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Birthstones and Their Meanings

Birthstones

                    birthstones

January:  Garnet

The garnet is the first birthstone of the year, a vivid red semi-precious stone linked to people born in January.  The word garnet is derived from the Latin word for seed, “granatum”, because the gemstone is reminiscent of a red pomegranate seed.  The garnet has a lengthy history, often used as a talisman by tribes going into battle or individuals going on journeys, as a protective power from injury or illness.  It is also known as the “Gem of Faith” because of the belief that those who wear it, and do charitable acts, will reap the benefits of their good actions by receiving prosperity, happiness, friendship, peace, and good health.  On the other hand, those who wear garnet, and commit evil acts, will have bad fortune bestowed upon them.

 

February: Amethyst

The amethyst is the birthstone for those born in February and is usually known for having a purple color, though some amethyst stones are more pink, blue, or red depending on the cut of the stone. Amethyst is composed of a type of quartz that is often found in geodes between cooled lava. Quartz is very durable and sturdy, so it is a great gemstone for jewelry making.  Not only is amethyst physically strong but it is known to possess qualities that provide the wearer with mental strength and courage.  The stone is said to give clarity, calmness, and a sharp wit to those who wear it.  Ancient Greeks believed the gemstone protected from drunkenness also, so much so, that the word amethyst comes from the Greek word “amethystos” meaning sober.   

 

March: Aquamarine and Bloodstone (Heliotrope or Blood Jasper)

Those born in March have two birthstones associated with them, Aquamarine and Bloodstone, but Aquamarine is the most familiar.

Aquamarine comes in light blue-green hues, though some larger stones may have more concentrated, deeper tones to them. The commonly known light blue-green color is most reminiscent to that of the sea. Actually, the name aquamarine comes from the Latin words aqua and marina, “aqua” meaning water, and “marina” meaning the sea.  Considered sacred to Neptune, Roman God of the Sea, Roman sailors believed the stone to be sacred too, guaranteeing them a safe and prosperous journey.  Similarly, Greek sailors would carry talisman with Poseidon in his chariot, the Lord of the Sea, etched into the aquamarine gemstone, for protection during ocean voyages.  With such strong ties to the sea, it is no wonder that aquamarine evokes the feeling of tranquility and calm, like the ocean waves washing up on a sandy beach. That is why the gemstone is a great meditation aid, thought to heighten awareness and help with communication, with both your inner-self and others.    

Bloodstone, also known as blood jasper or heliotrope, is the second birthstone for March.  It is a dark green stone streaked with vibrant red spots of iron oxide that resembles splattered blood, hence the name bloodstone. Many early cultures prized bloodstone as being magical and healing, believing it to cure people with blood disorders or help wounded warriors on the battlefield.  Some also regard the gemstone as a martyr symbol, even giving it religious connotations, saying that the red spots on the stone represent Christ’s blood that fell from the cross onto the jasper stone below.

Though each birthstone for March may look strikingly different, they both signify the protection and improvement of the wearer’s health and well-being.           

           

April: Crystal and Diamond

Those born in April have the most sought-after and popular gemstone, the diamond. However, due to the diamond’s costly nature, rock crystal or crystal quartz has become a popular alternative, so both are considered April birthstones.

The diamond is the hardest mineral on earth, made up of tightly formed carbon crystals; it can only be cut with another diamond. Since diamonds made from the earth are said to be millions to billions of years old, the diamond has become a symbol of everlasting love, thus their use in engagement rings. Their beautiful, colorless, and clear sparkle is also why they are prized gifts to loved ones. They are said to bring happiness to relationships and success at work. They are also said to give the wearer inner strength and peace, protecting them from negative energies. 

Like diamonds, crystals are said to protect from negative energies too.  They are known as healing stones, aiding in both the wearers mental and physical well being. They are thought to increase energy, mood, and boost the immune system. Crystal quartz is quite plentiful, so jewelry designers find it a cost-effective and fun option for their jewelry pieces.

