Step 1: Introduction to Gemology
In this article, we’ll focus on both jewelry attachments and miscellaneous findings. Jewelers use a wide range of bits and pieces to attach one jewelry item to another. As you delve into the wonderful world of jewelry, you’ll also encounter many kinds of findings that don’t fit into the categories we’ve covered in the articles on settings, bracelets, rings, and earrings.
Table of contents:
- Basic Jewelry Attachments
- Ring Attachments
- Bead Tips
- Crimp Beads
- Jewelry Attachments and Accessories for Necklaces
- Bells and Cones
- Chain Ends
- Brooch Pins
- Miscellaneous Jewelry Findings
- Tie Clips
- Tie Tacs
- Cuff Links
- Jewelry Findings and Clothing
- Belt Buckles
- Collar Tips
Basic Jewelry Attachments
Inexpensive, available in many sizes and metals, and easy to use, rings are the simplest type of connector attachments. However, they’re sometimes weaker than other types of jewelry attachments and less attractive if you’re using cord.
There are two main types of ring attachments:
- A jump ring features an opening along the ring, so you can open the ring a bit to slide on the chain or other item. Once you close the ring, you must solder it shut, otherwise it might pull apart.
- Like a key ring, a split ring is a made from a double circle of wire. To attach these rings to the ends of a chain or cord, simply slide the chain onto the ring and continue to twist the ring until the chain is fully on the ring. (Just like adding a key to your key ring).
To attach bead cord to a chain end and clasp, you can simply tie the cord to the clasp or use a bead tip. The bead tip conceals the knot in the bead cord, which results in a cleaner, more refined appearance.
Little metal tubes, crimp beads secure the ends of a Tiger Tail cord. As the name implies, you crimp them together with pliers.
Jewelry Attachments and Accessories for Necklaces
Necklaces with more than one strand of beads use spacers, pieces of metal with holes, to keep the strands separated. This prevents the multiple strands from bunching together when worn.
Bells and Cones
Multi-strand necklaces also have bells or cones to conceal the ends of the multiple chains or cords.
Chains also have special pieces for attaching a clasp. These findings come in cylinders or flat shapes to fit any type of chain and offer a loop to attach a clasp. You solder them onto the end of a chain.
A brooch pin attaches to the back of any brooch, allowing the wearer to pin the brooch in place. While you’ll find brooches made from a wide range of metals and featuring gems, cameos, and other decorations, you don’t normally see the pins when brooches are worn. Therefore, pins aren’t typically made of precious metals. You can solder, glue, or sew brooches to pins, depending on the brooch material.
Miscellaneous Jewelry Findings
Some findings have no specific functional purpose. Instead, they give jewelry artists more versatility, without a great deal of additional labor. These findings include cast or stamped letters, symbols, realistic or stylized birds, stars, etc. You can solder them to the front of a bail, to an earring post, dangles, charms, the side of a ring, etc.
Conchos can decorate leather jewelry pieces as well as clothing. They’re often made of sterling silver.
Tie clips can be plain, jeweled, or engraved.
Tie tacs may feature gemstones or simply be a solid metal. The tac attaches to the tie using a clutch, which is affixed to the back of the post.
Popular men’s jewelry items, cuff links come in one or two pieces. They can be plain, jeweled, or whimsical in design.
Jewelry Findings and Clothing
Findings found on clothing, such as belt buckle pieces, bolos, and collar tips, can be considered jewelry findings.
Although bolo ties bring to mind the fabric ties typical of mens’s wear, they add ornamental centerpieces and metal tips to braided leather or fabric cords. The decorative tips can be simple or ornate.
Belt buckle parts include the buckle itself, the keeper, and, sometimes, a tip. Usually metal, buckles may be plain, engraved, or jeweled. Keepers may be leather or metal. The tip covers the end of the belt that hangs loose and usually matches the buckle and keeper. (Loose belt ends are also commonly unadorned).
Western and Southwestern style button-down shirts often sport collar tips, commonly made of silver. These tips attach to the edges of the shirt collar and typically feature stamped patterns or designs.