps. However, toggle clasps come with a bit more risk than lobster claw clasps. Even well-sized jewelry using toggles may fall off the body in the wrong situation. These "wrong situations" may be as simple as resting the wrist on a desktop or otherwise relaxing the tension on the piece.

Fancy toggles will often be used at the front of a necklace as a visual centerpiece -- especially fancy shaped toggles or toggles with addition decorations.

Jewelry toggles come in a wide array of designs: plain round toggles, oval toggles, square toggles, diamond toggles, heart-shaped toggles, floral toggles, stirrup toggles, etc. Jewelry aesthetics and individual taste will usually define the possible toggles to match a jewelry piece. Fortunately, toggles are available in a wide range of materials, shapes and prices.

Paul Brandon knows []toggle clasps and sells jewelry chain and other components at

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How to Make Polymer Clay Beads

When beginners want to learn how to make pottery, they often envision earthenware clay used in terra cotta planters or Mexican clay pottery. Because earthenware designs have been used for over 9,000 years, they set a standard in our minds about pottery and how it looks. Advanced potters know earthenware is just the beginning. Different clay bodies, glazing and firing processes are used to create stoneware, ceramics, artwork and clay beads for jewelry.

Often beginning potters learn with earthenware clay because it is a forgiving, flexible medium usually finished with low fire glazes. When beginners start crafting, pliable clay bodies and low fire glazes make it easier to learn pottery crafting. Another simple medium to experiment with as a beginner is polymer clay.

Learning how to make polymer clay beads is fun and easy. Polymer clay is a unique material available in many colors. Beads are small and do not take a lot of time to create so they are a terrific project for beginners. You can make your own jewelry to match a particular outfit, to wear on a certain holiday or occasion or to give as gifts.

You can make polymer clay beads by hand or in a bead rolling machine. People often experiment by hand at first then get a bead rolling machine to make multiple creations more quickly. Try different techniques to design colorful, eclectic beads for jewelry.

Marbling mixes different colors in swirls or by twisting moist polymer clay into patterns. Texturing creates unusual surfaces by stamping, rolling the clay on textured surfaces and by making impressions in the unbaked clay with objects such as needles, which are also used to create holes for stringing beads. Powdering uses a mica powder with pigment for metallic effects. Glittering steps up the metallic effects to the next level and is easy to used on polymer clay that was not yet baked. Painting is done before or after baking with colorful acrylic paints.

After creating and decorating beads, they are baked and varnished for a durable shine that will last for a long time. Use the beads to create necklaces, earrings, bracelets and pendants. If you decide to make more creations, you may want to try a bead roller easily create consistent beads. You just slide the base and top of the bead roller back and forth to make uniform beads in a variety of shapes and sizes for all kinds of jewelry creations. Create modified hexagon, round, tube, oval, bicone and tri-oval beads using a bead roller. Bead rollers are so safe and simple, children have fun using them with safe materials such as soft polymer clay and Mexican pottery clay.

When you learn []how to make polymer clay beads, start with top quality AMACO clay selections and bead rollers. From polymer clay to []Mexican clay pottery to low fire glazes, AMACO has everything you need to become a jewelry designer.

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Jewelry-Making DIY Basics - What is a Split Ring?

Knowing the terminology of basic jewelry findings will help the novice jewelry designer to make quality jewelry pieces faster. Split rings may look similar to jump rings, but they are not interchangeable.

What is a split ring?

A split ring is a round jewelry finding made of wire that does not have a gap through the ring, so jewelry components do not fall through a cut.. The wire curves over almost two whole circles -- 720 degrees. At the first circle, the wire makes a bend, then the second circle is right next to the first. If you have ever purchased a plain key ring and "wound" your keys onto the ring, then you have already used a split ring.

Uses of split rings

The description above gives an obvious use for split rings -- as key rings. The key rings themselves can be decorated with charms or pendants if their holes are big enough to fit directly onto the key rings; if their holes are not big enough to fit directly onto the key ring, then first "wind" them onto a smaller ring, then "wind" the small ring onto the big key ring. For putting charms on bracelets, choose rings with diameters smaller than the beads on either side if you want the charms fixed in place. Lobster claw clasps and toggles may be attached to either bead wire projects or chain projects using small split rings.

