Crimp Beads

Another way to finish the ends of beaded jewelry pieces, such as bracelets and necklaces, is by using a crimp bead (pictured in Figure 6.5). Crimp beads are actually beads in that they have a hole through them. However, their purpose is very different from your average ornamental bead: they are used on the end of stringing medium to secure the beads in place. Later in this chapter I give step-by-step instructions on how to use crimp beads, but for now, the important tip to remember about crimp beads (just as I've said about other jewelry findings) is to stick with either silver or gold-filled crimp beads. In particular, you want to look for crimp beads that are tube-shaped rather than round, and normally, the round crimp beads are made of base metal any way, so that makes it pretty easy to distinguish them.

Figure 6.5

Tube-shaped silver or gold-filled crimp beads are your best bet for a securely beaded jewelry piece.

Figure 6.5

Tube-shaped silver or gold-filled crimp beads are your best bet for a securely beaded jewelry piece.

Crimp beads come in different sizes, from as small as 1x1mm to as large as 3x3mm, but on average, you want them somewhere in the mid-dle—2x2mm crimp beads. They work best with most beaded items and secure well to beading wire (a type of stringing medium that is made of twisted wire and then coated with plastic).

Beading wire is a favorite of beaders who use crimp beads, and because it is so strong, it can handle heavy beads or those beads (like metal and crystals) that may otherwise cut into some other stringing materials. So, as a general rule that will work with your average type of beaded jewelry item, I suggest using 2x2mm sterling silver or gold-filled crimp beads teamed up with .014 or .015mm beading wire. For heavier jewelry, go with larger crimp beads and thicker beading wire; and with lighter jewelry, go with smaller crimp beads and beading wire.

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