AB (Aurora Borealis) [uh-rawr-uh|bawr-ee-al-is]
AB, or Aurora Borealis, is a bead treatment inspired by Northern Lights. It is a coating (usually on one side) applied to glass beads that creates a rainbow or iridescent effect. The effect was invented in 1955 by Swarovski in partnership with Christian Dior.
Agate is a banded stone that has many uses. It comes in nearly all colors, and is often dyed for a more consistent and vibrant color. Its use in jewelry can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians who used it as a gemstone, and is the stone traditionally used to carve cameos with.
Amethyst is the purple form of quartz and is relatively common. It ranges in color from a pale, milky lavender to a deep, reddish purple. Its name is derived from Greek and means "not drunken." The ancient Greeks believed that amethyst protected the wearer from the effects of alcohol.
Aragonite is polymorphed calcite. Its color ranges from yellow to green to red.
Aventurine is a form of quartz that comes in a variety of colors: from green to orange to gray. The orange is caused by hematite or goethite (both forms of iron oxide).
A bail is a component that connects a pendant to a necklace. It is usually triangular in shape, but can come in other shapes like ovals as well.
Barrel clasp [bayr-el|klasp]
Barrel clasps are named so because of their resemblance to a barrel. This clasp comes in two pieces that screw together to form the barrel shape.
Base Metal [bays|met-l]
Base metal is metal that oxidizes easily when exposed to air or moisture. These metals are more common than precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum, and thus are more widely used when making jewelry supplies. Base metal gets its name because it is often the type of material which precious metal is bonded to. Base metals include aluminum, brass, copper and nickel.
Bead caps [beed|kaps]
The bead cap is used to "dress up" a bead, crystal, stone, or other type of bead. It adds a touch of elegance to your bead. It can also be used to cover imperfections, such as chips and scratches, near the hole of the bead.
Bead tips [beed|Tips]
Bead tips are made for finishing necklaces that are made with thread or cord. To use them, bring your thread up through the hole, into the clamshell part. Tie a knot to keep the beadtip tight against your last bead. Add a drop of glue and pinch the clamshell closed. Add your clasp to the metal loop and close the loop. Bead tips can also be used with organza ribbon, providing the hole is large enough, and jewelry wire. When using a bead tip with jewelry wire, use a small crimp to hole the jewelry wire securely in the clamshell.
Beading awl [beed-ing|awl]
A beading awl has several uses. It is primarily used in knotting. Instead of using tweezers, the silk is knotted around the awl's tip which is held against a surface to prevent the knot from slipping off. The end of the silk is pulled until the knot is next to the bead, and the knot is slipped of the awl and tightened. It is also a very useful tool in undoing unwanted knots. A beading awl can also be used like a bead reamer to clear the hole of a bead, to roughen the bead hole prior to the application of glue or to punch holes in materials like leather and paper.
The bicone shape looks like two cones attached at the base. For example, Swarovski's style 5301 is a bicone. It is also sometimes called a diamond shape.
Borosilicate Glass [bawr-uh-Sil-i-kit|Glass]
Borosilicate Glass is a type of glass material composed of at least five percent boric oxide. This oxide allows the glass to resist extreme temperatures, ideal in lampworking. Borosilicate glass can handle both very hot and very cold temperatures, and will crack or snap, rather than shatter, if broken.
Chain nose pliers [cheyn|Nohz|plahy-ers]
A basic tool for wire and wire working, chain nose pliers have tapered tips, smooth jaws and slightly rounded edges allow you to crimp, shape, and bend. If your pliers were lying on a table, both the side-view and top-view of the tips look like triangles.
Chandelier forms [shan-dl-eer|fawrms]
Chandelier forms are components made from wire in a multitude of shapes. They have at least one jump ring soldered on the top to attach to an earring component, and multiple jump rings soldered on to the bottom from which dangles can be attached to make a chandelier earring.
A clasp is a fastener that attaches two things, like the ends of a necklace, together. They come in many shapes and styles. Some, like lobster clasps, have moving parts that open and close. Others, like hook and eye clasps, are solid and hook together. Some of the more popular clasps today are toggle clasps, trigger and lobster clasps, spring rings and hook and eye clasps.
Closed jump ring [khlozd|juhmp|ring]
Closed jump rings are jump rings that have been soldered closed. By themselves, they lack the ability to attach to anything else. Because they do not open, they are especially useful on the end of a necklace for the clasp to hook on.
From the base word "compose", components include all items that compose, or make up, an item.
Cone beads are beads shaped like a cone. They are often used with single beads (for earring) or for finishing multistrand jewelry.
A connector, like a clasp, is a component that connects or helps to connect two ends of stringing material.
