Learning To Speak The Language – Part 1: Getting Familiar with Findings

Every industry has specific lingo that the pros use to talk about different tools, supplies, and whatnot, and the beading industry is no different. Although we wouldn’t be able to explain the difference between eSATA and USB 3.0 (that’s computer-speak) or the difference between “bloom strength” and “fat bloom” (those are candy-making terms!), we CAN help you wrap your head around all of the terminology within the world of beading. Here is your first lesson in Beading Lingo 101:

Finding
Findings are basically anything within your piece of jewelry that aren’t beads or pendants. Findings are the pieces of (usually) metal that connect everything together. They include clasps, ear wires, jump rings, etc.
(See below for more on these terms.) These pieces are also commonly called “thing-a-ma-jigs” and “whoosie-whatsits,” although these are not considered to be technical terms. 😉

Clasps 
Commonly called “closures,” these come in a wide range of sizes, styles, and materials. The most common types of clasps are lobster claws, spring rings, toggles, box clasps, or magnetic clasps. These are the most frequently requested types of clasps by our customers
.

A popular clasp style is the lobster claw.

A popular clasp style is the lobster claw.

A classic clasp: the box clasp.

A classic clasp: the box clasp.

A handy clasp style: magnetic!

A handy clasp style: magnetic!

Sterling silver ear wires.

Sterling silver ear wires.


Ear Wires
Also known as “ear hooks,” these are the pieces that actually fit into the hole in your ear lobe. Ear wires come in a variety of metals and styles, and can actually be created by hand fairly easily. An earring is not technically an earring until you have added an ear wire to it
, or an earring post/clip-on component. Without a way to suspend your beaded dangle from your ear, you won’t be able to wear it!

Chain maille earrings by WovenArtJewellry on Etsy.

Chain maille earrings by WovenArtJewellry on Etsy.

 

Jump Rings 
Commonly called “O-rings”, these small metal circles are often the crucial connecting components (say THAT three times fast!) in many jewelry projects. Jump rings come in a variety of diameters and gauges, and come in either open or closed (soldered). Open j
ump rings can also be used just on their own to create elaborate designs. This technique is called chain maille and the intricate design possibilities are endless!

Crimp Beads
These tiny, tubular beads are different from other beads in that their primary purpose in life is to be squished! Crimp beads can be used as spacers in your jewelry designs if you wish, but they are usually used to attach cord to a clasp or chain. They come in different sizes to accommodate cords of different thicknesses, and they come in a wide range of metals.

Sterling silver crimp tubes.

Sterling silver crimp tubes.

A crimped crimp tube, anchoring the clasp to the loop of beading cord.

A crimped crimp tube, anchoring the clasp to the loop of beading cord.

 

 

A crimp bead covered with a crimp cover.

A crimp bead covered with a crimp cover.

Crimp Covers
Crimp covers do exactly what you would think: they cover up crimp beads! The C-shaped pieces fit around a squished crimp bead, and then you gently close the “C” with crimping pliers to form what looks like a 3mm or 4mm bead. Crimp covers give a polished look to necklaces and bracelets, and they also prevent any small pieces of cord ends from scratching the wearer.

 

 

Headpins
These straight pins are used for creating beaded dangles/earring drops. Simply stack your beads onto a pin, use round nose pliers to create a simple loop or wire wrap at the top, and voila: instant dangle! Head pins usually have a flat bottom that looks like a nail head, but they can also be found with a round ball or decorative element on the end.

Close-up of flat-headed head pins.

Close-up of flat-headed head pins.

Ice Cream Social earrings by Fusion Beads.

Ice Cream Social earrings created by Fusion Beads using headpins.


 

 

 

 

Close-up of eyepins

Close-up of eyepins

Eyepins
Like headpins, eyepins are straight pins that can be used for earrings or charms/drops. What makes eyepins different, however, is the fact that they have loops (or “eyes”) at the bottom; use round nose pliers to create a loop on the other side of your bead(s) and you now have a link that can be used in a wirework necklace or bracelet.

 Stay tuned for Part 2: Bead Styles & Shapes!

First lobster claw photo courtesy of Charm Country on Amazon. All other photos courtesy of fusionbeads.com unless otherwise noted.

Advertisements

Creative Ways to Accessorize Your Halloween Costume!

Halloween is one of Blue Door Beads’ favorite holidays! Not only does it mean getting the chance to transform yourself into whatever, goblin, ghost, or other ghoulie you like, but you also have the opportunity to get super glam instead — or at least come up with a costume idea that you can embellish with fun accessories!

It’s definitely not too early to start working on your Halloween costume. Although it may be tricky to dress up your look if you plan to be a mummy or Frakenstein, we did think up a few costumes that could benefit from having a few items of jewelry added to them! Check ’em out:

Costume: Carmen Miranda, a Portuguese Brazilian samba singer, dancer, Broadway actress, and film star who was popular from the 1930s to the 1950s. Famous for colorfully over-the-top costumes, including bright & bold jewelry that often incorporated fruit.
Fun accessory: Fruitastic necklace, bracelet, or earrings — or all three!

Photo courtesy of classicflix.com.

Photo courtesy of classicflix.com.

Carmen Miranda jewelry set available through DevilishDollDesigns on Etsy.

Carmen Miranda jewelry set available through DevilishDollDesigns on Etsy.

 

Costume: 80’s girl, like Alyssa Milano from “Who’s The Boss?” The epitome of 80’s teenage girl chic, Alyssa knew how to rock the crazy sweaters, leg warmers, and neon-colored jewelry!
Fun accessory: Hot pink earrings.

Photo courtesy of AveryBethDesigns.

Photo courtesy of AveryBethDesigns.

To make these fun earrings, we took a silver earrings component, then applied Vintaj Patina Paint in Ruby. Super easy!

To make these fun earrings, we took silver-colored earrings components, then applied Vintaj Patina Paint in Ruby. Super easy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Costume: Gypsy or fortune teller. Both costumes lend themselves well to piling on lots of vintage-looking rings and bangle bracelets, but you can also get more exotic with your jewelry choices and try out some unique items!
Fun accessories: Chain headpieces (embellish with as many layers of chains as you like) or ring-bracelet combos.

Photo found on Pinterest via flickr.com

Photo found on Pinterest via flickr.com

We created this headpiece using nickel-free brass chain and a large filigree component, all from Vintaj.

We created this headpiece using nickel-free brass chain and a large filigree component, all from Vintaj.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ring-bracelet combo courtesy of CameronCouture on Etsy.

Ring-bracelet combo courtesy of CameronCouture on Etsy.

The Blue Door Beads version!

We decided to make our own version that laid a little flatter on the hand, and wasn’t as likely to get snagged on the tools we work with!

 

Costume: Flower child/Hippie. Go all-out with patchwork or tie-dyed clothes, braids in your hair, John Lennon sunglasses, and lots of nature-inspired jewelry.
Fun accessories: feather jewelry and braided headbands with fun embellishments, like charms & tassels.

Hippie costume available through costumecraze.com

Hippie costume available through costumecraze.com

Braided headband photo found on Vogue & Vodka on  Tumblr.

Braided headband photo found on Vogue & Vodka on Tumblr.

Peacock necklace available through Cloud9Jewels on Etsy.

Peacock necklace available through Cloud9Jewels on Etsy.