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What are Crimp Beads?

Malcolm Tatum
By
Updated: Jan 23, 2024

Crimp beads are devices that are attached at the end of beading wires to hold the elements of a strand together, ensuring there is no excess slippage in the strand that could spill over onto the clasp used for the jewelry. Located just before the clasp, crimp beads act as a buffer, with the beading wire running through the crimp bead and then around the clasp loop, creating a secure strand. Once in place, crimp beads are then crushed, using crimping pliers to seal the connection. Here is some information on the proper way to use crimping beads when assembling a strand of elements for jewelry creations.

Crimp beads can be used along with bead tips in the design, or in place of a bead tip. If used with a bead tip, the crimp bead performs the function of housing the knot at the end of the beading wire, ensuring that there are no sharp edges that could stick the wearer of the necklace or bracelet. Two different types of crimped beads are using in creating jewelry. One type is the tube shaped line of crimp beads.

The tube types are normally available in sterling silver, or gold filled or plated models. Tubed crimp beads tend to be very easy to work with, making them ideal when the elements of the strand are very dainty. The second type of crimp beads is the round type. Smaller than the tubed version, round crimp beads are usually made of base metals, such as aluminum or tin. While harder to grasp, they have the advantage of being easily crushed with crimping pliers and also are virtually invisible when it comes to the look of the finished piece.

Applying crimp beads is usually done by gripping the bead in a set of crimping pliers, with the open ends accessible for the beading wire. Slipping the bead onto the wire and down to the first element of the chain, leave a portion of the end of the wire outside the bead. Gently loop back the wire into the hole of the bead, taking care to ensure the sharp end of the wire does not emerge from the opposite end of the bead.

Using the crimping pliers, move the bead to the second oval in the blades of the pliers and close the blades, effectively crushing the bead. This will cause the bead to curl as it is crushed. As a final step, turn the crimped bead on its side and insert the crushed bead into the first oval of the pliers. Compress the blades on the pliers to crush the bead into a rounded shape. At this point, the seal is complete and the clasp can be attached through the small portion of the exposed loop. If there is any excess wire exposed next to the elements in the strand, trim off the excess, so there will not be any sharp elements to scratch the wearer.

Crimp beads provide a little extra security to the integrity of the strand, and also provide a strong connection for the clasp. While using crimp beads is painstaking work, the process actually goes very quickly, and the result is well worth the effort.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon237802 — On Dec 31, 2011

I bought a simple beaded necklace from China. The crimp was not sharp. I have constant problems with the sharpness of crimp beads, even when I use crimp covers. This Chinese necklace used a little piece of metal, not a crimp bead. It seemed to be curved and to have been wrapped around the wire. One side had been laid against the wire, and they rest of the piece of metal was wrapped in an outward direction, with the other side of the piece of metal being of the outside. Just a curled piece of metal, wrapped around the wire! I ran my fingers over it, and it was as smooth as a baby's bottom!

I like to crimp sections off in the middle of necklaces, I don't just crimp where the clasp is. I do know how to use crimping pliers etc with crimp tubes and beads, so that's not what I'm looking for. I want to know how one would wrap a little piece of rounded metal around the wire! I wonder, would you have to heat it up?

Addressing the sharpness of crimps would be useful, WiseGeek! (do you think that aluminum crimps would be less sharp? I always use sterling tubes and beads.) --

Wendalore

By golf07 — On Jun 19, 2011

I like using clasps on the beaded jewelry I make and crimp beads are the best way to hold the beads in place and easily attach a clasp. It took me a few tries to get used to the crimping pliers, but I finally got the hang of it.

Many of the crimp beads are pretty small and I like to work with the large crimp beads if I can find them. It also depends on the design I am making. Some designs look better with the small ones and some with the larger ones.

By Mykol — On Jun 16, 2011

I started out beading using the stretchy beading string with different beads. Once I began using the beading wire with crimp beads that is what I do all the time now. I think the jewelry can look much more professional when you use crimp beads and sterling silver findings and clasps.

You will pay a little bit more for sterling silver beads and findings, but your jewelry will look better and last better too. I think it is well worth the extra money for the higher quality products.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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