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finished bead set

Free Bead Lesson

Finishing In 14K and Wire

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Instructions are provided by my good friend, Debra.
She writes with a sense of humor and her directions are detailed and easy to follow.

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Okay! here are the materials we'll use to create a completely ravishing 14k 9mm faceted citrine choker. (Pardon my royal "we"). Now, let's look a little closer at these materials.

beading supplies

Bead & Stringing Wire

The bead stringing wire that you need for any fine work needs to be as flexible as possible, so get the smallest diameter of stringing wire that has the largest number of "strands" making up the thread. Here, that's Beadalon .38 mm 49-strand wire. Soft Flex is equally good. You can get 49-strand wire in larger diameters, supposedly for heavier work, with a break point greater than the 20 lbs this wire holds, which perhaps would be useful if you need to suspend an anvil from a window or something. Otherwise you're set.

Be aware that other beading wires you use will have different properties, mainly affecting the way they crimp. Some colored beading wire, for example, is really slippery. It may look secure, but still come loose after being crimped. Always test your finishing techniques to make sure they're really working with the materials you're using.

Beadalong beading string Left: bead stringing wire
Below: French Wire

beading wire

French Wire

Also known as French Bullion, or Gimp, this is a very soft hollow tiny coil of wire that is usually used to cover and protect the silk thread of a knotted strand where it meets the clasp. We're going to be using it a little less traditionally. You can get it in both gold and silver, and often in three sizes. You'll want it in small, whether you're using it the way we do here, or for knotting.

14K Clasp With Attached Rings

"Attached Rings" is the operative phrase here. In 14k using gimp, it's very convenient not to have to rig up a clasping system. Clasps that have attached closed (already soldered) rings may include fishhook clasps, also called pearl clasps, bead clasps, and box clasps. When finishing with gimp and 14k, the advantages of using a clasp with rings already attached, instead of, say, a lobster claw clasp, are many. I find I can't really support this statement without going into detail that you wouldn't be able to visualize without pictures, and I don't have any. I'm not saying it can't be done, now. I'm just saying this way is more time efficient and looks more professional. So trust me. Or doubt me, try something else, and suffer. clasp with attached rings

This is a box clasp. So named not for it's shape, but because there's a folded piece of rectangular metal that slides into a "box" to make the clasp work. Wouldn't it have been great if I had taken a picture of that?

14K Tube Crimps

When buying your crimps, you might find a couple of different lengths to choose from. That's a matter of taste and won't effect how they work. Most crimps are about the same diameter, around 2mm. The most important thing to look for in a 14k crimp is how heavy the wall is. 14k crimps work differently than other crimps - better, but if you get too light of a crimp, the flexibility of the metal can be so great that it won't hold a crimp at all. The crimp will open up completely with the slightest movement of the wire. You'll know right away if you got the wrong kind of 14k crimp, because you won't even be able to finish stringing your beads. Not even, like, two of them. They hold, literally, nothing. I don't know why people sell those things. They're unusable. tube crimps

But don't let that deter you from using the right 14k crimps. They're a completely different experience.

14K Spacer Beads

Here we've chosen very tiny Bali-style rondels. They're no larger in diameter than the crimp bead is long - only about 2.5 mm. We're using these mostly to show what just a little glint of gold in a necklace can accomplish. Of course, to really get the full effect of gold, its warmth and reflective qualities, you have to see it in person.

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