Sunday, 23 June 2013

Finishing Beading Wire with Calottes

Jewellery made with beading wire is held together with crimps, tiny metal tubes (crimp tubes) or rounded tubes (crimp beads). The quickest and easiest way is simply to thread the wire through a crimp, then through a fastener or jump ring and back through the crimp and the first few beads, then squash the crimp with flat nose pliers to grip the wire.

As this doesn't look so pretty, the crimp can be scratchy on the neck, and the wire can poke it's way out from between the beads, there are ways to hide the crimp to give a more professional finish to the jewellery.

One way is to use calottes, or necklace ends, which are a cup shaped finding with a hole in the centre to thread the wire through. This one has a hook which closes around the jump ring or fastener.

You then crimp the wire inside the calotte, leaving a tiny bit of the wire sticking out of the crimp, just enough so that you can see it. Then you know it is well gripped and not caught by just one edge of the crimp. Gently close the cups of the calotte over the crimp.

Close the hook of one calotte over a jump ring, and the hook of the other one over a jump ring and fastener.

Another type of calotte has two loops above the cup,

Use it in the same way, attaching the jump rings through the two loops.

Calottes are best suited to lightish necklaces. Some beaders aren't keen on them, finding them quite weak, but I would say (again!) that there is a quality issue here. Good quality calottes and crimps will hold a necklace or bracelet together for a long time.

If you are new to crimping, it's a good idea to try and tug the wire out of the crimp. If you can't, you'll know it is gripping well.

Next time - using crimp covers.

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