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Heavy beads!

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  • Heavy beads!

    I am a silversmith and I started to bead when I began setting pieces of fused gass in silver. I wanted to complement some of these with a necklace of semi precious beads. I have been using tiger tail and last year I made the neclace and pendant you can see in my avatar. I have been wearing it about twice a week since then -9months- and today it broke.

    The pendant is heavy and my question is, what should I be using to take the weight of the beads and pendants. The tiger tail I have does not have a gauge marked on it but it is 0.3mm thick. Do I need to double it up? Any advice will be much appreciated as the thought of one of these glass pendants falling off outdoors (Crash!) is not pleasant.

    Thanks in advance for the advice. Ruth

  • #2

    Hi Ruth,
    If you want to use the stongest beading wire it is Beadalon 49 strand professional wire. I only use this wire for my website jewellery, it is rather expensive, but it drapes beautifully, it comes in different guages for differing bead hole sizes.
    Chris W.
    Gemstone Jewellery and Gifts


    • #3
      I have to agree, Beadalon is about the best stuff for a heavy necklace, I use it for swaro crystal pearls.


      • #4
        Thanks for the answers. So is beadalon stronger than tiger tail? I thought they were both made of twisted steel strands. (I am just trying to understand this!)

        I have bought a product called Soft Touch which I have not yet used , is this the same as Beadalon? I am guessing that when two products of the same diameter have a different number of strands, the one with more strands will be the stronger. Is this right.

        I really appreciate the help here. Thank you again, Ruth.


        • #5
          You need to look at this from two directions:

          First the diameter of the wire you need e.g 0.012", 0.015", 0.018", which gives you it's thickness

          Secondly the number of twisted steel strands within the wire e.g
          7 strands, 19 strands, 49 strands

          More strands = greater strength and better drape (and higher price)

          Beadalon and Softflex are both brands making the same type of thing. Softflex do sizes inbetween Beadalons, e.g 0.014" and 21 strands, so between both brands all combinations are available. After that it comes down to personal preference and colour choice.

          Basic Tigertail is often only 3 strands


          On-line bead supplier and bead lover


          • #6
            I would say just double up what you have! I am a self taught bead stringer and I have road tested all of my methods, I use 7-strand beadalon doubled over for my heavy jewellery. Remember that you also need to do extra crimp beads if you are using this method to finish I do about 3 crimps at each end for the really heavy ones, which can be staggered along the first 3cm or so of your necklace end.



            • #7
              Thank you to everyone. It was very useful to have the different properties of the wires spelled out for me and I think I might double up as someone has suggested.

              The trouble is that I don't think most of my sterling spacers will have large enough holes for this and the sterling silver french wire certainly will not.

              I am not too sure what to do about all this and I think I might have to go back to the drawing board. Oh dear, my brain hurts.

              Thanks again, Ruth :-)


              • #8

                Hi all, to change the subject slightly but to ask a question...

                does anyone know where I can buy strips of sterling silver at a competitive price?



                • #9
                  Originally posted by folicin View Post
                  Hi all, to change the subject slightly but to ask a question...

                  does anyone know where I can buy strips of sterling silver at a competitive price?

                  Prob better to post this as a new thread in the Help section, i'm sure you will get plenty of replies that way. Sorry I can't help with the question.



                  • #10
                    Hi Ruth

                    Just wanted to say that your necklace looks lovely. I've wanted to do more work with silver but don't seem to get round to it.

                    I have to agree with the other suggestions of Softflex or Beadalon in the thicker sizes - they're pretty strong. Although have you considered wiring your gemstones to make a chain? I tend to use this method with all my lampwork pieces as I worry about the weight of the glass but it is time consuming.

                    Handmade lampwork beads