What is a Jump Ring?

If you are new to jewelry making or not a jewelry maker at all, the term “jump ring” will most likely not ring a bell as to what it is exactly. It is not a ring that you jump through. Jump rings are used in jewelry making to connect other jewelry components such as beads, earring hooks, etc.

Jump rings come in a variety of materials and sizes just the same as beads and other jewelry making components. They are an essential piece to the jewelry making process. You will see the term “jump ring” early in your exploration of jewelry making and most likely very soon will have a collection of jump rings in different sizes and materials.

Jump rings are extremely useful as well as appealing to the eyes when incorporated into a jewelry design. The most important part to a jump ring when assembling jewelry is to be sure it is closed properly or else your beads and other jewelry components with dangle right off the ring.

Jump rings are like “staples” to the jewelry artisan. It is a good idea to have a supply of every size you like using in jewelry as well as the different materials such as silver, gold, antique copper, silver plated, gun metal and so on.

You can find jump rings anywhere you are looking for jewelry making supplies as they are a basic supply unit.

A jump ring is a jewelry component used to connect other jewelry components together for a finished piece of jewelry.

Written by: Connie Limon
Carmilita’s Earrings: https://carmilitaearrings.etsy.com3 piece bead set pink

What is a Toggle?

Every jewelry artisan must learn jewelry making supplies terminology.
Knowing jewelry making terms will help you choose or define the right component when images are not available as well as help you to communicate about your jewelry designs to potential purchasers.

For example, just what is a “toggle?” Jewelry toggles are within the category of jewelry closures. A toggle clasp fastens jewelry together for the finishing touch as well as for putting on and removal of the jewelry. Toggles are used for closures on bracelets, necklaces and anklets.

The toggle clasp consists of a jewelry component loop and a stick. The loop is placed on one end of the stringing material and the stick is placed on the other end. When you put the two ends together to form a bracelet, necklace or anklet you will insert the stick into the loop.

This does not sound like it will hold the piece together and even at first sight you might think how can this work to hold my necklace, bracelet, or anklet together around my neck, arm or ankle? Toggle clasps actually work beautifully for the connection purposes of handmade jewelry using “gravity” to hold the jewelry together. It works great and looks great as well.

Look for toggle clasps in your favorite bead supplier shop in the section of “supplies.”

Fastening Toggles can also be found in the supplies sections of bead stores. Open jump rings, split rings or link locks usually fasten toggles when using chain in your jewelry designs. You can easily fasten a toggle to bead wire jewelry with crimp beads. String the wire through a toggle or stick loop and double it through the crimp bead, then flatten the crimp bead to hold in place.

Toggles are made from a variety of materials including cast or assembled metal alloys, platinum, gold, palladium and sterling silver, stainless steel, surgical steel and titanium. You can also find toggle sets made of wood or stone.

Jewelry toggles are usually regarded as more fashionable than lobster claw clasps.

For a different kind of look try using fancy toggles at the front of the necklace creating a visual centerpiece.

It is easy to match jewelry creations to the most eye pleasing toggle set as they come in so many different designs such as plain round, oval, square, diamond, heart shaped, floral stirrup and more. And that just about answers the question of “what is a toggle?”

Written by: Connie Limon
Carmilita’s Earrings: https://carmilitaearrings.etsy.com

3 piece set

Having Trouble With Making Knots In Elastic Bracelets?

Stretch bracelets are easy to make for adults and especially for children. However, making the knot secure is the problem. There are several different kinds of stretch cord. Some stretch cord is absolutely useless when it comes to tying a knot. The knots just will not stay in place. I have read different places that a stretch cord called “Stretch Magic” is a good brand to use. You can also use Gossamer Floss which is said to be stronger than regular elastic.

I think another good brand of elastic stretch cord is the “Buddy Stretch.” I first used the Buddy Stretch elastic in a kit I received from BeadBuddies.net and had no problem with the knot slipping out. The knot instructions in this kit was to finish off with a “triple knot.” No glue or clear fingernail polish was advised.

Here is what BeadBuddies.net say about the Buddy Stretch elastic cord:

“Buddy Stretch Clear Elastic Beading Cord is perfect for making slip on or stretchy bracelets! This is really strong elastic cord that knots easily. Do not use glue when making knots with this elastic and your jewelry will last a long time! The knot can be pulled into the middle of a bead for a great looking piece of jewelry! Don’t let the low price fool you, Buddy Stretch does not fray and is made to last! We buy direct in very large quantities to give you the best possible price!”

I went online and did a search trying to learn more about making knots in elastic for stretch bracelets of which I love making. I found several different suggestions. Below is only one method I found.

(1) String your beads. Tie the two ends of the stretch cord together just the same as you would tie your shoe laces.
(2) Pull the stretch cord very tight, as tight as you can.
(3) Repeat step 1 as if tying an overhand knot. Now loop one of the cord ends through the loop of the overhand knot again. You can go a step further and loop one end through the loop again for a third pass. This is called a surgeon’s knot.
(4) Pull the ends of the stretch cord to tighten the knots.
(5) Dab a little hypo cement glue onto the knot for a secure hold.

I have one of these stretch bracelets made with the Buddy Stretch brand of elastic and tied into a triple knot, no glue or clear fingernail polish used on my Etsy site here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/202856511/carmilitas-beaded-bracelet-and-earring?ref=shop_home_active_2

Here is a picture of that bracelet in which I used the Buddy Stretch elastic and the triple knot, which does knot better and does stay in place. I plan on just using the Buddy Braid elastic and typing the triple knots for future bracelet projects. I might try the cemet glue idea as well.

bracelet and earrings
Written by: Connie Limon, Bead Jewelry Artisan
Carmilita’s Earrings: https://carmilitaearrings.etsy.com

Bead Size Facts

Thinking about a new bead project these days? What is the main ingredient? Beads, of course. The fun with beading begins with choosing your beads. The color, size and shapes of beads is staggering. It is easy to get lost just looking at all the beads. There is a system in place that might help in the process of choosing and following pattern instructions as well.