Some people will use split rings as the target for a lobster claw clasp on bead wire projects -- crimping the ring into place at the end of the jewelry piece. However, the "transition" point from the two wires of the ring to the one wire may damage a stranded bead wire. The "transition" point does not matter quite as much when using a split ring with metal chain. The author prefers recommends closed (soldered) jump rings for lobster claw targets on crimped bead wire projects, either heavy gauge open jump rings or link locks to connect clasps and toggles to chain, and heavy gauge open jump rings or a closed jump ring/link lock combination for lobster claw targets on chain projects. Closed jump rings and link locks have a more "professional" for terminating bracelets, necklaces and anklets.

Split Ring Materials

Split rings will most often be made of the following materials:



Gold: 18 karat, 14 karat, 12 karat in yellow gold, white gold, green gold, rose gold

Gold-Filled: base metal with karat gold mechanically and thermally bonded to visible and wear surfaces

Silver: sterling silver (.925 silver) including argentium silver and blackened silver


Surgical Steel

Lead-free Brass, usually plated with gold, silver, copper, imitation rhodium, and gunmetal, optionally antiqued or oxidized

The temper of most sterling rings does not allow them to return to shape after having jewelry components "wound" onto them. Plated and gold-filled split rings do not have as much problem "springing" back into shape. As long as a jewelry designer discloses using plated rings with sterling silver, many buyers will accept the use if the overall design attracts the eye. However, the Federal Trade Commission frowns on those who present or imply a piece as sterling silver when it uses lesser metals.

Wire diameter and overall diameter of a split ring will influence the effort needed to use them. Small rings with thick wire will be difficult to open. Large rings with small diameter wire may not be strong enough for the application. Many jewelry-makers will use split ring pliers to aid in opening split rings; these pliers have a "hook" jaw bent toward a flat jaw that makes these pliers more safer and easier to use than teeth or fingernails.

Basic jewelry-making components include split rings which have recommended uses and permissible uses. Experience making jewelry will help teach how and when a jewelry designer should use split rings for best effect and highest quality.

Paul Brandon knows []split rings and sells jewelry chain and other components at

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Making Beaded Bracelets

Making jewelry with beads is becoming hugely popular, and with good reason. You can basically make whatever you want, in whatever style you like, in whatever colors you choose. Every creation is unique. But if you're just starting out, making a beaded bracelet can seem a bit overwhelming. There are plenty of different things you need to consider when making a bracelet.

The first step is to get together the necessary tools and elements you need for your bracelet. Most good craft stores will carry a good range of at least the basic tools you need, so you can go there to search for tools, wire, fasteners and string. They will most likely have a good range of beads for you to choose from as well.

If you're keen to do something a little bit more complicated, or you find your craft store's selection a bit limited, you can check out a dedicated beading store. But be warned - it's very hard to get out of one these stores without falling in love with far too many beads and spending more than you plan to! Beading stores can be a little more expensive, but you benefit from a huge range of beads in all colors, shapes and styles. You will probably also find that the salespeople are beading enthusiasts too, and can give you lots of helpful advice.

When it comes to tools, start with the basics, and build your collection as time passes. You don't need everything on day one, but you will certainly find that wire cutters, jewelry pliers and a good pair of craft scissors are always useful. So buy these first.

You also need to decide what type of material you want to string your beads on. If you've already chosen the beads, think about their colors and the feel of the bracelet you plan to make. One of the simplest stringing materials is stretch or elastic string. You simply knot one end, slip the beads on in order, finish with a knot and perhaps a drop of glue to keep the knot in place, and you're done. You can also use beading string for this type of bracelet.

If you want your bracelet to be a little sturdier and stiffer, then try using beading wire. It's still relatively flexible, and gives a nice finish. If you want a solid bracelet, then you probably need to use regular wire, which can give you a chain effect if that's what you're after.