 

May: Emerald

The beautiful green of the emerald is what makes it the perfect birthstone for the spring month of May. It is also appropriate because the emerald is a symbol of rebirth, fertility, and new beginnings. It has long been cherished throughout history, admired by historical figures such as Aristotle, Cleopatra, and Catherine the Great. Aristotle claimed that owning an emerald could increase a person’s competence in business and grant legal victories. The emerald also signifies wisdom, some claim it can strengthen memory, even make one clairvoyant. The emerald also has a rich history in various cultures as a symbol of good luck and loyalty.    

 

June:  Pearl, Moonstone, and Alexandrite

Three birthstones are linked to the month of June, so those born in June get to choose between pearl, moonstone, and alexandrite. 

The pearl is a unique birthstone for the fact that it is the only one to come from a living creature. A natural pearl is produced when an oyster, mussel, or clam cannot rid itself of an irritant within its shell, so it deposits layers of a fluid coating called nacre over it as a defense mechanism.  As a result of this layering process, a shiny pearl is formed.  Pearls are known to have an iridescent sheen to them and are most known for having a creamy white color.  However, there are black pearls that come in shades of purple, blue, silver, and green.  Pearls can also be dyed in many colors too.  The pearl in many cultures is a symbol of purity, honesty, and innocence which why it is a traditional custom for brides to wear pearls on their wedding day.  Due to the rarity of natural pearls, they became extremely popular with nobility and royalty, making them a symbol of wealth.  But due to the development of cultured pearl farms, the pearl is now more accessible and affordable than ever for jewelry making.   

Moonstone complements its fellow June birthstone the pearl because it too has a lustrous gleam to it. Roman natural historian Pliny named it moonstone, noting that the gemstone appeared different with the phases of the moon. When moved, moonstone exhibits the optical phenomenon called adularescence, which emits a bluish or milky iridescence. This is due to the dispersion of light by the microscopic layers of feldspar, a rock-forming mineral, which moonstone is composed of.  Because of its enchanting look and name, moonstone is closely tied to the moon in many cultures.  It is said to help with insomnia, encourage positive dreams, and protect nighttime travelers. Moonstone is also thought to enhance fertility and breed passion in new or old love.   

The final birthstone for June is the rare and pricey alexandrite. It was only discovered in 1834 at a Russian emerald mine and was allegedly found on the birthday of the future Russian Czar Alexander II. The gemstone is unique due to the uncommon chemical makeup that gives it a color changing ability.  Alexandrite in the daylight is bluish green and under lamp light is purplish red.  Those who wear it are said to have heightened instincts and creativity.       

 

July: Ruby

The ruby, also dubbed the “King of Gems” is the July birthstone. The ruby is from the corundum mineral family, which includes sapphires, but the presence of the element chromium is what makes it red, therefore distinguishing it as a ruby.  Chromium is also what causes fluorescence in the ruby, making it seem like the gem is producing a red glow.  In earlier times, many thought an internal flame lit the ruby, so it became synonymous with love and passion. The ruby is also thought to bring the wearer protection, courage, vitality, and riches, which is why many warriors would adorn themselves with them during battles. 

 

August: Peridot, Sardonyx, and Spinel

August is another month represented by three birthstones, so those born in August can choose between Peridot, Sardonyx, or Spinel. 

Peridot is one of the few gemstones found in one color, lime green, but it can be in differing shades with more yellow or olive hints to it. Formed due to volcanic activity, peridot is also known as “the evening emerald” because it retains a beautiful light green glow at all times of the day. Peridot’s green truly stands out when paired with sterling silver findings in jewelry pieces.  Many believe this gem helps with depression and brings happiness and peace.  It is also said to protect the wearer from nightmares and ward off evil.   

