Glossary Jewellery Threading MaterialsGlossary Jewellery Threading Materials


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Glossary Jewellery Threading Materials -

Jewellery Threading Materials

Jewellery wire

Jewellery wire is nylon coated stainless steel wire used for stringing beads; Bead Them Up uses and recommends Griffin Brand 19 strand, 0.35mm wire; it is fine enough for seed pearls and all small hole gemstone beads yet flexible enough to knot when beaded as a Lariat. The main advantage of Griffin wire is its flexibility and that it does not kink once it has been threaded with beads. Larger/heavier beads may require thicker Griffin Brand 19 stand wire, ie 0.45mm or 0.6mm thick jewellery wire.

Spool Wire

Wire made from metal used for wire wrapped loops etc.

Tiger Tail

Tiger tail is a lesser quality and cheaper type of jewellery wire; it can kink if not used carefully, even after being threaded with beads. Tiger tail may not be fine enough to thread through small hole beads.

Illusion cord

Illusion cord is a clear bead stringing cord which looks like fishing line, and is used when making illusion or floating style jewellery; it gives the impression that there is no thread between the beads. Illusion cord is not as durable or as strong as jewellery wire.

Beading Elastic

Quality beading elastic is a clear or coloured, elastic thread that will return to its original length and thickness after stretching; use for designs when a clasp is not wanted. Beading elastic is best when used with double strand thickness, and it is finished by knotting the ends with 2 or 3 overhand knots and fusing the knots with clear nail polish.

Silk thread

Silk is the traditional thread for stringing Pearls. Silk is best for stringing valuable pearls/gemstones when a knot is required between each pearl/gemstone. Silk thread is soft and is easier to make knots with than any other thread. Silk will fray, become dirty and stretch over time (therefore regular re-stringing is recommended). Silk threads are available on cards of 2 meter lengths that have a needle attached at one end. Use thicker silk for heavier/larger hole beads.

Hollow Rubber Tubing

Thread hollow rubber tubing as you would a bead. It can be cut to any length and is available in 3 diameters: 2.0mm, 2.5mm and 3.0mm.
Cut rubber with scissors ensuring the edge is straight; an angled cut will make the bead sit at an angle.
Be careful not to pull jewellery wire too tight when using rubber tubing, as the rubber tubing will buckle.

Faux Suede

Faux Suede is a cheap alternative to real suede although not as strong.


Suede/Leather is available in a wide range of colours, thicknesses and profiles.

Silk Ribbon

Silk thread is available in a wide range of colours usually about 2-3mm thick and 1 meter long. It is hand stitched and hand dyed.


Any ribbon or cord can be incorporated into a jewellery design if desired.

Memory wire

Memory wire is a coil of very strong, tempered metal wire that holds its shape when stretched. Memory wire makes quick and easy necklaces and bracelets that will stay on your neck or wrist without a clasp. Never cut memory wire with side cutters and always protect your eyes when cutting.


A crimp bead is a soft, metal bead which is squeezed shut with a crimping tool to secure jewellery wire to findings.

Floating Crimp

A floating crimp bead is used to hold beads in place when creating floating necklace type design; floating crimps are not strong and should not be used to secure clasps or other attachments.

Bullion/french wire/gimp and wire guardians

Bullion/french wire/gimp and wire guardians are used to protect jewellery wire from friction during wear and to conceal stringing material.

The use of either is a personal choice;
Bullion/french wire/gimp is a more traditional and a cheaper product.
Wire guardians are easier to use.
Bullion/french wire, also known as gimp, is a fine coil of wire and comes in one length. It is cut into smaller lengths and used as required.

Wire guardians are a rigid horse shoe shaped tubular finding.

Some clasps will have a fine attachment ring so bullion/french wire may be the only option available. Either bullion or wire guardians should always be used to protect wire from undue wear and reduce abrasions from clasps and other sharp-edged components.