If you’re new to jewelry-making, you may be wondering what jewelry findings are and why you need them. In this guide, we’ll be running through the most common types of jewelry findings that you’ll come across and how they can be used.
The term “jewelry findings” refers to jewelry-making components that aren’t beads, gemstones or stringing materials. Findings are the bits and bobs that help you piece your jewelry together. Examples of findings include bails, clasps, jump rings, connectors or head and eye pins.
They are generally available in many different metal finishes, including gold tone, silver tone, antique silver, antique brass, copper and gunmetal.
Why are these little components called findings? Well, in historical times, jewelers had to make each and every jewelry piece by hand. In those days, jewelers would make findings from leftover bits of metal and eventually, these leftover components became known as findings.
Thankfully, nowadays you can now buy findings as you see them in their present form, saving you a whole heap of time!
Common jewelry findings and their uses
Bails are simply used for attaching a focal bead or component to a chain to make a pendant. Using a bail provides an easy way to attach a pendant to a chain, without any metalsmith or soldering techniques being required.
Bead cap findings are very handy for helping to dress up your beads. You can give your beads a decorative detail or cover imperfections easily by placing bead caps at either end of a bead when stringing. You can easily turn a plain bead into a focal piece for a pendant, just by adding bead caps!
Chandeliers often used as earring connectors. You can make beautiful dangly earrings with these by adding beads (on a head pin) or chain to the connecting holes. An earwire can be attached to the top connecting hole.
Clasps are used when making necklaces or bracelets. A clasp is the component that allows the two ends to close together. Clasps are extremely functional and because they are available in many different shapes and styles, they can also add the perfect finishing touch to your project.
Earwires (as you’ll probably have guessed) are used for making earrings. The earwire itself goes through pierced ears. You can attach beads, beadwork, metal components and even buttons to the connecting hole to make a variety of different earring styles!
Head and eye pins
Head and eye pins are used with beads to make components for earrings, bracelets, necklaces and more. Simply slide a few beads onto a headpin and then use jewelry pliers and cutters to make a loop that will enable you to connect it to another component e.g. an earwire.
Head pins either have a flat or round end that acts as a stopper so that your beads won’t fall off. Eye pins however, have a connecting link. This means that you can connect other head or eye pins to them to make longer pieces of jewelry.
Jump rings are used as connectors in jewelry-making. The most common shape of jump ring is round, but you can also find oval jump rings. There are two types of jump rings: open or closed rings.
Open jump rings have a split in them, so that they can be prised open with jewelry pliers. Closed jump rings are soldered shut all the way around, so they cannot be opened. Closed jump rings are handy for when you need a strong connector for a piece of jewelry that is either precious or heavy.
Links and connectors
Links and connectors are available in an abundance of different styles and shapes! You’re bound to find some in just the right finish for whatever you’re making. As the name suggests, these are used for connecting jewelry components together. You could use these in earrings, bracelets or necklaces.
Cord and ribbon ends
If you don’t want to knot your ribbon and cord jewelry together, you could use cord and ribbon ends which allow you to add a metal fixing to your project. You can find cord ends in round and barrel shapes and ribbon ends are usually flat, with teeth that sink into the material to secure it.
It’s a good idea to use jewelry glue when fitting cord and ribbon ends for extra security. These findings have connecting holes and links so that you can attach chain or a clasp to them.
Other findings that you’ll come across include crimp beads, crimp covers, wire protectors and chain tabs. Crimp beads can be squashed down onto jewelry wire to hold your other beads in place. Crimp covers can then be placed over crimp beads to hide them.
Wire protectors add strength to jewelry stringing wire at the point where it may be weak, for example, near the clasp. Chain tabs are used with a clasp – they attach onto the opposite side so that the clasp has something to attach to (you can also use a jump ring for this purpose).
We hope this guide to jewelry findings has helped you to consider how they can be used! There’s no doubt that jewelry findings are extremely useful and would make a great addition to your beading kit.
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