Sardonyx is made up of two types of chalcedony, orange carnelian and onyx, when they layer together to form a reddish type stone with white stripes.  This gemstone is thought to make the wearer more articulate. During the Renaissance it was popular to see public orators wear them, to help them communicate clearly and be more persuasive.        

Spinal is the last gemstone for August and is often mistaken for rubies or sapphires because it can be found in red, blue, pink, and orange. Spinal is said to bring inspiration to the wearer and re-energize them.

 

September: Sapphire

Those with September birthdays usually think of their birthstone, the sapphire, in its signature blue color, but sapphires can come in all shades of the rainbow, with the exception of red, which is categorized as ruby.  Sapphires were fashionable with royalty and clergymen because they were thought to bring integrity, discipline, loyalty, and sincerity.  It is thought the blue color attracted heavenly guidance that would lead one onto a virtuous path. 

 

October: Opal and Tourmaline

Those with October birthdays are represented by two very distinct birthstones, Opal and Tourmaline. 

Opals are composed of tiny silica spheres that, when shined with light, produce a kaleidoscope of colors. Because the rainbow of colors can shift and change with the light, the opal was thought to possess the power of whatever gemstone its color was reflecting at the time.  This gave the opal the title “Queen of Gems” and made it a precious good luck charm.

Tourmaline is another gemstone that is found in a vast array of colors and like opal, can display more than one color at a time. Tourmaline can represent a strong relationship to nature and help protect one from pollutants and toxins. It is also said to protect against negativity and promote charity.  

 

November: Citrine and Topaz

The beautiful fall foliage complements the orange and yellow tones of November’s birthstones, Citrine and Topaz.

Citrine is named for lemon in French, due to its citrus coloring, which is caused by traces of iron in quartz crystal.  Known as the “merchant’s stone”, it is said to attract wealth and help maintain it.  It is also known to help comfort, calm, and soothe those who wear it.

Topaz can be found in many colors, but the amber tones are more associated with November. Many gemstones were previously thought to be topaz until modern science could correctly categorize them. Topaz is said to help rid people of nightmares and release anger.  Many also believe it bring wisdom that will lead to a longer life.    

 

December: Blue Topaz, Zircon, Turquoise, Tanzanite

Beautiful hues of blue make up December’s many birthstones, making them the perfect winter gemstones. Blue Topaz, Zircon, Turquoise, and Tanzanite were all dubbed December birthstones and are great, affordable gems for jewelry pieces. 

Blue Topaz can range from a light, almost clear blue to a bright, sky blue. It is part of the Topaz family so many of the topaz influences can be found within it.  It is said to help release the mind of stress and negative thoughts, even helping those with “writers block”, creativity, and public speaking.

Zircon, the oldest mineral on earth, plays an important part in understating how Earth came to be. Because zircon contains the radioactive element uranium, which changes the stone over time, scientists use it study how Earth was formed.  Zircon comes in many colors, but the most prized and used color in jewelry making is blue.  It is believed that zircon can raise confidence in the wearer and make them more empathetic.   

Turquoise is one of the first gemstones to be used in jewelry, used by Ancient Egyptians as early as 3000 BCE.  Turquoise is formed in arid areas when rainwater breaks-up copper in the soil and it combines with phosphorus and aluminum.  Some turquoise stones have dark webbing to them, which happens when the turquoise is formed on top of rocks.  The stone is thought to have protective powers; so many early warriors adorned themselves, their horses, and their weapons with it.  It is said that dreaming of turquoise means success and victory.

The last December birthstone and most recently discovered one is tanzanite.  Named for Tanzania, where it was unearthed, tanzanite can range from a pale blue to a dark blue. Due to it being only found in one small region of the world and it becoming so popular, tanzanite is becoming quite the rare gem.    