Crimp endcap with ring [krimp|end|kap]
A crimp endcap with ring is a crimp tube or bead with an attached jump ring.
Crimp tube or bead [krimp|toob|beed]
A crimp tube (or bead) is a malleable tube that you squeeze shut with a Crimper Tool. Crimps are generally used to finish off the end of your wire or stringing material.
Crimper tool [krimp-er|tool]
The crimper tool crimps, or squeezes, crimp beads, securing them to the stringing material. This tool also give the crimp beads a nicer finish than crimps that have been flattened with other tools.
Crystal is made by adding lead oxide to glass. The lead in crystal is what makes it sparkle and reflect colors more than plain glass. It also makes crystal heavier than glass. The higher the lead content, the better quality the crystal. In Europe, glass must contain at least 4% lead to be called crystal and in the US, glass must have at least 1% lead content. Swarovski crystal has at least 32% lead content.
The word "dichroic" literally means two-colored. Dichroic glass exhibits several colors depending on the angle at which you view it. It is made by vaporizing certain metals and depositing them in a thin layer on sheets of glass. The glass is then formed into different shapes. This process results in gorgeous beads that reflect an ever-changing rainbow of colors.
A disc is a cross section of a cylinder. For our Swarovski products, a disc is like a "squished" bicone with a "disc" between the two cones.
Druks are round pressed glass beads made in the Czech Republic. These smooth glass beads come in many fantastic colors and can be transparent, opaque, or a mixture, like in tortoise or tiger eye. They are also available in special finishes, like AB (Aurora Borealis).
Earring backs [eer-ring|baks]
Earring backs attach to your earring behind the ear to prevent your earrings from falling out.
Earring components [eer-ring|kuhm-poh-nuhnt]
Earring components are findings used for earrings.
Earring hoops [eer-ring|hoops]
Hoops are a loop of wire that you can either wear plain or with dangles.
Enamel is a protective or decorative coating made of silica (glass) heated and fused to a metallic base. The earliest known example of enameling is from Cyprus and dates to around 13 BC. Modern-day enamel comes in many colors and is used on many types of jewelry components including beads, charms and pendants.
An extender is a chain with large links used to make a necklace or bracelet length adjustable. It is usually used opposite a hook, trigger or lobster clasp. Depending on the length desired, the clasp is hooked into a different link. Extenders are usually 1 1/2-inches to 2 1/2-inches long.
Eyepins are used to make your own unique connectors. To use them, place a bead on it and use round nose pliers to turn a loop.
A facet is a smooth surface on an otherwise curved surface. For example, a pyramid could also be described as a cone with four facets.
Fire-polished bead [fahyr|pol-isht|beed]
Fire-polished beads start out as regular glass beads. They are then machine faceted, which leaves sharp facet edges. To smooth them out, they are heated in a kiln or oven until the edges soften. The result is a beautiful, faceted, crystal-like bead. Our fire-polished beads are all made in the Czech republic, which is the most reputable source for glass beads.
Flat nose pliers [flat|nohz|play-erz]
Flat nose pliers are designed for making sharp bends or right angles in wire. If your pliers were lying on a table, from the side-view, the tips look rectangular, while from the top, they look like two triangles.
Floating clasp [floh-ting|klasp]
Floating clasps are trigger clasps that are generally meant to be worn in front, thus showing off the clasp.
The gauge of something is the measurement of its thickness. The higher the gauge number, the thinner the material. For example, a 20 gauge wire is thinner than a 15 gauge. An 18 gauge metal sheet is thicker than a 24 gauge metal sheet. Check out our gauge chart for more samples.
German Silver [jur-muhn|sil-ver]
German silver is a sturdy material that can withstand the pressure of metal stamping. It is an alloy made up of 60 percent copper, 20 percent nickel and 20 percent zinc; it is actually not silver at all, thus it presents more of a grey tone than a brilliant silver shine.
Gold-filled jewelry is made from components that have a layer of gold that is mechanically bonded with heat and pressure to another material, usually a base metal which is most commonly brass. Gold-filled products are resistant to tarnishing because the outside layer is actually gold and is thick enough to prevent oxidation of the inner material. The gold content must be at least 1/20th of the total weight, where the gold itself is no less than 10 karat in purity. Under FTC regulations, the purity (karat) of the gold content must be part of the marking or designation. As an example, a piece of gold-filled jewelry made with 14 karat gold filled could be stamped 14/20 GF.
Gold-filled wire [gohld|filld|wahyr]
Gold-filled wire is made by having a layer of gold that is mechanically bonded with heat and pressure to another material, usually a base metal which is most commonly brass, which is then drawn through a series of tools and dies, until the final desired diameter of the wire is attained. Gold-filled wire is resistant to tarnishing because the outside layer is actually gold and is thick enough to prevent oxidation of the inner material. The gold content must be at least 1/20th of the total weight, where the gold itself is no less than 10 karat in purity.
