Something Other: Non-Traditional Uses for Jewelry Findings

Something Other: Non-Traditional Uses for Jewelry Findings
by Barbara van Look, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®

Bails are for pendants. Cones are for multi-strand jewelry. Bead caps go around beads. That's what each finding is for and that's it.

Well ... not so much.

Design Idea DA16 Necklace and Earrings What's a Finding?

A "finding" isn't just a survey result. It's also a jewelry-making term for any (usually) metal component used to assemble jewelry.

Findings are items used to thread through, glue on, hook into, link onto or otherwise attach beads and components together. They can include jumprings, clasps, bails, headpins, earwires and spacer bars--to name a few. Almost all findings are metal, although you will sometimes see them molded in plastic, lampworked in glass, carved from bone or gemstone, etc.

Other Possibilities

Jewelry findings, you'll find, offer so many more possibilities than the ones they're designed for. While jumprings are commonly used in creating chainmaille jewelry designs, split rings have been sadly overlooked by the professionals--as have colorful Oh! Ringsā„¢.

Here are some other ideas for alternative uses for popular jewelry findings:

Something Other: Non-Traditional Uses for Jewelry Findings

Design Idea B89L Earrings Headpins / Eyepins
  • Turn eyepins into fringe by stringing them inline. The multiple lengths of eyepins mean you can graduate them for a full fringe necklace. Do the same with paddle pins
  • Create chain using eyepins: insert the unbent end through the eye of another headpins, then curl the end back without making an eye. Repeat.
  • String colorful earwires on beading wire through the loop, so they overlap each other like lentil beads
  • Use a kidney earwire or leverback as a bail for interchangeable or removable drops and embellishments

Bell Caps / Bead Caps
  • Insert a bead cap into a bezel setting to create a filigreed link or drop
  • Use a solid bead cap as the button for a cord or beading wire version of a button clasp
Mountings / Settings
  • Bend fancy bezel setting edges outward so they become flowers, rather than folding inward around a stone
  • Take a pendant setting and turn it upside down. Attach a drop to the loop and glue a pin back to it, creating a brooch
Design Idea A96U Brooch

Design Idea C80B Earrings Clasps

  • Use large-link chain as a spacer bar
  • Use as a bail by stringing the ends of link chain to the necklace on either side of a center bead, then joining the dangling ends with a jumpring. Add a focal or pendant to that center jumpring--it'll create a "V" bail!
  • Hook chain extenders over open ended fishhook earwires or in kidney earwires to create easily changed earrings with large-hole beads
Design Idea B861 Earrings Design Idea C81W Earrings Design Idea C80G Earrings

Terminators (Cones / Cord Ends / Accu-Guards / Ribbon Ends, etc)
  • String a cone onto the end of a thread or eyepin. Create many of them, then hang from jewelry to create tiny bells as they are a hammered flat
  • Hang an eyepin, headpin or single strung metal bead inside a metal cone to make a bell
  • Use cones or conical cord ends with loop to make drops
  • Unfold unsoldered cones to make flowers (view Design Idea C81P), angel wings (view Design Idea AB08) and other shapes
  • Use ribbon ends clamped around chain or fabric to create flexible components (view Design Idea D83R)
  • Cap off tube beads with cord ends or use around lengths of cord to create links
  • String cord caps nested together to make a length of snake-like chain
Spacers / Spacer Bars
  • Stack spacer bars to create pendants or focal components
  • Weave spacer bars of three or more holes together using cord, so they overlap. Bonus design. Tip: Use different finishes of the same style to create a mixed metals design!
Safety Pins Look into your findings stash. What will you make?

Design with ...
Design Idea CA40 Necklace and Earring
Additional Resources ...