           

            Each birthstone has a rich history and story behind it to match its rich beauty.  AZ Findings has a variety of shapes and sizes of birthstones for you to choose from. Below is a list of the birthstones we offer.                                                              

February – Amethyst

March – Aquamarine

April – Crystal

May – Emerald

June – Moonstone

July – Ruby

August – Peridot

September – Blue Sapphire

October – Opal

November – Citrine

 December – Blue Topaz

How to test silver jewelry findings

 

There are a lot of articles talking about how to test silver. Many techniques are only suitable for silver bars and silver coins. Testing silver jewelry or findings is unique. It is worth another article to cover this specific topic and share our years of experiences in trading and testing silver jewelry and findings with you.

 

  •          Stamping and marks on jewelry findings

Almost everyone knows to look for a 925 mark on the surface of your jewelry or findings. However, this method becomes tricky when it comes to jewelry chains and findings. Please note “925” mark is not on all authentic sterling silver pieces. For example, jewelry making bulk chains that are sold by the foot do not have the 925 mark. It’s just impossible or too expensive to stamp on every single link of the chain. Some small jewelry findings are not marked 925 as well. For example, jump rings don’t have 925 marks for the same reason as jewelry footage chain. When you place an OEM order with manufacturers for small silver findings, you can choose whether or not to stamp. Having that said, if you bought some silver jewelry findings that have no mark at all, don’t panic. It doesn’t mean it’s not real silver. You may just need to do further testing if you want to find out.

 

Be aware of other marks besides 925.  For example, “925 FAS” mark could mean “Fused Alloy Silver”. That is not authentic sterling silver. Some other letter marks may be a brand name for your jewelry, don’t be confused. Ask your seller if you are not sure.  Tibetan silver is not 925 silver, it only contains 30% silver. However, do not confuse Tibetan silver with Thai silver. Thai silver is sterling silver or could contain even more than 92.5% silver. “ALPACA” mark is for Alpaca silver or Alpaca Mexico silver. It is not sterling silver either. The same can be said for German silver.

 

 

  •          Magnetic test on jewelry findings

This works for most silver jewelry findings. However, it has some limitations that you need to be aware of. Do not use this method for certain findings like clasps. In order to let clasps function, some non-silver parts are needed, like the spring, which cannot be made of pure silver. As a result, many clasps will react to a magnet. Just run magnetic testing on the part that should only contain silver. For example, chain links, jump rings, blanks, etc.

 

Certain rhodium plated findings may have a very weak magnetic reaction. Rhodium does not stick readily to silver. In order to stick them together, a thin layer of other metal will be used. That may cause weak magnetic reaction. Please be aware of this when you test your rhodium plated pieces.

 

  •          Oxidize test on jewelry findings

Put a droplet of bleach or oxidize solution on silver to test its authenticity. If it turns a dark color, then it is silver.  This method works well for silver jewelry or findings without any plating. However, many of today’s silver jewelry pieces have anti-tarnish plating or other kinds of plating on top of silver, so only applying the oxidizing test on the surface may not be enough. Don’t panic though if your silver item cannot be oxidized. Scratch the surface with filling at least half way down, and then do the oxidizing test on the exposed rough silver part. With the surface removed, you can then tell if your piece is solid silver or if it just has silver plating.  

 

  •          Acid test

You can purchase acid testing kits online around $10. It comes with acid solution and a testing stone. Follow the instruction that comes with the kit. Sterling silver should turn into dark red color. Brown is for 80-90% silver. Green is for 65-75%.

Same as in oxidize test, make sure remove the surface plating layer when doing the acid test.

 

 

  •          What tests do not work for jewelry findings?

There is mention to many other silver testing methods on the internet. For example, Ice Test, Sliding Test, Ring (sound) test, Density test. They are more suitable for testing bigger and heavier silver objects, such as silver bars and silver coins. They do not normally work well for small jewelry findings. 

 

What about sophisticated XRF and Electronic tests?

