What Is A Crimp Bead

A crimp bead is a finishing bead used to secure the end of wire jewelry.  It creates a loop for the connectors and keeps the beads from sliding off.  It comes in a variety of metal types as do other findings.  It will either be a tube or round.  For a further finished look, a crimp bead cover may be placed over it.

As mentioned, it is primarily used to finish off a piece of wire jewelry such as a necklace or a bracelet.  However, it is also used in floating necklaces.  It can be placed under a several beads, grouping the beads together, and because it stops the beads from dropping further down the wire, it creates the floating necklace appearance.  If one is placed on either side of a bead and covered with a crimp bead cover, they can appear like round beads.  This is a beautiful look especially when using a more transparent wire.

There are special pliers needed to properly close the crimp beads.  They are called crimping pliers.  Their jaws have indentations that, when closed, create two holes.  These holes are used in a two-step process to crimp the beads and secure the wire.

Slip the crimp bead onto the wire and pull the wire through.  Loop the wire back and slip on a clasp if desired.  Tuck the wire back through the crimp bead.  Grasp the crimp bead with the crimp bead pliers at the second hole from the tip and press gently but firmly on the bead.  This will have made the crimp bead concave.  Now, using the first hole of the crimp bead pliers, turn the bead ¼ turn and crimp firmly but gently.  Trim the excess wire as close to the bead as possible being mindful not to clip the main wire.  You would use this same two-step technique if you are using the bead for a floating necklace.

There are two steps that are not necessary but are suggested for a more polished look.  One is to use two crimp beads.  Slide two crimp beads on the end of the wire.  Make the loop back and crimp the last bead just as explained above, trimming as close as possible.  Then slide the first crimp bead as close to the crimped bead as possible and crimp that bead.  This covers any loose ends of the wire.  The second suggestion is to cover the crimp bead with a crimp bead cover.  They are pressed close with needle-nose pliers and when applied look just like a metal bead.  They are a great look for the floating necklace.  While neither of these steps is necessary they add a touch of distinction to the piece.

While most jewelry findings are mostly utilitarian, crimp beads, when covered, can actually attribute to the beauty of the piece.  Whether covered or not, knowing the proper technique for closing crimp beads is an essential skill for the beaded necklace and bracelet maker.

Filed under: Jewelry Making Tips

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