Findings - Parts of the Whole

Posted by Kelly Wright on 3/23/2017
Findings - Parts of the Whole
This week I would like to talk a little bit about findings - parts of the whole. Do you find it curious that the hardware of jewelry making that puts pieces of materials together is bunched into a group called 'findings'?

In olden days, when people who made jewelry had to rely on their own resources, they had to make all the components for each of their creations. A project required its maker to hammer out pieces of gold or silver or brass and draw out stretches of wire. Being unsure of themselves, as well as inexperienced in their art, they would often use more metal than actually needed. These leftovers were not wasted but saved to become part of another piece. The artist would rummage through his collection of scraps to find exactly what he needed to become a connection, a closure or melted down to become something else. These extras were eventually called findings.

Today, premade findings are an integral part of the jewelry making 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 are great for making custom links to form chains. Thread beads and a charm on the 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 are 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 or duplicate it for earring embellishments.

  • Jump rings are the basic connectors in jewelry making. They connect eye and head pin loops to each other or to chain, join different styles of chain and add extenders, endings and clasps. Here is a note when using jump rings: They connect and hold everything together, so you want them to remain strong. Do not pull it apart from side to side, causing a weak and distorted 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 comfortably add it to your project. Then gently close it.

  • Endings add 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 leather or ribbon cording and a dot of glue for a place to add a closure.
This list, of course, does not cover all kinds of findings available, by any means. Familiarize yourself with the many types 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.

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