 

If you have a questionable silver piece that you don’t want to apply any intrusive testing, you can consider an XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence) test or Ultrasonic electronic test. However, as a jewelry trader for many years, I do not normally recommend this test for jewelry findings. Both electronic and XRF test will cost you money and are not 100% reliable when you don’t want to break the silver object apart. Check out this Youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89ATeNy3DIo) and see how a fake silver bar passed XRF test. Please note even the Ultrasonic machine used in that video can be fooled too. Most of the silver findings are not very expensive, it is better off to do an intrusive but cheap oxidize or acid test mentioned above.

 

 

As an importer and distributor, we routinely test our silver products. The same test techniques we use can also be used by most jewelry designers, sellers, or buyers. Out of all the testing methods we mentioned above, we recommend the oxidizing and acid tests.  Always purchase from companies with a good reputation too. AZ Findings only sources silver jewelry chains and findings from the best manufacturers in the Industry. We only find new manufactures from the best industry trade shows to ensure our product quality and give ourselves, and our customers, a peace of mind. I hope this article is helpful to you. Leave a comment if you have any questions or call us at 1-888-500-1586.  

International Gem & Jewelry Show

 Announcement 

AZ Findings is excited to announce it will be at the International Gem & Jewelry Show the weekend of May 18th-20th in Chantilly, Virginia. The International Gem & Jewelry Show is one of the largest and the longest running jewelry shows in America, so it is a great opportunity for our customers to see our products in person.  We are offering fliers that are good for a complimentary admission for two, so if you are interested in one, please contact us.  We only have so many so it is on a first-come-first-serve basis. More details about the show can be found on its website: www.InterGem.com.  We hope to see you there!

Sliding Beads

Sliding Beads

 

Sliding beads are the perfect finding for jewelry makers who want their pieces to be customizable and unique. This is due to the sliding beads inner silicone layer that has the ability to grip and clutch chain but allows for the bead to be repositioned easily.  The silicone provides the flexibility to change the length and style of a necklace or bracelet and can eliminate the need for a clasp. A designer does not need to be limited to using chain, as wire and leather work well with sliding beads also.  The bolo style bracelet and necklace are the perfect example of the sliding bead’s capabilities. 

Below are pictures demonstrating the bolo style with a sterling silver sliding bead:   

Sliding Bead on Bracelet
 This bracelet's fit can be adjusted with the double holed sterling silver slider bead.  

 

Sliding Bead down on necklace Sliding bead up on necklace Sliding bead chain up and down

The above pictures display how a sliding bead can be used to change the style and length of a necklace.  The sliding bead or chain getting repositioned results in 3 different looks.  

 

You can find our wholesale sterling silver sliding bead by following this link:  http://www.azfindings.com/sterling-silver-findingssliding-beads-with-silicone-double-hole-stopper-beads-1-piece

 

Magnetic Clasps for Jewelry Making

Magnetic Clasps

 

Clasps are an essential part of most jewelry making, not only for their design but more importantly for their functionality.  Some clasps are better suited than others for certain designs and use.  A popular clasp is the spring ring clasp because it blends easily in with most designs. It is strong yet delicate, so it can be used on heavy necklaces to lightweight bracelets, but a downside to that can be it is harder to manipulate and fasten for the user.  Another popular clasp is the lobster clasp, which resembles a lobster’s claw.  This clasp is self-closing in its design but it too can be cumbersome like the spring ring.

A great and more easy to use alternative to these popular clasps are magnetic clasps.  Magnetic clasps use attracting magnets to lock two ends of a piece of jewelry together.  Medium strength magnets are typically used to provide security when the piece is snapped together, but not too much force to make it impossible for the wearer to pull it apart. This is especially useful for bracelet wearers who have access to only one hand while putting a bracelet on.   Not only do everyday jewelry wearers benefit from the simplicity of a magnetic clasp but the elderly and people with limited dexterity do too. There are also some who believe magnets aid in arthritis and joint inflammation, so they wear magnetic jewelry for its therapeutic purpose.  Magnetic clasps have also become trendy in the athletic community as a safer option than the typical clasp.  If the jewelry piece were to become hooked or caught on something it could unclasp quickly without doing harm to the person wearing it, or the piece itself.

