Friday, December 29, 2017

Finding the Parts of the Whole

I'd like to talk with you a little bit about findings - parts of the whole. Have you ever wondered why the jewelry-making hardware that connect elements together is bunched into a group called 'findings'?

In the days when people who made jewelry had to rely on their own ingenuity to make all the components for each of their creations, a project required its maker to hammer out pieces of precious metal or draw out twisted stretches for wire. Being unsure of themselves, as well as inexperienced in their art, they would often use more metal than actually needed. These leftovers were saved to become part of another piece. The next time the artist designed a piece that needed a closing or a connection, he would rummage through his collection of scraps to find exactly what he needed. These collections of scraps and pieces eventually came to be known as findings.

Today, pre-made findings are a huge part of the jewelry making supply business. Lobster claws, magnetic clasps, toggles and s-hooks are the clasps and fasteners that hold your pieces together and make them easier to take on and off.

  • Eye pins - great for making custom links to form chains: Thread beads and a charm on an eye pin, leaving about a quarter inch to form a loop at the open end with round nose pliers. Repeat the process until you have enough to link together and form a necklace the length you want.

  • Head pins - great for forming charms or pendants: Thread beads, leaving about a quarter inch to form a loop at the open end, again using round nose pliers. Add your charm to a chain as a pendant or to an eye pin link, like the one described in the previous paragraph, or, duplicate your pendant for earring embellishments.

  • Jump Rings - the basic connectors in jewelry making. Use them to link eye and head pin loops to each other or to chain, join different styles of chain and add extenders, endings and clasps.

NOTE when using jump rings: They connect and hold everything together, right? So you want them to remain strong. Do not pull a ring apart from side to side, causing a weak and distorted, sometimes cracked portion of the ring. Instead, grasp each side and gently pull one side toward you and push the other away from you and open it just enough to add it to your project. Then reverse that motion to close it.

  • Endings - the finishing touches to your project. Crimp beads and tubes close a strand of beads. Cones are used for multi-strand projects and hide the knots. End crimps and crimp coils are used with a dot of glue for the ends of leather or ribbon cording for a place to add a closure.

This list, of course, does not cover all findings available, by any means. For more information about all kinds of findings available, go to  and browse our pages. Don't forget to familiarize yourself with the many types of findings and the correct tools to use with them and, as you get more sure of your efforts and more creative with your designs, the findings will themselves add to the beauty of your creations. Maybe you'll even create some of your own.