Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tools and Materials

If you are serious about beading I recommend to invest some money and get good tools from the very beginning. You will need some pliers: chain- nose, flat- nose, round- nose, crimping tool and not the least a cutter. I have the ergonomic, high quality German Oscar Holland Moritz (OHM) pliers. They are expensive, but they will last forever and the results using good tools are better.

To start, you will also need some Technical Components, also called Findings like: crimp beads or crimps with a screw, stainless steel jewelry wire, bead ends, jump-rings, chain, head pins and clasps.

If you want your creations to be of a very good quality that lasts, I recommend to use good quality, thick- walled crimp beads or the crimps with a screw and most importantly, good steel wire.

I use the professional quality 49 strand from Accu- Flex TM. You can get this excellent wire in many colors and even silver or gold plated.

I like to use the bead ends as they make for a nice, professional closure. If the design of the beaded piece allows it, I use an extension. Sometimes one needs the necklace to be longer. This way you make sure that the necklace is the right size for everyone and every outfit.
I think that the bead covers look a lot better than a crimp by itself

In this piece I used a .o14 wire because the holes of the beads were very small. This wire is difficult to crimp as the micro crimps are not very stable, so I used a screw crimp, which also looks very proffesional. Note the extension chain on this necklace.

There are many clasps out there. Sometimes you need a special clasp for a special design. I use Lobster Claw Clasps the most, because they work with the extension chain. However other clasps may be required depending on the design. For me, a beaded design has to not only be pretty but it also has to be functional. That is the reason why I so often incorporate the extension chain into the compositions.

For a special design you can also make your own clasps.
In this piece I used a designer Clasp with Swarovski Crystals® which can be worn in the front or back. An extension Chain would not work here.

Since I make the so known “ Bridge or Artisan Jewelry”, I use only Sterling Silver, Gold Fill and Stainless Steel components but you may purchase any of the components made out of different materials, meaning at different price levels. You have to decide what you like and what is important to you.

For me the use of fine materials is a part of the overall concept. One can buy very inexpensive costume jewelry that is mass produced. This kind, although often very pretty is mass produced and made out of inexpensive materials. From my perspective, not very special.

Last but not least, you will need BEADS! There are millions of different kinds out there.
I will talk about the different materials and touch on some color theory stuff in some other posts.

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