The following is a list of beading and jewellery making items, terminology and equipment:
Aurora Borealis AB coating is a rainbow iridescent finish developed by Swarovski 1955 and when applied to beads enhances the appearance.
Bail is a metal loop that is used to attach a chain or cord to a pendant.
Bead Boards are usually flocked boards on which you can layout your jewellery design. Extremely useful for ensuring that your piece is the correct length and that your components do not roll away or get scratched. They are available in a number of shapes and sizes with or without a cover.
Bead Mats are fabric/felt mats that stop beads rolling around and are available in a range of colours for a few pence.
Beading Needles generally have larger eye holes and/or increased flexibility compared to ordinary needles.
Bead Loom is a frame which holds your project whilst you are weaving.
Bent Chain Nose Pliers are chain nose pliers with a curved or bent tip. This makes them useful for accessing tight spaces.
Box Joints are where the two halves of the pliers are manufactured to pass through each other creating a stronger and more secure longer lasting joint.
Caliper is a tool which accurately measures the dimensions of a bead.
Callotte Crimps are a small finding generally used to hide the end of a strand of beads. They are like a bead cut in half and hinged at one side. Thread onto the bead strand then knot the thread inside the calotte, once closed they provide a neat end to the strand.
Chain Nose Pliers are pliers that have a rounded outer edge of the nose and a flat inside of the nose. Some have ridged inner edges. These are essential pliers good for gripping and manipulating wire and findings.
Clasps are components used to join two ends of a piece of jewellery together. There are many types of clasp available in a wide variety of finishes including lobster, trigger and toggle clasps.
Illusion cord is a monofilament line similar to fishing line and is used for bead weaving and also creating illusion jewellery where beads are fixed at intervals along the cord and appear to float as the cord disappears against the skin.
Crimping Pliers. Standard crimping pliers have two areas, the first of which flattens and bends the crimp into a curved shape before the second area folds the crimp in half, producing a neat finish which can then be enclosed in a crimp cover or left exposed.
Crimpsare small metal beads that are squashed to hold multiple strands together or prevent movement of a bead beyond a particular point. They are available as either round or tube beads in 1mm, 2mm and 3mm size.
Extension Chain is a short length of chain with large open links that allow the length of the jewellery to be varied by linking into different parts of the chain. They are usually finished with a decorative bead or charm.
Eye Pins are a short length of wire that is looped in a circular shape at one end. This loop is used as a link to join the pin to other jewellery components.
Findings is the term that refers to manufactured components used to create jewellery. These include jump rings, split rings, clasps, crimps, head pins and eye pins.
Flat Nose Pliers have a broad flat end to the nose and are extremely useful pliers for jewellery making. They are particularly good for gripping and shaping wire and findings.
Flush Cutters are also available which give a virtually sheer cut; these tend to be more expensive and although not essential they are lovely to work with.
Gauge is the unit of measurement for the thickness of wire. The higher the number the thinner the wire, for example 22 gauge is .6mm, 24 gauge is .5mm and 26 gauge is .4mm.
Gimp or French Wire is a fine coiled silver or gold coloured hollow wire used to cover the loop of beading cord or thread where it passes through clasps and loops. It creates an attractive finish that protects the wire.
Gold Filled products consist of a base metal being bonded with a gold alloy of at least 10 carats. At least one twentieth of the article must be made of the gold alloy for it to be considered a gold filled product. This is a thicker layer of gold than gold plated and is considered to be of higher quality.
Gold Plated products consist of a base metal plated with a thin layer of gold by electrolysis. The gold plate must be at least 10 carats to be considered gold plated. As gold is a soft metal, it can wear off fairly quickly revealing the base metal beneath.
Head Pins are a short length of wire with a flat end like a nail head to stop beads falling off. They are also available with ball ends and various decorative shaped ends.
Jump Rings are circles of metal with a split used to join together different jewellery parts.
Lap Joints are where the two halves of pliers lay across each other like scissors. They are usually more economical and les hard wearing than box joints.
Mandrels are graduated round tubes used for creating jump rings and wire spirals.
Memory Wire is thin tempered stainless steel coiled wire and is usually available in three sizes, necklace, bracelet and ring it retains its shape and springs back when stretched. This wire is much stronger than ordinary beading wire and should not be cut with ordinary cutting pliers as it dulls the blades. Special memory wire cutters are available to avoid ruining the blades of cutters.
Nylon Jaw Pliers are available with round, chain and flat noses. They are good when working with soft wire as they are less likely to mark or damage the wire than metal nosed pliers.
Rolled Gold is produced by “laminating” a sheet of base metal with a layer of gold on either side. The gold must be at least 10 carats. This sheet is heated so the two metals fuse together. The sheet is then rolled into a thin sheet from which products are made. Rolled gold products have a thicker coating of gold than gold plate and retain their colour for a long time. This is the same method of production as Gold filled.
Round Nose Pliers have conical round nose tips. These pliers are essential pliers for jewellery making used primarily for creating links or shaping wire and creating loops.
Side Cutter Pliers have diagonally shaped blades to allow users to cut close to another object. These are essential pliers for trimming head pins, eye pins and wire and are generally semi-flush cutters.
Silver Plate is a fine silver film deposited on a base metal by electrolysis. The film can be as thin as seven millionths of an inch. As this film is very thin, it can be prone to wear and discolouration.
Split Rings are a double coil of metal like a miniature key ring used as an end to clasps or a stronger alternative to jump rings.
Split Ring Pliers are very useful as they prise the split ring apart to allow threading or connecting to clasps or chain. They save finger nails from damage!
Split ring tweezers are similar to split ring pliers but are generally thicker than the pliers so can sometimes leave smaller split rings slightly stretched.
Sterling Silver is 92.5% silver with the balance usually consisting of copper. It is also known as 925 silver. The copper allows sterling silver to be flexible and workable. All silver tarnishes over time, however sterling silver takes a long time before it discolours, thus making it very popular. Larger Sterling silver findings should be stamped with a “925” somewhere on the product to identify it as a sterling silver.
Soft Flex is a multi-strand flexible beading wire that is kink resistant and is less stiff than conventional tigertail. It can also be knotted and is available in a number of thicknesses for different beading applications.
Soft Touch is a fine version of Soft Flex. This is used for weaving and threading.
Tigertail is a braided steel wire coated in plastic. This is a popular product for stringing jewellery as it is much stronger than thread or craftwire but has a tendency to kink and it can’t be knotted.
Vermeil is silver plated with gold. The silver must be at least 92.5% silver (sterling silver) and the gold must be at least 10 carats. As the gold is plated, the colour may wear off faster than rolled gold or gold filled products.