Blog posts of '2017' 'February'

Basic Skills - Pinch Bail Connector

How to use a Pinch Bail Connector

This video demonstrates basic skills to use a pinch bail connector. A pinch bail connector is a finding that allows you to create pendants with drilled stones.

Materials: Pinch bail connector, gemstone bead

Pinch Bails are great findings that allow you to transform gemstone beads into pendants ready for a necklace without much fuss. When choosing a bail connector the main aspect to keep in mind is the post size in comparison to the bead hole size. The pinch bail used in this demonstration would not be suitable for a small briolette gemstone, but rather a larger bead with a 1mm hole.

Steps to use a pinch bail connector

Step 1: Grip sides of connector that open, and gently pull. Sometimes pressure is needed, but keep in mind not to tug too hard or you could distort the shape if the finding

Step 2: Feed the prong through the bead hole

Step 3: Pinch the other prong through the opposite bead hole and close

The pendant is now complete, you can finish this piece off by gliding the top bail over a chain and you have a ready to wear necklace.

Thank you

AZ Findings Team

Basic Skills - Knotted Headpins

Knotted Head Pin

Making your own headpins is an essential skill in jewelry making, this tutorial will demonstrate how to make a headpin with a lovely knotted end and how to wire wrap a bead onto that pin.

Headpins are a component used in jewelry making most often when using beads and making earrings adding wrapped beads to finished chains. Headpins are found in different finished, lengths and gauges to suit your jewelry making needs. When making your own headpins you can custom create with a variety of lengths and gauge sizes.

One thing to keep in mind when you are creating your own head pins is the size of bead you will be using with the pin- mainly the hole size. If the hole size is quite small, ensure you use a thin gauge wire. If the hole is larger, make sure that the knot you make will be large enough to hold the bead on the pin.

Materials: sterling silver wire, bead

Tools: Round nose pliers, wire cutters, chain nose pliers

Steps in making a knotted end head pin

Step 1: Cut wire to desired length- 2 inches

Step 2: Using round nose pliers grip the tip of the wire ensuring it is not coming past the jaws of the pliers.

Step 3: Twist away from you, slightly loosening grip, readjusting pliers back, tighten at some point and twist away again. Continue until you have 2 full coils

Step 4: Grip wire at the base of the last coil made and twist wire 90 degrees upward

Step 5: Using fingers bend wire at halfway point

Step 6: Feed end through the coils made, until a little tail is through

Step 7: Grip tail with chain nose pliers, while gripping the knot with your fingers pull the tail end fully through the coils

Step 8: If needed, tighten up and secure the knot

Step 9: Straighten out wire

Here is your knotted head pin!

Continue with the following steps for a wire wrapped bead in the pin

Step 10: String bead or beads onto pin

Step 11: 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 12: Readjust pliers to sit at tip of the twist

Step 13: 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 14: Gently grip loop with pliers, do not squeeze too hard or you will mark the wire or distort the loop.

Step 15: 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 16: Once down to the top bead, you may have the excess wire. If needed cut the tail with wire cutters.

Step 17: Tuck the tail in, gently push it inwards toward the coil. Careful not to scratch the surface of the beads, especially pearls.Thank you

AZ Findings Team

Basic Skills Tutorial- Gemstone Bead Bar

Wire wrapped gemstone bar

Material: beads, 2 inches 26 gauge wire, chain

Tools: round nose pliers, bent chain nose pliers, chain nose pliers, measuring tool

The gemstone bar is a trending style that is versatile and just a slight adaptation from basic wire wrapping. You can use any type of fully drilled beads to create the gem bar and combined with other techniques, you can create unique jewelry with securely fastened gemstones. Using basic wire wrapping technique, the gem bar is a simple and elegant way to display those gorgeous gemstones we love so much.

This demonstration will show a 1 inch gemstone bar, however you can make your bar as long or as short as you like simply by adding beads or taking away beads and shortening length of wire.

Step 1: Use chain nose pliers and bend the wire at with a 3/4 inch tail, creating a 90-degree angle

Step 2: Use the round nose pliers and create a loop bringing the tail around the plier tip

Step 3: String the chain through the tail, letting it fall into the loop.

Step 4: Grip the loop with the chain nose pliers, and with the bent chain nose pliers, begin to wind the tail around the base of the loop, making 2-3 coils

Step 5: Secure the end of the tail tightly to the coil

Step 6: Cut the wire leave 1.5 inches for the gem bar and you final loop

Step 7: String your beads onto the wire making a 1 inch bar

Step 8: Grip the tail with the chain nose pliers leaving 3mm beside the last bead

Step 9: With the chain nose pliers, make another 90 degree bend

Step 9: Use the round nose pliers and grip the bend at its angle, take the tail and wrap over the plier tip creating a loop ( make sure you loop in the same area as the first loop to ensure the same size loop)

Step 10: Coil the wire around tightening the beads

Thank you

AZ Findings Team

Basic Skills - Jumprings

Open/Close Jumprings

Material: jump rings, assorted

Tools: bent chain nose pliers

Jump rings are an essential component in jewelry making. Found in many gauges, sizes, shapes and materials to be compatible with your jewelry making project. Typically jump rings are used for basic purposes such as attaching a charm to a necklace or used in close a chain by attaching to a clasp.