                                  

Sterling Silver magnetic clasp Sterling Silver Magnetic Clasp Ball Shaped Closed
sterling silver necklace with magnetic clasp sterling silver bracelet with magnetic clasp

Due to the above reasons, many jewelry supplies wholesalers have come to recognize the need to offer magnetic clasps in their jewelry findings. Sterling silver magnetic clasps are very fashionable today but more metal options, sizes, and styles are being introduced as designers incorporate them into more jewelry pieces. 

At AZ Findings we offer an attractive sterling silver magnetic clasp toggle.  It is ball-shaped with a smooth and shiny finish. You can find it at the following link: 

 Sterling Silver Smooth Ball Shaped Magnetic Clasp

http://www.azfindings.com/sterling-silver-smooth-shiny-ball-clasp-magnetic-clasp-toggle-set-8mm-sold-per-1-set

Basic Skills- Connector Charms

Basic Skills - Connector Charms

 

Connector charms and links are ver popular, versatile findings in jewelry making. They can be found in all sorts of shapes, sizes, embellishments and stone bezels. They are also very simple and easy to use so knowing these basic skills can enhance your ability to design and create beautiful jewelry.

Materials: Connector charm (SKU: 201271), 3.5mm 20 gauge jumprings, 4.5mm 20 gauge jumpring, 9mm lobster clasp, chain ( 101011)

Tools: Bent chain nose pliers (501006), wire chain cutters (501007)

Steps

Step 1: Open 3.5mm jumpring, loop through chain end and connector ring on charm. Grip jumpring with bent chain nose pliers and twist until closed. Ensure there is no gap where ring closes.

Step 2: Mesure chain to desired length. This chain was cut to 10.5" ( anklet), be sure to include additional findings being used such as clasp and jumprings.

Step 3: Cut the chain in half ( for a centered charm), or elsewhere depending on your design. 

Step 4: Connect the loose chain with the connector charm using 3.5mm 20 gauge ring.

Step 5: Add clasp to chain, open ring and loop onto chain end. Close ring.

Step 6: Add ending jumpring, 4.5mm 20 gauge ring to other the end of the chain. Open ring, loop through chain and close.

 

Thankyou
AZ Findings Team

 

Basic Skills -Tassel Pendants

How to make a Tassel Pendant

Materials: 26 gauge half hard round wire (207002), 2mm tiny cable chain (101020), bead cap ( 210005), bead (211015-4), 2 pearls, closed bail (219010)

All metal materials are made of 925 sterling silver

Tools: Bent chain nose pliers- 2 pairs, wire cutters, round nose pliers, measuring tool

The tassel pendant is a trendy new style that is so popular because of its variety and potential. The possibilities are endless with this style of pendant. This tutorial displays a basic tassel with a sterling silver bead, 2 freshwater pearls, and a bead cap. Using the skills and techniques found in this blog can be a base drawing board for you to develop your own designs using many different components from gemstone beads, bezel gemstones, charms, connector links and more components. 

Step 1: Cut wire - 2-4 inches - the larger the topper of the tassel or the larger the beads, cut more wire 

Step 2: Grip wire with round nose pliers about 3/4 inch from end, twist pliers creating a kink, about 80-degree angle, readjust pliers so close to the tip of the pliers sits at the kink

Step 3: Wrap wire around nose creating loop

Step 4: Feed closed bail through open end of loop so it sits inside of the loop

Step 5: Grip the loop with bent chain nose pliers, with 2nd set of bent chain nose pliers, grip the tail and begin wrapping around wire base creating 2-3 coils around, cut and secure tail end by squeezing closed.

