Sep 5, 2003, 12:35 PM
One question that seems to come up a lot, is what to do about finishing off a strand, using crimps or clamshell caps, the problem is pretty much the same.
Finishing off -- Slacking off?
People try to get rid of all the slack, and the strand is very tight. Almost too tight to flex or curve. Remember, these are supposed to be worn, not held straight. This is one of the main reasons for breakage and for one store to say their brand of stringing line is better than the stuff used by the other store. It's not the line -- it's how the piece is put together. Maybe the other store is simply stringing too tightly.
Beads need slack, and you'll see slack when a piece is held striaght, as opposed to curved.
This happens due to the shapes of the beads, the sizes of the beads, and putting your last crimp on when the strand is straight.
While it makes for a "pretty" or "nice looking" piece in the display case, it makes for a horrible-to-wear piece! The first time it's flexed you'll hear grating and grinding, and if a bead does not snap, the crimps will be weakened to the point of giving out at some inopportune moment.
I get around it by putting my last crimp on, getting it where I want it, then flexing the necklace around my hand 2-3 times (as many as it will comfortably go) or bending the bracelet fully double. When you let it go straight again, you will see how much "breathing room" the strand needs to flex/wear properly.
Keep adjusting your crimp (or knots) to take this slack into account. large beads, or odd-sized/shaped smaller beads can demand an incredible amount of "breathing room." I've seen an inch or more of slack disappear when a necklace is put on due to the over-sized nature of the beads.
Usually, for most 8-12mm beads, the amount of slack will be about 1/4" +/-.
Don't look at this as a shortcoming, but use it as a SELLING POINT! Your jewelry will not break or wear out as fast, the beads or stones will not be bruised or subject to stress cracks, and breakage and lost stones will be at a minimum.
I have a strand or two I purposely made too tight, and when someone makes a face when I tell them the above, I let them listen to the "grinding" and other noises the tight strand makes.
Also, remember, when a person takes off a necklace they are very apt to wind it up around their hand (hence my "guide" above), or to fold it twice in half and half again and slip it into their purse or pocket. You need to allow for this.
PUGDOG's Rock & Bead Shop
Pittsburgh, PA 15217