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The Types and Purposes of Jewellery Findings

Jul 29, 2008
Speaking broadly, jewellery findings are the component parts or the materials that are used in jewellery making. However, there are different types of jewellery findings and they each serve a particular purpose, be it functional or aesthetic. If you are considering entering the world of jewellery making, it is wise to familiarise yourself with a few of the different types that you can obtain from suppliers, or recycle from old jewellery.

Functional jewellery findings are, as their name suggests, the 'mechanics' of the creation of a piece of jewellery. They are designed mainly for constructive purposes, such as linking, joining or attaching different components of a piece together. The brooch back, for example, is an assembly comprising of a joint, a catch and a pin-stem that can be attached to an item, such as a brooch, either by gluing or soldering. A catch is designed to accept and lock a top wire or even a pin-stem. Used on its own, the catch is an essential piece of equipment when making necklaces and bracelets, as it forms the closing mechanism that holds the item in place.

Earrings occasionally use a wire finding shaped like the Greek letter 'omega'. This 'omega clip' is used as a clip earring finding, pivoting in one end of a yoke or joint attached to the earring itself.

Decorative jewellery findings add an aesthetic quality to a piece of jewellery. There are countless decorative findings available, but you may commonly encounter charms, filigrees and festoons. Charms are the miniature findings that dangle from bracelets and necklaces. Often shaped to look like animals or tokens of wealth, they are usually made from gold or silver. Filigree is an ornamental form of bent wire that can be soldered into intricate designs, while festoons are usually the centrepiece of a necklace, formed by a pendant with rings on either side through which the chain can be attached.

Hybrid jewellery findings are a combination of the two, serving a mechanical function, yet adding depth or decoration to a piece at the same time. Common examples of hybrid jewellery findings include bead caps, bracelet links and locket bails. A bead cap is a metal embellishment that is placed on a bead to mask any damage that has occurred during the drilling of the bead. These can be made from filigree to add an extra layer of decoration to the piece. Bracelet links are generally made from metal and have loops at either end to link with other rings or connectors. Locket bails are bails specifically designed to connect lockets to a chain. A bail is generally oval or 'D' - shaped in design and slides onto the chain without the need for soldering. This can also referred to as clip-on bail.

There are many further types of jewellery findings that are used for a variety of purposes in the world of jewellery. The best way to research them and their uses is to develop your skills as a jewellery maker.
About the Author
Adam Hunter - E-commerce Marketing Manager of cooksongold.com. Cookson Precious Metals offer a choice of supplies from over 10,000 products including gold and silver wire, jewellery findings, tools, precious metal clay and precious metal sheet. For interviews, quotes, images or comments contact: Adam Hunter E-commerce Marketing Manager Tel(DDI): +44 (0) 121 212 6491 E-mail: adam.hunter@cooksongold.com
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