Make It or Buy It? When, Why and How to Make Your Own Jewelry Findings

Findings can make all the difference in a piece of jewelry. A special clasp can turn a simple strand of beads into a statement, and a single bead can become a stunning earring when hanging from a special earwire. I’m always looking for unique designs for handmade findings, and Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson’s new book Handcrafted Metal Findings: 30 Creative Jewelry Components is packed full of them! Here’s a peek inside from the authors.

Introduction to Handcrafted Metal Findings: What to Make, What to Buy
By Denise Peck and Jane Dickerson

There probably isn’t a piece of jewelry you wear that doesn’t have a finding on it. Findings are the unsung heroes of jewelry. They connect, attach, close, and join jewelry pieces together. You may think of findings as just clasps and ear wires, but the term also covers head pins, charms, connectors, links, bead caps, and more.

handcrafted-findings

If you’re a jewelry maker, you know there’s an enormous selection of commercial findings available to finish your designs. But why design a beautiful custom piece and then finish it with a commercial finding? Especially when commercial findings become so popular that you see them everywhere and on everyone else’s jewelry. When you make your own jewelry findings, your designs are completely unique, and your distinctive style becomes a trademark look that is quickly recognizable by your fans. Not only will your handcrafted findings complement and complete your designs, they are also much more economical!

BubbleWand-headpin-earrings-DenisePeck
Bubble Wand head pin and earrings by Denise Peck

This book teaches you, step by step, how to make thirty beautiful, handcrafted metal and wire jewelry findings. Projects include bead caps, clasps, ear wires, links, charms, and even a quick and easy multistrand spacer bar. We’ve also included several inspirational jewelry pieces to show how the findings can be used. Imagine the possibilities!

To Buy or Not To Buy

Findings can be large, small, decorative, or utilitarian, but they are always integral to a piece of jewelry. Either you want them to be part of the design or you want them to go unnoticed, but in every case, it’s a decision that will be key to your final design.

TectonicToggle-CassieDonlen
Tectonic Toggle and bracelet by Cassie Donlen

Many of us often rely on commercially produced findings. And some of them have their place and can be a good choice. But there are many ways to create your own simple custom findings from wire and sheet metal without an elaborate jewelry studio setup or a huge investment. Well designed, handcrafted findings can become your signature as a designer, complementing and enhancing each piece. A fabulous finding can transform jewelry and become the focal point of the design.

Loophole-bead-cap-earrings-KerryBogert
Loophole bead caps and earrings by Kerry Bogert

There are three basic types of findings: functional, decorative, and hybrid.

  • Functional jewelry findings serve a purpose such as attaching pieces together. Because these components are mechanical in nature their appearance is less critical, and often minimalistic. They include pin backs, crimps, earring clips and posts, and screw backs.
  • Decorative jewelry findings are often handmade and are intended to add beauty to the piece. These include charms, bead caps, head pins, and ear wires.
  • Hybrid jewelry findings blend both function and design: beautiful clasps, decorative bails, end caps, as well as textured links and connectors. These components serve a mechanical function as well as contribute to the overall design of the piece.
buy-these-findings

Although, with the help of this book, you’re going to learn how to make your own decorative and hybrid jewelry findings, we recognize that there will always be some commercial findings that have a role in jewelry making. Some mechanisms are far too complex to make yourself, such as lever-back ear wires. Or you may want a decorative clasp that is meticulously inlaid with stone. Other findings may be tiny or hidden, such as crimps, and there’s no point in laboring over those.

 

BUY IT!
Here’s a list of commercially produced findings you may find worth purchasing (shown in the photo above):

  • Pin backs
  • Crimps
  • Clamshell bead tips
  • Crimp bead tips
  • Lever-back ear wires
  • Screw-back ear wires
  • Crimp covers
MAKE IT!
On the other hand, you can spend lots of money on simple findings that are a cinch to create. It’s well worth setting aside a little time for some easy production work of some findings so that you always have them on hand.

  • Jump rings
  • Head pins
  • Hook clasps
  • Ear wires                                           .

–DP & JD

There are 30 how-to tutorials for making those head pins, hook clasps, and ear wires, as well as bead caps, versatile connectors, and more, in Denise and Jane’s book Handcrafted Metal Findings. Learn to make your own jewelry findings with tutorials from the authors as well as other jewelry-making artists like Kerry Bogert, Cassie Donlen, Cindy Wimmer, and Keirsten Giles–then see some of them in action in completed jewelry designs. That’s a lot of instruction and inspiration from six of the jewelry industry’s best in one book, so don’t miss out! Order or download Handcrafted Metal Findings!

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