Step 6: String beads onto wire- starting with silver bead ( it will cover coils if the hole is large enough, however, if it is a smaller bead or has a smaller hole the coil will show), Before the last pearl is strung, add the bead cap so it is curved downward and will cover the top of the last pearl. ( This step will differ due to design choices)

Step 7: Grip wire extending from the last bead about 2-3mm from the bead and twist pliers to create another kink, adjust pliers making this loop slightly larger than the first loop and bring wire around pliers. (This loop will hold the chain - if you plan on using many pieces of chain to dangle from the tassel than make sure the loop is large enough to hold the chain pieces. )

Step 8: Cutting the chain pieces - cut one piece to desired length ( 1.5"), then loop onto the tail of the wire and feed into the loop. Add another piece of chain and hold it up to measure and ensure they are the same length, cut the chain. Repeat until you have the desired amount of chain tassel dangling. The more you use the more thick and dense the dangle will be. You can pre-cut all the pieces and add them, however, because the chain links are so small you want to make sure there are the same amount of links on each piece or it can look messy, unless your design calls for different chain lengths which can add an interesting effect to the tassel.

Step 9: Once all chain pieces are all inside the loop, grip the loop with the bent chain nose pliers, avoiding squeezing hard on chain links as this will reduce their strength. With second set of pliers or fingers if there is enough wire to grab begin wrapping around creating a coil up to the bead, cut excess wire off and secure tail end by squeezing. 

Thank you

AZ Findings Team

Basic Skills: Beading Chain

How to use a Beading Chain

Materials: 1mm tiny curb chain (101001), tube ends ( 213001), clasp, beads

Tools: Bent chain nose pliers, chain cutters

Using a beading chain is at the very base of basic skills in jewelry making and beading. When doing projects and creating designs that use beading chains the main components to keep in mind is the findings, chains and beads using and ensuring the sizes all coordinate. When working with such small components even a fraction of a millimeter can make a difference in the whether or not the pieces are compatible. 

A beading chain is a chain that can fit through the hole of a bead. As both beads and chains come in many different shapes and sizes, this definition leaves a lot of room for variation between the chain and bead used. Typically man made beads have larger holes than natural stone beads. This is due to the fact that most natural beads are originally sold by weight, so when cutting a hole into the bead, the manufacturer wants to keep as much of the stone or pearl there as possible. 

This tutorial is a very basic demonstration on how to finish a beading chain.

Step 1: Cut chain to desired length

Step 2: Grip the center of the tube end with the bent chain nose pliers, feed chain into the tube and squeeze. Squeeze a couple times ensuring the tube end is closed onto the chain. Gently tug to ensure it is securely fastened. ( Note: do not grip the tube end too close to the ends, centralize the tip of the pliers)

Step 3: String beads onto chain

Step 4: Grip second tube end, feed chain into tube and squeeze. Gently tug to ensure it is securely fastened.

Step 5: Open ring on spring ring clasp by just twisting open, loop ring onto the closed ring of the tube end. Close ring on clasp by twisting closed. 

Thank you

AZ Findings Team

Basic Skills - Extender Chains

Adding an extender Chain

Material: 101014 2 inch extender ( 3x4 mm strong cable chain), 20 gauge 4mm jumpring, chain for anklet (101003), lobster clasp

Tools: Chain nose pliers, bent chain nose pliers

Adding an extender chain to a finished bracelet or necklace can make a big difference in the finished product. Some necklaces, for instance, are purchased with layering in mind so the wearer may want to change the length of the necklace while pairing it with different chains. Perhaps a necklace or bracelet just does not fit quite right or you are looking for a way to add a little something extra to the piece. Extender chains have multiple purposes and can enhance the allure of the piece. An extender chain should be wide enough for the clasp to grip onto it, but not too thick or heavy. Ideally a cable chain 3x4 or 4x4mm wide.

Step 1: Cut the extender chain to your desired length, approximately 1-2 inches. If you would like, you can add a tiny charm, bead or pearl to the end of the extender.