Using jump rings in jewelry making is vital, and being able to master the technique can make your process go quite smoothly. The tools you use can greatly impact the outcome of your product, however, you need to use tools you are comfortable with. One option would be using two pairs of bent chain nose pliers: using these you need to be careful not to bend the ring out of its round shape, or it will not lay flat. To avoid this issue, if you use chain nose pliers you can securely hold more of the ring and avoid bending the ring in the wrong place.

When you purchase jump rings you will find they are not quite open and not quite closed, so you will need to adjust them.

To Open

Step 1: Open the ring by placing the tip of your pliers about 2mm away from the opening.

Step 2: You will hold the left side of the ring firmly, then twist the right side about 3-4mm or wider if you need to loop the ring through a larger component.

NOTE: At this time you would loop the ring through a chain, charm or pendant before closing.

To Close

Step 1: Grip the tip of your pliers about 2mm away from the opening, firmly grasping the side of the ring, without marking it.

Step 2: Begin to twist the ring while slightly adding pressure and pushing each end together. Once the ends meet up and there is no visible gap, the ring is closed.

The only way to ensure the ring does not open is to solder it closed, however, this is not a viable option for many jewelry makers. Using smaller size rings such as 3.5-4.5mm in diameter and thicker wire such as 18, 19 or 20 gauge will hold together stronger and more securely than the larger thinner wire rings.

When buying jump rings there are different things to look out for. The sizes range in two different aspects: the diameter and the thickness of the ring. The diameter is how large the ring is around. Ensure you read how the diameter is measured, whether it is inner diameter or outer diameter. Inner diameter would measure the inside of the ring from edge and outer diameter measure the entire ring including that includes the thickness of the gauge. The thickness is known as gauge and below is chart that converts Standard wire gauge to inches and millimeters.*See below video

















































Thank you

AZ Findings Team

Basic Skills -Simple Wire Loop

Simple Loop

Material: Bead, 26 gauge wire- half hard

Tools: Chain nose pliers, round nose pliers, cutters

Wire wrapping beads and pearls is a technique every jewelry maker should now. The ability to wire wrap a bead infuses your skillset in such a versatile way. Simply learning a basic wire wrap will allow you to create bracelets, necklaces, earrings, charms, pendants and more. When wire wrapping there are a few different supplies choices to consider. Begin with the bead you are using: is it drilled? How is it drilled? What gauge wire will fit through the drilled hole?

This will demonstrate a basic loop wiring for a bead. The basic loop is a quick and secure way to ensure the bead stays in position, while it does not have too much wrapping. This technique is used in many aspects of jewelry making embellishing earrings, creating pendants, rosary making, adding to a chain and much more.

Steps in a simple wire loop

Step 1: Cut wire, approximately 1.5", depending on bead size. You will need about 3/4 inch space for each loop and then add the bead size.

Step 2: Grip wire with round nose pliers. Ensure wire does not come above jaws as this will distort the loop shape.

Step 3: Twist the wire away from you, using your thumb to press the wire down to the plier jaws. Once twist is complete, slightly loosen and readjust to pliers to perform second twist ( ensure to use the same point on the pliers, if you move up or down it will change the size of the loop). Continue to turn until you hit the wire creating a full loop.

Step 4: Grip inside of loop with round nose pliers, and twist ( away from opening)

NOTE: If using a thick gauge wire like 22 gauge 20 gauge or thicker, use chain nose pliers for your bend because they are stronger and you may have trouble with the round nose.

Step 5: To close loop completely you simply wiggle closed using chain nose pliers

Step 6: String bead onto wire

Step 7: Cut excess wire, leaving 3/4 inch tail to create loop

Step 8: Grip end of wire with round nose pliers and repeat step 3.

Step 9: Grip loop inside with round nose pliers and twist back to round out loop. This will open up the loop.

Step 10: Grip the wire end and twist inward again connecting the tip to the base of the loop

Step 11: If looping the bead onto a chain or another piece of wire loop through the open tail

Step 12: Close loop with chain nose pliers simply wiggle it as close to base as possible

If loops are not in the right position ie. perpendicular - depending on your design then grip each loop and twist into desired position.


  • If needed mark a spot on you round nose pliers to remember where to bend and make the same size loops.
  • The larger the loop you want, the higher along the round nose pliers you will grip
  • Lastly - practice makes perfect - do not expect to have a perfect loop on your first try. Keep at it and you will get a groove going!

Thank you

AZ Findings Team