Jewelry Making: What Are "Findings" and What Are They Used For?
Basic Findings for Wire Jewelry
Essentials for Jewelry Making
Put simply, jewelry findings are small metal parts that are used to assemble jewelry. They are an essential part of jewelry making because without them, well, you just can't make any kind of handmade jewelry. Findings often need to be thought about well in advance of wire jewelry completion because the quality and design of those findings add to the overall aesthetic of any piece of jewelry. It occurs to me that they may be called "findings" indeed because finding the right finding for a jewelry piece is often in fact, very hard to find. So, if you want to learn how to make wire jewelry, it is essential that you understand jewelry findings and their applications.
Defining the Jewelry Findings
End caps, as they sound, are small parts used to cap off the ends of a jewelry piece. They are available in a rather wide variety of pre-made shapes and materials (usually precious or base metal). The more advanced a jewelry designer's skills, the more likely it is that they will make their own end caps either by fabricating them (making each one by hand) or by having them cast (a process that involves making a rubber mold that can then be used to make multiples of any finding). End caps for jewelry making can be either very simple and functional (they're used to hide the ends of bracelets or necklaces) or highly decorative to coordinate with the overall design and look of a particular piece of jewelry.
A bail is a small, sometimes circular structure, that is typically used to hang a pendant onto its' neck ring or neck attachment. Again, these can be quite simple or highly decorative as with end caps.
Jump rings are small wire circles used to connect all manner of other jewelry parts and, as such, have multiple applications. These are frequently used to connect beads in jewelry.
Clasps, as they sound, are used to clasp or pull together finished jewelry pieces, typically bracelets and necklaces. Clasps are as functional as they are decorative. As you're working, it's helpful to start envisioning the kind of clasp that will work best for your piece.
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Head Pins and Earring Findings for Jewelry Making
Earring Findings to Know for Jewelry Making
Earring findings come in a wide variety of choices and are usually one of two kinds: hook or post. The hook type allows the main earring part to hang down while the post type keeps the top of the earring closer and more securely placed onto the ear itself.
Head pins are straight, metal pin-like findings that also come in varying lengths with small flat areas or loops on the bottom. Called the "head", the area on the bottom functions to keep beads, etc. from falling off the bottom of the head pin. Head pins are used for building earrings and for assembling and stacking other decorative items like beads. See the center area of the pix above as an example of head pins.
Finally, ear nuts are the small rounded parts used to keep post type earrings on the ear snugly. See example of ear nuts on the right in the photo above.
While "findings" for wire jewelry making isn't all that glamorous of a jewelry topic, it is, nonetheless, something any aspiring jewelry designer needs to have a full grasp of upfront.
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