Step 2: Identify the end of the chain opposite the closing clasp. If is it an open jump ring, open it. If it is soldered close, add another jump ring.

Step 3:  Add the extender chain to the open ring, and close up the ring.

Now your chain can be close up to 1-2inch long than the primary length.

Basic Skills - Headpins

Headpins

Headpins are a component used in jewelry making most often when using beads to making earrings, adding wrapped beads to finished chains and making pendants. Headpins are found in different finished, lengths and gauges to suit your jewelry making needs. Headpins also come with a variety of different heads including ball end, flat end T, dome, open eye and more.

Note: If you are making earrings or matching pendants, create them step-by-step as you go to ensure they are matching.

Tools: chain nose pliers, round nose pliers, bent chain nose pliers, cutters

Materials: Assorted headpins- flat end T pins, open eye pins and ball pins, beads or pearls

How to wire wrap a bead with head pins

Step 1: Choos pin style, choose beads

*When choose finding compatible beads and pins be aware of the gauge thickness of the pin, and the hole size of the bead. Some beads have very fine holes and will not fit thicker gauge wires. Also note the tip of the pin, if the hole of the bead is larger eg. 2mm wide, a ball pin with a 1.5mm ball end will not be suitable for this bead, it will fall right over the tip. **See gauge conversion chart after 

**See gauge conversion chart after video.

Step 2: String bead or beads onto pin

Step 3: Using round nose pliers, grip wire about 2-3mm above top bead, slightly twist creating a kink creating about a 30-40 degree angle. 

Step 4: Readjust pliers to sit at tip of the twist

Step 5: Pull wire all the way around making a full loop with tail coming straight across where loop ends- use either thumb to push along round nose pliers or for thicker gauge wire use pliers

Step 6: Gently grip loop with pliers, do not squeeze too hard or you will mark the wire or distort the loop. 

Step 7: Grip tail with 2nd set of bent chain nose pliers and begin twisting, wrapping around the visible wire above the beads. Wrap as close to loop as possible and continue wrapping around keeping coils tight. Wrap all the way down to the top bead.

*NOTE: The space given above the last bead will determine how much wrapping you will need to do. The 2-3 recommended is about 2-3 coils depending on wire gauge. If you want more coil, leave more space and wrap all the way down to the top bead. This is based on your design alone, as long as there is one solid coil the beads will be secure.

Step 8: Once down to the top bead, you may have excess wire. If needed cut the tail with wire cutters.

Step 9: Tuck the tail in, gently push it inwards toward the coil. Careful not to scratch the surface of the beads, especially pearls.

Here you have a complete wire wrapped bead or beads on a head pin, creating a pendant, charm or dangle for earrings.

To make a set of earrings follow the next 3 steps.

Step 10: Choose earwire, if it has an opening, open the ring/tip ( our demo uses the simple ball fish hooks that twist open)

Step 11: Guide loop along earwire securing in position

Step12: Close up earwire ending

 

NOTE: If the earwire you are using has a closed ring to attach pendants and dangles then you can either use an open jumpring and attach the dangle or refer back to steps. Between step 6 and 7 you will have a loop and the tail sticking out. Here you can feed the tail leading to the loop through the closed ring of the eariwire. The earwire will then just dangle as you complete the steps. Then continue wrapping and the dangles loop is secure in the closed ring of the closed ring of the earwire.

Gauge to mm Conversion Chart (approx.)
0.3mm = 28 gauge
0.4mm = 26 gauge
0.5mm = 24 gauge
0.6mm = 22 gauge
0.7mm = 21 gauge
0.8mm = 20 gauge
0.9mm = 19 gauge
1.0mm = 18 gauge
 
With the open variety of headpins available there are limitless possibilities of what can be done with them. These steps outline the very basic of skills in using headpins. 
 
All materials in the video are sterling silver, gold plated sterling silver and oxidized sterling silver along with an assortment of pearls and beads. 

Thank you

AZ Findings Team