Children often find it interesting to thread beads onto hemp, material or leather. You will need to choose larger beads for this type of bracelet, but it can be a simple way for a child to make a bracelet as a gift for a friend. Hemp also is very suitable if you want to make jewelry with an earthy look to it.

The final step is to choose the type of clasp or fastening you want for your bracelet. You can just tie the ends together if you're using elastic or breading string, but if you want something a little more attractive and durable, then you need to look at a proper fastener. Toggle clasps are very beautiful, but can be a bit expensive. If you're concerned about your bracelet coming undone, then you might prefer to use a claw clasp.

As for the design of your bracelet, well, that's up to you! Let your imagination run riot. Check out jewelry designs in shops and magazines, and work out what style appeals to you. It's often a good idea to include a mixture of complementary beads in one bracelet, to give the piece interest and depth. Choose different sizes and shapes, but make sure the colors mix well together.

Making beaded bracelets is great fun, and a great way to have a unique piece of jewelry specifically designed to match your taste and clothing. Beaded bracelets also make fun and inexpensive gifts for friends.

If you want to read more about ref=]beading, click over to Felicity's site at
To read Felicity's Ultimate Bead Lover's Guide, go to

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Jewelry-Making DIY Basics - What is a Lobster Claw Clasp?

Those who works with jewelry supplies and beading projects may forget that not everyone knows all the terminology of jewelry making components. Learning the terminology of jewellery-making supplies will help you to communicate your desires for jewelry components to your local bead store, your jewelry designer or your jewelry supply vendor.

Handmade artisan jewelry, mass-market costume jewelry and fine jewelry frequently uses lobster claw clasps to fasten jewelry and to enhance jewelry appearance.

What is a lobster claw clasp?

"Lobster claw" is a term often used generically for a family of clasps having triggers that open and close. Lobster claw clasps primarily hold two ends of a jewelry piece together by locking the clasp trigger around a jump ring or through a link of chain on the opposite end of a necklace, bracelet or anklet. Some jewelry makers will use lobster claw clasps to attach charms or, if the lobster claw has a fancier design, to act as a visual centerpiece in the front of a necklace.

Jewelry purists will tell you that lobster claw clasps have long, straight oval shapes. Pelican clasps, specialty trigger clasps, are curved specialty trigger clasps with the trigger on the outer convex surface. More symmetrical teardrop shapes describe oval trigger or rounded trigger clasps. Balloon clasps, with a longer oval shape and thinner construction, often require less metal than a traditional oval trigger clasp; therefore, balloon clasps will weigh less than a similarly sized lobster claw or trigger clasp. Other specialty clasp shapes include heart trigger clasps, elephant trigger clasps and cat trigger clasps. lobster claw finding

Swivel clasps, a style of oval trigger clasp where the base rotates separately from the rest of the claw, may offer the wearer more comfort by giving another "degree of freedom" to the bracelet, necklace or anklet.

Precious metal jewelry clasps in the United States must carry quality stamps to indicate their precious metal content per Federal Trade Commission guidelines. Lobster claw metal type will generally match a dominant metal in the jewelry piece. Lobster claw materials in the United States will most often fall into the following categories:



Gold: 18 karat, 14 karat, 12 karat in yellow gold, white gold, green gold, rose gold

Gold-Filled: base metal with karat gold mechanically and thermally bonded to visible and wear surfaces

Silver: sterling silver (.925 silver) including argentium silver and blackened silver


Surgical Steel

Lead-free Brass, usually plated with gold, silver, copper, imitation rhodium, gunmetal, and optionally antiqued or oxidized

Some designers and consumers consider lobster claws as less stylish than toggles. However, lobster claw clasps usually offer more secure fastening than do toggles because toggle bars may slip out of their loops, even if the pieces are appropriately sized to the wearers. The most common flaws of lobster claws, more common with inexpensive costume jewelry clasps, are:

A lobster claw trigger that sticks

A trigger with a spring that "pops"

A lobster claw base with little strength which fatigues and breaks with ungentle wire wrapping or wearing

Jewelry makers learn the merits of each type of lobster claw by experience -- judging the size, weight, cost, appearance and ease-of-use with respect to their vision for different jewelry pieces. There is no one perfect lobster claw design for all jewelry applications. Fortunately, there are many different designs of lobster claws to accommodate the needs and budgets of amateur and expert jewellery makers.

