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Crimp question


I recently designed and sold a necklace which is somewhat heavy. I
strung it on Beadalon .014 wire and used 3mm crimps. I used beads
between the crimps, but was not able to use a long piece of wire to
string through additional beads in the necklace, because the beads
were too small. The necklace broke at the clasp and I am looking for
a way to secure the wire so that it won’t happen again. I don’t want
to use silk because I fear the stones (tourmaline and thunder eggs)
are too rough and will wear through the silk over time. Any
suggestions? Someone told me that my sterling crimp may have been
defective, having rough spots on the inside which inhibited the
"crimp effect."


Jan, there are a couple of things that you may be able to do to help
prevent future breakage. Personally, I don’t trust Beadalon. You
didn’t say which gauge of wire you used, but it appears it just
wasn’t quite strong enough. SoftFlex (no affiliation) makes many
different weights of coated wire that you could check out on their
website. For a while they were sending out free samples. I don’t
know if they’re still doing that or not. It might be worth inquiring
about. They have a heavy duty size that sounds like it would suit
your application to a tee. Another problem may well be with the
clasp itself. You said it broke at the clasp, not at the crimp.
Sometimes clasps do have rough edges that can wear down wire in
nothing flat. And then finally, the crimp itself could be the
culprit. Did you use a crimping tool or just smash with pliers? If
you get too vigorous with your crimping it could actually cut the
wire too. Have you tried the Tornado crimps yet? I’ve heard good
things about them as well. Good luck in tracking down the culprit!


Jan: You don’t really say how your necklace broke - did the wire
just slip through the crimps or did it actually break? And I can’t
tell if you went back through your beads after going through the
clasp - heavy beads usually have fairly sufficiently large holes in
them to accommodate heavier wire and the ability to go through the
bead twice with the wire. I rarely use less than .019" if the beads
are heavy.

I’d try stringing a few beads with crimps attaching them to a large
jump ring that you can hold on to, and then tug on it and see if
your wire is slipping through your crimps. You may need to use
smaller crimps - also be sure that you crimped them correctly. You
also don’t say what kind of crmps you used - round, tube, or
twisted. Try different kinds of crimps to see which hold

Beadalon can also be knotted and you may try adding a tiny knot
after the crimp and before going back through the bead and then
secure the knot with Hypo Cement. I’m sure it’s disappointing but
we’ve all had those things happen. Most of the time it’s a result
of the wrong size of crimps or incorrect crimping. And if the wire
broke, then it’s possible you cut the wire with your crimp. Let us
know how you solved your problem and good luck with it.

The size of Beadalon was too fine and could not support the weight.
Use a thicker size or use 2 or even 3 strands of your 0.14 to support
the necklace. I use Softflex 0.19 for most necklaces and a Softflex
0.24 for heavy necklaces. Size 0.14 is basically for pearls and 4 mm
beads only.

Judy Shaw GJG
Jasco Minerals
North River, NY 12856

up in the Adirondacks of NY where we are expecting another foot of
snow today


I’m not sure how heavy a necklace you strung, but anything you think
is heavy should be strung on Softflex (not beadalon) .019, or .024
if the beads are really heavy and have large enough holes. I would
recommend Softflex for all of your beading, not beadalon. You should
use the smallest mm crimp that your wire will fit through double –
this prevents slipping. Always make sure you double check your crimp
with a pair of needle nose pliers and light pressure. I also always
tug hard on each end before I snip of my tail of softflex. If you
crimp bead doesn’t set a good crimp, the best thing to do is
restring. Selling a piece that breaks the first few times a customer
wears it is much worse than the time spent restringing before you

I used beads between the crimps, but was not able to use a long
piece of wire to string through additional beads in the necklace, 
because the beads were too small. 

I’m not sure I understand: did you string your necklace, string on a
crimp, string more beads and string a clasp? And you wanted to run
your wire back through the first few beads instead of cutting the
wire off at the crimp?

That’s definitley a good security measure, but isn’t always
neccessary. Then again, if you have a heavy necklace that you are
unsure about, you might need to redesign it so that the beads by the
clasp have large enough holes for the tail of the wire to run back

-usual disclaimer on softflex vs. beadalon. Just personal preference
and the way I was taught.


Hi Jan,

I’m afraid I can’t really picture what you’re describing, but, if it
"broke at the clasp," I can tell you what I do. If I am stringing a
heavy necklace, I always end the stringing well before I reach the
clasp. I attach a loop of silver (etc.) wire to the beading wire,
make a wrapped loop, string at least one bead, and make another
wrapped loop, which can attach to a soldered jump ring or clasp.
Usually, I do this several times on each side, and use an S-clasp: in
part, because I like my necklaces to be adjustable (so I want to
incorporate several jump-ring “stations”) and I like to make
S-clasps, but also because it takes a lot of weight (literally and
figuratively) off the crimps. (I also spend an inordinate amount of
time figuring out ways to hide crimps and beading wire. And I am
addicted to parentheses.)

So…try shortening the strung part of your necklace, re-install
crimps, and make wire elements with the small beads in the back.

Now I can only hope that you are able to picture what I’m

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
Elk, CA

    wire too. Have you tried the Tornado crimps yet? 

This sounds interesting. What are they? Where do I find them?


Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

I second the suggestions to use SoftFlex - I have found it to be much
more durable. I also had trouble with some heavier necklaces
separating at the clasp, and found there were several causes. One
was not using a small enough diameter crimp. One was not smoothing
the clasp where the SoftFlex wraps around. The most common was the
wire actually coming out of the crimp. I have solved that by
designing my heavier necklaces so that I end with a crimp, large
bead, crimp, large bead, clasp sequence, and the wire runs through
the final crimp/lb/crimp/lb components twice. I have NEVER had one of
these come out, and with the precautions mentioned earlier, have not
had any break. It HAS meant adjusting my designs somewhat, but
knowing that ahead of time I carefully select the larger beads to
complement, but not usually to match exactly, the rest of the
necklace. This results in the entire clasp are becoming its own
design element, and I get many complements on it - people LIKE
having that become a “special” part of the necklace and not “just” a
clasp, if that makes sense. Took me a while to get there, but it has
worked for me.

Best wishes.
Beth in SC


You can get the tornado crimps from Via Murano


Hi Beth: I agree and I use SoftFlex too, though I do have some
Beadalon and it has improved over the last year. I think (and I
said this in my original response) the more likely problem was that
the original crimp bead was too large for the .014" wire, which was
probably too small for such heavy beads.

I also make sure before stringing that the beads close to the clasp
have holes large enough to allow the SoftFlex to go back through a
second time. