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.