Paul Brandon knows []jewelry clasps and sells jewelry chain and other components at

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French Bead Flower Making - A Vintage Craft Is New Again

How do people use Bead Flowers?

Bead flowers can be used in every way you use silk or fresh flowers. The only difference is that it will be many, many years before bead flowers deteriorate. Therefore, they make ideal inserts in bridal bouquets, bridal headdresses, hair barrettes, pins, napkin rings, corsages, "potted" plants, 3D pictures and wall hangings.

A few notable people who owned and treasured examples of this fine art were Marie Antoinette, Madame Pompadour, Napoleon's Josephine, Princess Grace, Princess Caroline, Patricia Nixon and William Randolph Hearst.

Bead flowers can be made out of many kinds and styles of beads, and beads can have a wide variety of finishes. The most common type of bead used is a seed bead, gauge 10 or 11, and used on wire of 24 or 26 gauge. I have seen very tiny flowers made with gauge 15 seed beads. The edges of the beads can be squared off or rounded, depending on the artist's taste. Japanese beads are of very high quality and are very uniform. If you make bead jewelry, you may have used Toho or Miyuki beads in your jewelry and other projects. One-, two- or three-cut beads add sparkle, and trumpet beads and rhinestone centers can be used as an accent. Beads can be matte or pearly, colorlined or unlined, opaque or transparent, and the list goes on. Beads can be bought on hanks, or loose in bags and tubes.

As strange as it may seem, weather can have an effect on the availability of beads. Because of weather conditions in many parts of the world, certain colors of beads can be made only at certain times of the year. About six years ago, the fashion industry bought up all the available pink beads, and jewelrymakers and flower beaders had to use other colors until the climatic conditions changed again, production of pink beads could resume, and the supply could catch up with the demand.

History of Bead Flowers

The art of making flowers out of beads is many centuries old. Although there is very little documentation on the development of this art, research has shown that the first primitive bead flowers may have been made as early as the 1300's in Germany, when steel needles and wire were developed.

In the ensuing years as the craft spread across Europe, different methods were developed: the Victorian method, also known as the English or Russian method, and the French method. The main difference is that in the Victorian method, which is similar to modern bead jewelry-making techniques, the thread or wire passes through each bead twice or more, and the wire passes from row to row on the sides of the piece; in the French method, the wire passes through each bead only once, and passes from row to row in the center or on the bottom of the individual piece.

One of the reasons that flowers are associated with churches has to do with beads. In the thirteenth century a form of prayer using a string of beads was instituted by St. Dominic. The string, called a rosary, consisted at that time of 15 units of beads. Each unit contained 10 small beads, preceded by one larger one. A prayer was recited at every bead. The word "bede" (sp) is Middle English for "prayer." Because of the length of the original rosary, it became customary to pay someone, usually a resident of an almshouse, to recite the prayers. These people were referred to as bede women or men, and it was they who made the first bead flowers. The craft was handed down through the centuries and came to be associated with the church and its decorations.

The French used bead flowers as funeral wreaths. These wreaths were called "Immortelles," and ranged from 3 feet to 4 feet in height. They would be left at the grave of the deceased. Since they were made on metal wire and were exposed to the weather, most of these items were destroyed within a year, but a few examples remain today. Occasionally you will see one on Ebay. Once an Immortelle disintegrated, leaving only a pile of beads, the beads would often be recycled into other projects. Not only are there bead flowers mounted on the frame of the Immortelle, but the frame wires are wrapped in beaded wire as well. Wires strung with beads might have been coiled or braided as well before wrapping onto the piece. The whole surface of the Immortelle would be wrapped over with wire strung with thousands and thousands of beads.