Gold-plated products have a very thin layer (seven-millionths of an inch) of gold. What this means for you as a beader is that gold-plated items, while cheaper than gold-filled, will not last as long. Eventually the thin gold layer will rub off.
Hardness is the property in metal that resists bending. Soft metals are pliable and easy to bend. Hard metals are stiff and hard to bend. The hardness of metals can be changed by heat treating the metal in a process called annealing or by simply hammering the wire in a process called work hardening. Typically, jewelry wire is measured as either Full Hard (very stiff), Half Hard (stiffer than dead soft but more pliable than hard) or Dead Soft (very fine and pliable). Use a hard wire for making jewelry that will go through a lot of wear but won't shape easily. Use half-hard wire when making sharp angles or for wire wrapping. Use dead soft wire for making spiral shapes and circles.
Headpins are used to create dangles for your jewelry. Place your beads on the headpin, and then use round nose pliers to form a loop, either plain or wrapped, that will attach to the rest of your piece. You can use headpins to make multiple dangles on a fancy necklace, or to make quick and easy drop earrings.
Hematite [hee-muh-tahyt OR hem-uh-tahyt]
Hematite is a black or dark grey stone that has a silvery metallic sheen to it. Natural hematite is a form of iron oxide that fractures easily and is quite difficult to form into beads, cabochons, or any other shape. Because of this, almost all "hematite" jewelry components on the market are a actually man-made material known as hematine. The main difference between hematite and hematine: hematine is strongly magnetic, whereas hematite is not.
Jewelry wire [joo-uhl-ree|wahyr]
Jewelry wire is a type of stringing material composed of multiple strands of steel wound together and then coated with nylon. It is sometimes referred to as tiger tail. Some of the more popular brands are Soft Flex, Beadalon and Griffin.
Jump rings [juhmp|rings]
Jump rings are (usually) small circles of wire, used for connecting various components together.
Lampwork bead [lamp-wurk|beed]
Lampwork beads are glass beads that are formed by winding molten glass around a mandrel, which is usually a stainless steel rod of varying diameters. Many lampwork beads are decorated with dots, spirals, and other designs of glass.
Links in a way are un-detachable clasps. They can be used to link two pieces of stringing material together, or can be attached to each other to form a chain.
Liquid silver beads [lik-wid|sil-ver|beeds]
Also known as "Heishi", liquid silver are 1/8" thin tubes of sterling silver.
Lobster clasp [lob-ster|klasp]
Lobster clasps are named so because of their resemblance to a lobster claw. This is a type of Trigger Clasp in that the lobster clasp utilizes a lever and spring to open and close the arm of the clasp.
Locking clasp [lok-king|klasp]
Much like the snap clasp, the locking clasp also utilizes a second-class double-lever (like a nutcracker) to lock and unlock. The main difference between the locking clasp and the snap clasp (other than the locking clasp's general higher quality) is a bar that will hook onto the lever should it accidentally come undone. Even with this bar, the lever part can be removed from the main clasp part.
Memory wire [mem-uh-ree|wahyr]
Memory wire is a hard wire that "remembers" the shape that you manipulate it in.
Multihole spacers [muhl-tuh-hohl|speys-ur]
Multihole spacers are spacers designed for multi-strand jewelry. Not only do they separate beads, they also help to ensure a uniform distance between your multiple strands.
Nipper tool [nip-er|tool]
The nipper tool is designed for cutting soft wires and cords without fraying, leaving a clean edge. This tool is NOT recommended for hard wires.
Open jump ring [oh-puhn|juhmp|ring]
Open jump rings are jump rings that are not soldered shut. They can be opened or closed using pliers.
Organza ribbon [awr-gan-zuh|rib-uhn]
Organza ribbon is a polyester/nylon blend ribbon perfect for feminine looking jewelry.
Patina Copper Sheets [puh-tee-nuh|kop-er|sheet]
The patination process for copper is a natural progression over time. As copper ages it grows a colored layer to protect it from corrosion called patina. This layer is caused from oxidization and is often blue or green naturally, known as acquired patina. With the help of science, however, manufacturers looking to replicate the process for aesthetic reasons use chemicals to manipulate the colors and produce everything from red to black. This is called applied patina or distressing.
Post earrings [pohst|eer-ring]
Post earrings are earrings that have a straight post at the back that goes through the ear. Earring backs are required to keep this type of earring from falling out.
When the stone cutters are forming various shapes and sizes of beads they tend to have a lot of unusable leftover pieces. They take those pieces and grind them up into a powder. This they then mix with a resin compound, and use that mixture to press form new beads. So the beads do contain real stone but they are not pure stone.
