A woman came by my table at the Market last week and asked if I could repair an anklet that had come apart.
I liked the colourful, dainty design. The original artist had finished the piece with a sterling silver clasp and sealed jump ring so she cared about quality.
Unfortunately her crimping technique wasn’t up to snuff. She’d cut the wire too short and it pulled free of the crimp tube.
The photo below (with the failed crimp already cut off) shows what happens if you’re not careful.
You can see the same problem on the clasp end in the next photo — the artist cut the wire flush with the end of the crimp. A better (and more secure) technique is to let the wire extend beyond the crimp and into the first few beads.
I think the artist’s problem started with the beads. The wire would only go through the first metal bead after the crimp — the holes in the little bugle beads weren’t big enough to allow the wire to pass through twice.
So, how to solve this problem?
I started with a fresh piece of wire and restrung the beads, leaving enough wire on both ends to properly add the crimps.
Having the right tools certainly helps. In this case, a pair of good crimping pliers. They’re the funny looking pliers with two “holes” in the jaws.
I strung the wire through the crimp, through the sealed jump ring and back through the crimp. Then I put the crimp in the “hole” nearest the handle. Now the tricky part: I have to position the wires so they’re not crossed — then, when I gently press the jaw together, the wires are separated.
Next I move the crimp to the front “hole” on the pliers, placing it vertically, and gently close the pliers. The circular crimp bead is now flattened, twice, and the wire is tightly caught in position.
Here’s the restrung anklet. The crimp beads have a strong hold on the wire so the owner should be able to wear it for many years without a problem.
Sometimes taking a few extra minutes means the difference between a quality piece of jewelry and a disgruntled customer.
As with many other jewelry-making techniques, there’s more than one way to crimp a bead. Check out the crimping instructions at Beadalon. Just the opposite of how I do it 🙂