In Venice in the 16th century, middle class and poor women made bead flowers for churches, banquet tables and parade floats. At that time, someone could walk down the streets of Venice and see women sitting outside every door, making ornaments out of wire and tiny glass beads. At one time Venice was a center for the actual production of beads. According to one source, at one point all the beadmaking activity in Venice was moved onto the island of Murano. Murano glass vases and other items are still treasured today.

Around the Napoleonic era (1768-1821), Italian and French peasants who tended the vineyards in the summer were recruited to work with beads in the winter. They would be assigned to embroider the ball gowns and jackets of the court nobility with beads. Imperfect beads or beads that would not fit over the needle were saved and made into flowers. These imperfect beads may have been strung onto wire for the flowers with horsehair or human hair. These flowers were used to decorate church altars, and were carried by altar boys for Easter and Christmas.

In Victorian times, royal European brides often wore wreaths or circlets of bead flowers and carried bead bouquets on their wedding day. The custom was for the bride to abandon the fancy hair styles of the time, and wear her hair simply, straight down her back, and adorn her head with a floral wreath. If she were getting married at a time of the year when fresh flowers were unavailable, bead flowers were an excellent solution.


In response to the 9/11 tragedy, many flower beaders from around the world collaborated to make a modern-style funeral wreath for each of the three crash sites. These wreaths are now in the Pentagon, the Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the New York Wreath was temporarily placed in the Wheaton Museum of American Glass in Morganville, New Jersey. Recently the New York Wreath was moved to a permanent display case in a board room at the World Trade Center Museum Foundation Headquarters. The Pentagon wreath is in a large, glass wall-mounted case in a new hallway in the Pentagon. This hallway leads to a chapel commemorating those who died on 9/11.

Swarovski Project

Several years ago, when the Swarovski Crystal company was first making their line of crystal beads, they commissioned several bead flower artists to design and create the first Swarovski crystal bead flowers. The beaders adapted existing patterns and wrote new patterns to accommodate these new, larger beads. A sparkling garden of flowers was the result. This collection of flowers toured the world, and is now back at the main offices of the Swarovski company in Austria.

History of Bead Flowers in America

In 1865, Godey's Ladies Book published a flower pattern that suggests the flowers could be used as decorations for hair and clothing.

The Dritz Traum Company released the earliest U.S. pattern, in 1928. It was titled "Hiawatha New Imported Crystal Bead Models." You may recognize the Dritz name, since they still produce needles and other items.

By 1957, Samuel Wallach of the Walbead company was packaging and selling kits, "Bead a Bouquet," which included a wide variety of beaded flower instructions.

In 1965, Aleene, of Temple City, California, released what was possibly the first U.S. book of patterns, simply titled "Bead Flowers."

The art of bead flower making was popular in the U.S. in the late 1960's to early 1970's. Years 1966 through 1983 brought us a flurry of publications. These books are now considered the "bibles" of the French beader. The noted authors of these books include the highly respected Virginia Nathanson, Bobbe Anderson, Samuel Wallach, Helen Leibman, Ruth Wasley/Edith Harris and Virginia Osterland. Although these books sometimes appear in garage sales, collectors are willing to pay well in excess of $100.00 each, when they can be found.

Virginia Nathanson was a Vaudeville performer in her youth. Later on, she saw a bead flower arrangement in a department store in New York City. She wanted to discover the secret of these everlasting flowers, so she bought the arrangement, took it home, and took each flower completely apart. By this rather drastic forensic method, she learned the four basic techniques of French bead flower making.

Mrs. Nathanson's first book, "The Art of Making Bead Flowers and Bouquets," is now in reprint in softcover. The instructions in this book are very clear, and this is an excellent book for the beginner.

In the late 60's and early 70's, most of the seed beads sold in America were imported from Czechoslovakia. With the last phase of the Cold War, around the late 1980's, Czech beads were difficult to find, and popularity for the craft diminished.

In 1991 Helen McCall produced a book dedicated entirely to miniatures, and in 1995, Leisure Arts produced a few patterns, in an ornament book. Still, the art seemed to be fading away, in the United States.

Then, the late 1990's saw a dramatic interest in beaded flowers around the world. Books were published in Japanese, French, Italian, Russian, German, and Dutch. Although some of the styles "cross over," most of these books use the Victorian technique.