Most beads are created consistently by size using the metric system. Beads are sized in millimeters. If you are a person who has been dreading the change over to the metric system this may seem a little intimidating. It is like learning a whole new language, yet before you know it you will be thinking in millimeters, maybe not with all things, but at least with “beads.”

Bead stores usually lay out their bead inventory in small individual compartments. The compartments are labeled with size of beads and type of beads. Size of beads usually starts around 2 mm. Small round beads are considered 2 mm to 10 mm in size. Medium to large beads start at 12mm to 32mm. You will find the medium to large group of beads are in even numbers such as 12mm, 14mm and 16mm. Round beads are probably the most popular bead choice for beaders.

The oval shape beads is another popular bead choice among bead jewelry artisans. These beads measurements are in lengths and widths. Oval beads range in size from 8mm x 6mm, 10mm x 8mm up to 40mm x 30mm.

An extremely large bead is most generally referred to as a “cabochon.” Cabochons are large stones or glass beads. Bead jewelry artisans use cabochons for a variety of jewelry projects including stud earrings, and centerpieces for a necklace or bracelet. Jewelry designers may also use the cabochons for settings in wire wrapping, for beading around the cabochon with seeds beads or set into a bezel. A bezel is a metal setting that holds the stone and has a bale attached. Bales are fixtures at the top of the setting to make it easier for stringing.
Cabochons are cut round, oval and into other kinds of shapes. The back of a cabochons is usually “flat.”

Round and oval beads are the most popular and most common beads jewelry artisans use. There are dozens of other shapes available. Having a basic understanding of sizing of beads is important to be able to determine how to use beads in your projects. The beading process begins with choosing your beads and is probably the most fun step of all.

Written by: Connie Limon, Bead Jewelry Artisan
Carmilita’s Earrings: https://carmilitaearrings.etsy.com

Meet Honey

dangle earrings honey

Honey is a pair of dangle earrings I added to Carmilita’s Simplicity Collection of Handmade Dangle Earrings. She dangles about one inch from the hook.

Materials Used:
2 Antique Copper Ball Pins
2 Antique Copper Dangle Earrings
2 Antique Copper 2 x 9 mm Scallop Bead Caps
2 Antique Copper 3 x 8 mm Scallop Bead Caps
2 Antique Copper 1.5×4 mm Beaded Rondelles
2 Antique Copper 2 x 6 mm Beaded Rondelles
2 Antique Copper 2 x 6 mm Beaded Rondelles
2 Light Gold 12 x 9 mm Glass Crystal Rondelles
2 Peridot 6 mm Swarowski Bicones
2 light Rose 4 mm Swarovski Bicones

Honey’s Price: $15 includes FREE shipping

Purchase Honey here: Carmilita’s Earrings

Beading with Wire: A Few Basics

In our market place today we have several choices in what kind of wire to use for stringing beads into jewelry. These wires vary in strength, flexibility, material and color. Beading wire is measured by gauge and categorized by a number. The higher the number the thinner will be the wire. Stringing beads with wire also require a pair of wire cutters for cutting into desired lengths for each project.

What works best for stringing beads into jewelry pieces is the most durable types of wire. Types of wire include stretch elastic wire, thread or cord, and woven strands of stainless steel wire coated with nylon.

The woven strands of stainless steel wire is usually waterproof, flexible and hypoallergenic. You can find colors in stainless steel wire that coordinate with your beads. Thick wire is probably best for resisting breakage. Large diameter wire is best for jewelry items that most likely will withstand a lot of movement. Medium diameter works well for almost any kind of jewelry projects. A small diameter wire works well with light weight beads such as pearls and/or seed beads.

Sterling silver wire comes in hard and soft textures. The less expensive option is silver, gold or copper plated wire which gives about the same look. Some people are allergic to expensive materials while others are allergic to inexpensive materials and might be about all the difference there is in these two types of wire material.

You can also use elastic cord for bead stringing. It is best to use the thickest diameter that will work with the beads you use. Elastic cord is great for adjustable jewelry. You don’t have the added expense of a clasp. Elastic cord is also good to use for children’s jewelry. You can find elastic cord in different colors as well as clear.

Thread is used for bead stitching and making fringe. To avoid excessive tangling buy a “waxed” beading thread.

Other types of cord include waxed linen which knots very well. If you want to string pendants use leather cord or waxed cotton cord.

Just a few basics about bead wire…..

Written by: Connie Limon, Bead Jewelry Artisan
Carmilita’s Earrings: https://carmilitaearrings.etsy.com

Meet Sasha
dangle earrings sasha

Sasha is a pair of dangle earrings I added to Carmilita’s Fancy Collection of handmade dangle earrings. She dangles about 2 inches from the hook.

Materials Used:
2 Silver Plated French Fish Earring Hooks
10 Silver Plated Head Pins
2 Silver Plated Eye Pins
2 Glass Faceted Round Light Pink Beads 8 mm
20 Silver Plated Jump Rings 5 mm
12 Teardrop Shape Blue/Green Magne (D/S) Beads

Sasha’s Price: $15 includes FREE shipping

Purchase Sasha here: Carmilita’s Earrings