I have been beading a long time and have never had trouble crimping until now. When sterling silver was less expensive, I always worked with sterling. But to save money, I have been working more with silver plate beads, etc. When I use silver plate crimps, they never hold. I have tried all wire sizes, all sizes of crimps, even bought micro-crimpers, etc. I am wondering if the base metal that is plated is so soft that it just won't keep a crimp and that's why everything falls apart. I never had this problem with sterling silver crimps and wonder if they are stronger because the sterling work hardens during the crimping process.
Sterling silver crimps are alloyed with copper so this metal has more give and prevents the walls from breaking. Silver-plated crimps are not as malleable and sometimes have a seam in the center, therefore are more likely to break under the stress of crimping.
Two other tips to help with crimping successfully, make certain that the beading wire and other stringing accessories you choose are compatible with the size and shape crimps you are using. Check your crimping tool for sharp edges and worn areas that might keep any crimp from being formed properly.
- Sandra Lupo, Jewelry Designer and Instructor and Swarovski crystal Ambassador