In the last several years, Mario Rivoli bought up many vintage bead flowers and spray-painted them to create astonishing effects on the flowers. These beads are often seen in shops in New York City, and in magazines and on the Internet.

With the start of the new millennium, the United States has shown a renewed interest in French beaded flowers. Magazines are describing the art as "what's hot" and French-style pattern books are once again appearing.

Quality beads are now available from many sources. The Internet is making the books and materials available to all beaders, regardless of their location. Many of the books are available from Amazon, and wire, beads and other supplies can be found online at very reasonable prices.

The art of bead flower-making is very old, but is new all over again!

Jonalee Crabb
Sharon R. May, Scouting Out the Bead
Virginia Nathanson, The Art of Making Bead Flowers and Bouquets
Wasley and Harris, Bead Design
Godey's Ladies Book
Dritz Traum Company, Hiawatha New Imported Crystal Bead Models
Samuel Wallach, Bead A Bouquet
Aleene, Bead Flowers
Lark Books, 500 Beaded Objects
Dalene Kelly, Bead Flowers For The New Millennium
Carol Benner Doelp
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How to Make Beaded Jewelry - Upgrade Your Bead Jewelry Making by Trying Bead Weaving

If you are primarily making bead jewelry using bead stringing techniques, I recommend that you give bead weaving a try.

Unlike bead stringing where you run your string or wire through a set of beads in one direction, with bead weaving you will criss-cross both ends of your wire or string within selective beads depending on the jewelry pattern.

There are a huge variety of patterns available from very simple weaves to extremely complex and intricate weaves. The complex ones can be fun to try, but in my opinion the simple weaves using a variety of different colored beads make more attractive jewelry pieces.

If you have gotten used to the simplicity of bead stringing, then when you first look at a piece of jewelry that has been made using bead weaving you may think it is too complicated for you to do. Don't let this stop you from giving it a try because I promise you that it is easier than it looks.

There are a few basic patterns you have to learn but once you have practiced those and have them down, you will be able to weave most anything. I bead weave not only necklaces and bracelets, but even rings as well. A matching set of a weaved necklace, bracelet, and ring makes quite an impression.

And if you are in the business of selling your jewelry, bead weaving gives you an advantage because not many jewelry makers are doing it. This means your jewelry becomes unique in the eyes of your customers.

In addition, bead weaving makes the final jewelry piece look more complex so it has a higher perceived value (meaning you can get a higher price!) than jewelry made with bead stringing.

So if you are looking to kick your jewelry making into a higher gear, give it a shot. Your jewelry portfolio will take on a whole new and exciting look!

Eri Attebery operates a site offering jewelry making tips, video tutorials, product reviews and resources for both jewelry making beginners and pros.

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Making Memory Wire Jewelry

Making jewelry is a fun hobby and for some can become a full time business. At the very least, you will be able to make gorgeous and unique jewelry to wear and give as gifts. As with any hobby, you need to start with the basics and using memory wire to make jewelry is a method that requires a bit less skill than some of the others. Memory wire jewelry does not need a clasp or fancy crimping and one size fits all.

Memory wire is flexible wire that springs back to it’s original form when not stretched - kind of like a slinky. It comes in necklace, bracelet and ring sizes. You simply cut off a section to the size you want and string on beads!

Of course, the first step (and the most fun) is to decide on the beads! Some people are inspired by artisan made lampwork beads, others by gemstones beads and still others by the vast array of crystal beads. Some like to use all of the above in their beaded jewelry designs! You are only limited by your own imagination and there is no “wrong” combination of beads so choose the beads that “speak” to you and incorporate them into your design.

To make beaded jewelry using memory wire, you will need:

1. A tool that cuts the memory wire (can be found in any bead supply store - don’t use regular wire cutters as you will soon ruin them!)

2. The memory wire (sold in packages where you can get 2 or 3 pieces of jewelry out of each package)

3. Needle nose pliers

4. The beads!

Step 1 - Cut the memory wire to size. For a bracelet or ring, decide how many times you want it to wrap around your wrist or finger - wrap the wire right around your own wrist and cut to size. A necklace can only go around your neck once (well, you could probably make it to wrap around a couple times but I think it would be hard to get on and off). You want to size it so that the ends overlap a bit.

