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'Jewellery Findings' is an umbrella term for a multitude of jewellery making elements, used to join components together to create a whole piece. Put simply, their purpose is to connect and hold different jewellery making items securely together. Each finding has a different function and works in a different way, allowing you to perform a range of techniques, create different looks, and alter the way you wear your finished jewellery.
Whilst offering structure, they're also very much on display – so, more often than not, are available in a variety of designs and shapes to make the finished article even prettier. Jewellery findings are normally constructed from metal, and can be found in sterling silver, copper, brass, gold plated and silver plated varieties, amongst many others. They then usually have a colour finish applied, such as antique silver, gold, rose gold, bronze or gunmetal, thus allowing for project coordination.
These components are essential in the creation and beautification of jewellery pieces – but as a beginner, how do you know exactly what you need for specific projects? Fear not! We've pulled together a list of common jewellery findings you'll regularly come across on your newfound jewellery making journey, describing their main uses and project compatibilities.
Bails, or 'pendant bails', are used to attach large focal pendants to necklaces – without the need to solder! Truly expanding your jewellery making possibilities, these handy little findings are usually attached to the bottom of your necklace where you want the pendant to hang down.
Bead caps are a type of finishing finding. Rather than having a functional use, these little cups are placed each side of a bead to make it more aesthetically pleasing. With beauty in mind, these findings are available in a fantastic range of shapes and intricate designs.
Clasps are used to open and close pieces of jewellery, allowing you to wear them. Box clasps are usually rectangular in shape with pretty detailing, and have two main components – an inside and an outside. One side of the clasp fits snuggly inside the other, locking the jewellery together. It's then released by pressing down and sliding each side apart, thus opening the bracelet or necklace.
If you want to get in to brooch-making, brooch backs are essential. These pin-style findings provide a base for your brooch design to sit on, allowing you to pin the finished piece onto clothing. Although brooch backs are available in a great of deal shapes, styles and colours, the most common is the flat bar – providing a long base plate with a rotating clasp and long pin on the back.
Calottes are clamshell-style findings that are used to attach clasps to cord, neatly hiding knots when finishing a necklace. These ball-shaped findings have two sides that close together, with a hole through the hinged part to allow you to pass cord through. The cord is simply knotted, the calotte is closed to hide the knot, and then a clasp is attached to the outside loop.
Crimp beads are used with threads or wires that can't be knotted (such as tigertail) to secure jewellery pieces. These soft metal findings are usually bead-shaped, but can also look like tubes. The wire is simply threaded through the crimp, through a clasp, then back through the crimp to form a loop. The crimp bead is then squashed flat using pliers to secure the entire ensemble.
After learning about the crimp bead process, it's apparent that the squashed metal end result isn't going to be very pretty on your jewellery piece – so that's where crimp covers step in! Although not a necessity, these hollow c-shaped findings simply fit around the flattened crimp bead to add a decorative touch, as well as providing protection.
If you're a fan of dangly earrings, earwires are vital findings for you! These hook-shaped earring findings are simply attached to your earring designs, allowing you to hang them from your ears.
Ear posts can also be called 'earnuts' or 'ear studs', and are the fundamental base for stud earrings. These long pins have a flat head, providing a strong surface to glue your earring designs onto.
End caps, or 'cord ends', are an alternative to calottes when using thicker stringing materials. Used to finish off cord, leather or ribbon whilst allowing you to attach them to clasps, these findings are often bell-shaped or have a u-shaped channel to handle the thickness of the material. Once the cord is inserted, the end cap is simply squeezed with pliers, then a clasp is attached to the loop on top.
Eyepins are essential for the creation of decorative jewellery pieces, such as dangly earrings and statement necklaces, allowing you to create a link to attach multiple hanging components together. Although similar to headpins, eyepins connect the middle of the chain of components – instead of the end. These straight wires have a loop at just one end – the bead is pushed onto the wire, the wire is trimmed, and then the other end of the wire is made into a loop too. You now have a little loop either side of your bead, ready to attach components to each end.
Headpins are crucial for creating dangly earrings, charm bracelets or necklaces, allowing you to attach hanging decorations. Although similar to eyepins, headpins connect the end of the chain of components – instead of the middle. These straight wires have a ball or flat head at just one end – the bead is pushed onto the wire, the wire is trimmed, and then the other end of the wire is made into a loop. You now have a loop on just one side of your bead, allowing you to attach that end to another component to finish off your design.
Jump rings are integral structural components in jewellery making projects. These little wire rings link pins, clasps or fastenings together, allowing you to form a whole piece. As they have a small break in the circle, you simply twist them open to link another component through, twisting them shut to secure. It's important to note that the ring shouldn't be pulled apart as this will misshape it – a simple twisting motion will suffice.
Clasps are used to open a piece of jewellery, allowing you to put it on and close it again to secure. Lobster clasps are named as such because they replicate the look of a lobster's claw, coming with a spring-loaded lever on one side. Simply pull it down to open the clasp and release it to close it again. The loop on the end is permanently attached to the bracelet or necklace, then the other side of the clasp is the temporary fastening which allows you to wear the finished piece.
Clasps are used to attach and detach pieces of jewellery from your wrist or around your neck. Magnetic clasps are incredibly easy to open and close, simply locking shut and holding the item tight with a magnetic force. These often ball-shaped clasps are ideal for those who find other forms of clasp fiddly, and are simply glued to your jewellery piece to permanently attach.
Split rings look very similar to key rings, and are used as an alternative to jump rings in jewellery making. These wire rings don't have breaks as jump rings do, but instead have two wire loops to spin components onto. Keeping your jewellery pieces connected, these strong little rings are primarily used to attach charms to bracelets or link other interchangeable jewellery components together.
Clasps are essential in jewellery making, used to open and close the structure of a jewellery piece to allow you to wear it. Toggle clasps, or T-bar clasps, are a two-part finding made of a ring-shaped toggle and a straight bar. To use, the bar is simply turned on its side and inserted into the ring. When moved back to a vertical position, the bar can't be released from the toggle. This type of clasp is available in a range of ornate designs to allow you to integrate it into the look of your jewellery piece, and is especially popular for bracelet making.
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