Red poppy jasper [red|pop-ee|jas-per]
Jasper is a form of quartz that ranges in color from red to yellow to brown. Poppy jasper indicates a marbled texture, including reds, whites, and blacks.
Round nose pliers [round|nohz|play-erz]
Round nose pliers have round tips and are designed for rounding ends as well as forming loops and curves. If your pliers were lying on a table, both the side-view and the top-view of the tips look like cones.
Roundels are round in shape. Our roundels come either as a thick disc or a "squished" bicone.
Much like gold-filled, silver-filled is sterling silver that is mechanically bonded to a base metal like brass or copper. This is a physical bonding, rather than an electroplating bond which is much weaker. In order for a product to be considered silver-filled, it must have at least 1/20 of its weight in silver. This equals out to 5% silver. So, when you read that a material is .925/20 or 925/20, this means the material meets the minimum standards for being silver-filled by containing 5% silver. Our line of silver-filled wire is 925/10, meaning ours contains 10% sterling silver or double the amount of many other silver-filled wires.
Silver-plated jewelry is created when a base metal goes through a series of processes and is dipped into a bath of electroplating solution which contains silver. When an electric current is applied, an electrochemical reaction occurs and a thin layer of silver is deposited onto the metal. This layer is much thinner than the coating of silver that covers silver-filled jewelry, which goes through a process of mechanically bonding and heating the silver to the base metal.
Sky blue quartz [skahy|bloo|kwarts]
Most quartz you find today is synthetic. Sky blue quartz is a blue shade of quartz that can look somewhat milky.
A slider is a bead that will allow "sliding" back and forth along the stringing material.
Snap clasp [snap|klasp]
Snap clasps are clasps that lock together. They employ a second-class double-lever (like a nutcracker) to lock and unlock. Snap clasps are generally of lesser quality than the similar locking clasp.
Snowflake obsidian [snoh-fleyk|uhb-sid-ee-uhn]
Obsidian is naturally occurring glass produced by a volcano, and is naturally black due to its iron and magnesium content. The white spots that make the obsidian "snowflake obsidian" are caused by clustered crystals of cristobalite, a morphed form of quartz cause by the high temperature of a volcano.
Sodalite is a naturally occurring mineral that is blue in color, with grey and white marbled through it. It is one of the components in lapis lazuli and often used as a less costly substitute for lapis.
Spacer bar [speys-ur|bahr]
A spacer bar is designed to keep the strands in multiple-strand jewelry separated.
Spacers are used to separate the beads you want to stand out on your jewelry. While any bead can be used as a spacer, spacers are generally not eye-catchers or serve to emphasize your favorite beads.
Split ring [split|ring]
A split ring is like a key ring. It's a wire that's coiled in a circle forming two layers. To open a split ring, use split ring pliers as they are designed to let you bead with split rings with ease.
Spring ring [spring|ring]
The spring ring has two non-detachable components: a hollow circle tube with a gap, and a smaller circular ring that fits inside the hollow tube. A spring and tab allow you to open and close the gap in the clasp.
Stations are multiple closed jump rings soldered together in a pattern such as a "T", "V", or line.
Sterling silver [stur-ling|sil-ver]
Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% metal alloys (usually copper).
STG is an abbreviation that stands for sterling silver. Other abbreviation commonly used are SS and .925.
A tag is the receiving end of a clasp.
A teardrop is a tear-shaped object. Imagine taking an elastic band and setting it on a flat surface in the shape of a circle. Hold down two opposite points and pull a third point (halfway between your first two points) and drag it away from the circle. Your elastic will now be in a teardrop shape.
Toggle clasp [tog-uhl|klasp]
The toggle clasp has two components: a bar and a loop, with the bar being longer than the loop's diameter. The bar is slid through the loop (like threading a needle) and allowed to rest on the plane of the loop, thus preventing this clasp from coming apart when a pulling pressure is applied.
Trigger clasp [trig-er]
The trigger clasp utilizes a lever and spring to open and close the arm of the clasp. Trigger clasps can come in various shapes such as an oval or heart.
Tube Clasp [toob|klasp]
A tube clasp is a clasp that looks like a tube. They detach by pulling on the ends of the tube. Our tube clasps allow for clasping 2, 3, 4, 5, or even 6 strings!
Vermeil (pronounced ver-may) is a process that combines precious metals to produce semi-fine quality jewelry. The inside core is sterling silver, the outside is a thin coating of 14 karat gold. This combination produces jewelry that looks and feels like pure gold.
White howlite [wahyt|houl-ahyt]
Howlite is a naturally occurring white mineral with streaks that range from grey to black.
Wire rounder [wahyr|rownd-er]
A wire rounder, like the round nose pliers, is designed for rounding ends.