Step 2 - Now you need to close up one end so that the beads don’t slide off. Take the tip of your needle nose pliers and place them right at the very end of the wire. Now take the wire in your other hand and bend it around the pliers. The wire is pretty hard, so this might be difficult and yoy may have a hard time with this at first. Try practicing on some smaller pieces first until you can make a perfect little loop. Make sure the loop is closed off so no beads can escape. Don’t worry - if you screw up you can just cut off the end and try again! You want the loop to be as small as possible so it doesn’t detract from our design

Some people also glue on little silver end cap beads. While this looks a bit better, you run the risk of the glue not holding and all your beads sliding off. This happened to me once and is why I use the loop method. To make the loops look a bit snazzier, I just dangle a bead from them!

Step 3 - String the beads! If you are making a necklace that has a certain design or focal piece in the middle, you will have to be careful to space the beads exactly so that they are symmetrical and the focal piece is in the exact middle.

Step 4 - Close the other end. Using the method in step 2, close up the other end and you are done!

Lee Dobbins is a jewelry designer and owner of []Artisan Jewelry Online where you can read more about []jewelry making.

By: Lee Dobbins
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Types of Beads

Walking into a bead shop can be a wonderful experience - so many colors, shapes and designs. It's almost impossible not to get incredibly inspired, and it's just as hard to walk out without having spent more than you intended! But when you're confronted with so many beads, it can be helpful to have some idea of what the different types of beads are, and how they're used. That way you can choose the right sort for your project.

Seed Beads

Probably the most widely used beads, seed beads are small, round or shaped, and can be made from almost anything. The most common seed beads are made of glass or plastic, but you can also get them in wood, pearl, jet, metal and so on. There are a huge variety of sizes and shapes available, which is very confusing. The smallest seed beads are often referred to a size 10 or 12, and slightly chunkier ones are size 8. Because they're so small, they're great for decorating garments, using in almost any type of jewelry design and in most types of sewing and embroidery.

Bugle Beads

A bugle bead is a long tube shaped bead, made from plastic, glass or metal. They can be anything from 2mm (1/16") to 5cm (2") long. The most popular is a size 2 bugle bead, which is around 5 to 6mm (1/4") long. These are also great for sewing projects, and can be very effective in certain types of jewelry as well. They're often used as flower stems in sewing projects, or can be used to lengthen a fringe.


Although not exactly a bead, sequins are often used together with beads in sewing projects. They are round pieces of plastic or metal, and either have a hole in the center or to one side. They can also be either flat or cupped. The most common sequin style is a 6mm (1/4") cup sequin. Generally sequins are used as decorations for garments and sewn items. The ones with center holes are sewn in rows or individually for the right effect, and the sequins with a hole on the side can be used to form clusters that hang or in fringe work.

Center Beads

A center bead is used as a feature bead in the middle of a jewelry piece, a sewing design (such as a flower), the end of a dangle, or to complete a row of beads. Basically almost any bead that doesn't fit into another category and is larger than standard beads can be loosely classified as a center bead. They come in plastic as well as glass and metal, but if you're using one as a feature, it may be better to go with glass or even crystal, because they last longer and are more beautiful to look at then plastic.

Oval or Rice Beads

Named because of their oval shape, these beads are generally used as a spacer in dangles or as a feature in sewing. They can produce some interesting effects when used in jewelry. The most common size is 1cm (1/2") long, and they come in all sorts of colors and materials.

This is only a quick look at the main categories of beads. Once you start exploring a bead shop you'll realize there's far too many types of beads available to fit them into a few categories. Still, this guide should at least help you get an idea for what types of beads are available, particularly if you have a project you're planning to make which asks for a specific type of bead. Have a great time beading!

If you want to learn more about beading, click over to Felicity's site at To read Felicity's Ultimate Bead Lover's Guide, go to
By Felicity Walker
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