I have a client who wants me to create a 9-foot long string of silver beads to sit outside through a Canadian (Ontario) winter. I've told her up front that this is entirely new to me and that it's an experiment, so I'm covered there. However, I want to make sure this lasts as long as possible.
I'm thinking of using:
Beading wire, Accu-Flex®, clear, 49 strand, 0.024-inch diameter. Sold per pkg of 30 feet.
Czech glass beads in silver
Nickel- or silver-plated brass beads (I'm leaving it her choice after reading that some use nickel plating for items that have to survive outdoors)
I'll finish the ends as loops rather than putting any kind of clasps on it.
Does this sound reasonable? I realize this site is about jewelry and not decor but it doesn't hurt to ask.
You have made a great choice with the stringing material. The heavy size of Accu-Flex® beading wire has a test strength of 38.7 pounds, which should be more than enough for the length of the strand of beads you described. If the size of holes on the beads will allow, doubling the strands would add extra security.
Sterling silver crimps are a more durable product over plated. Sterling silver crimps typically have a thicker wall than plated and the metal itself can withstand more abuse. If cost is a factor, nickel plating does offer a better weather resistance to silver-plated.
The glass beads, so long as they are not hitting up against something (i.e. walls, windows) and don't have a coating, should hold up fairly well.