February 2002
Volume 3, Issue 2
Finding Findings
The Basics

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Editor's Letter | Letters to the Editor | Beginners' Corner | Questions and Answers | Finding Findings | Variations on a Theme | Spaghetti Mokume Gane | Medieval Brooch | Issues in the Crafting World |
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Learning to make jewelry is a fairly difficult prospect, especially if you are, as I suspect many of us are, attempting to learn the art alone in your craft room, with only the computer and a book from the library to help you.

Over the next several months, we will publish a series of articles on jewelry findings, and supply a list of places where these findings can be purchased. If you have any suggestions for kinds of findings you would like to know more about, please feel free to e-mail us!

The Basics

What are findings?
Findings are the pieces you need to turn your artwork into a useable necklace, bracelet, pin, earring, ring, etc. The category includes everything from pin backs to spacer beads to cording.

What do I need to work with findings?
Although findings are the pieces you use to turn artwork into jewelry, you also need some tools to work with findings.

Most importantly are pliers, which come in a variety of types. Here is a list of basic pliers:

Round nose pliers: Round nose pliers are designed to form loops and curves. Also known as rosary pliers, these pliers are essential if you want to make loops for earrings and other projects. They come in two sizes, generally -- regular and small. You want to purchase good quality round nose pliers. Look for pliers whose shanks touch at the top.
Flat/bent nose pliers: Flat or bent nose pliers are designed to hold wire firmly and to make sharp bends and right angles with wire. They come with serrated and non-serrated faces. Serrated faces have a stronger grip, but non-serrated faces don't leave any marks.
Chain nose pliers: Chain nose pliers are designed to close bead tips and to crimp crimp beads. They also allow you to get into very small spaces to squeeze shut the final tip of any wire you might be wrapping.
Wire cutter: Wire cutters are designed to cut hard wires, except for Memory wire, which needs it's own special wire cutter.

Nippers: Nippers are designed to cut soft wires.
Crimpers: Crimpers are designed to crimp crimp beads into a round form, instead of squishing them, as regular pliers do.
Split ring pliers: Split ring pliers are designed to open split rings so you can easily attach them to jump rings, clasps, charms, or anything else requiring a split ring.
As with any purchase, you have a choice to make. You can purchase cheap tools that will get the job done ($5 - $15 range), or you can purchase more expensive tools that will get the job done right ($15+).

If you want to make designs out of wire, you will need a jig, also.

A jig is very simple in principle. It is a flat board with holes, and comes with pegs in a variety of sizes. Depending on the size and position of the pegs, when you wrap your wires around them, you will get different sized wire loops.

You can purchase any of these supplies at a variety of sources on-line. Check out Yahoo's list of jewelry making supplies or About's jewelry making supplies list, or run a search on Google or Altavista for jewelry making supplies.