A key style in jewellery is the beaded necklace & bracelet. Design your piece from your choice of beads and these can quickly be turned into a finished piece of jewellery with beading wire, crimps & a clasp. We’ve the basics covered so you can quickly learn what there is to know about beading wires & crimps and this useful technique.
The low down on beading wires
The basic technique behind many beaded necklaces and bracelets uses beading wire and crimp, chose your desired beads, string the beads on to the correct gauge beading wire and using crimps this allows a clasp to be attached to the design.
First the wire , there are different qualities of beading wire and a good few brands too. The basic beading wire is often referred to as tiger tail and has a low number of strands. Our tiger tail is called Acculon 3 strand we’ve stocked this for many years, it is great for cheap and cheerful designs but has a tendency to kink if not laid out and stored correctly. Although Acculon now do higher strand wires which are as good as some of the better known brands at a cheaper price. The key with beading wires is the higher the number of strands, the less kinking you will get.
We’ve spent a good amount of time researching the more expensive well known branded beading wires too and our personal favourite is Beadalon and we’ve stocked this for a good number of years now to know that many jewellery designers seem to feel the same too. The 49 strand is the best quality, lower strands are cheaper and still great quality. But for top range jewellery it’s wise to buy top line beading wire. Each beading wire strand range comes in different gauges, this relates to the bead hole size Gemstone work tends to sit best on .018, whilst pearls work well with .015, as they generally have a smaller drill hole size.
It's all about the crimp
The next hurdle is how to crimp, the classic method is to use a seamless crimp bead which can be squashed flat with flat nose pliers, a seamless bead won’t split and keeps the beading wire securely in place, allowing a clasp to be attached to your jewellery.
More recently crimping pliers have become more popular, used with a crimp tube or bead the pliers create a tight tube, which can look neater than a flattened crimp bead and can also be covered by a large hole bead which can slip over the crimped tube. Crimp tubes come in different sizes but a 2x2mm is the most used size.
For both above methods the crimp can also be covered by a crimp cover, a c-shaped finding which when pressed lightly with pliers forms a bead over the crimp (shown middle left on above image)
There are also innovations such as the crimp & ring which contain an end loop within the design to which a clasp can be attached with a jump ring. Just insert your stringing material into the crimp and press with pliers the middle section within the crimp to secure your beading wire in place. Although we tend to use these more with larger gauge stringing materials such as waxed cord (as shown above in bottom right corner of image).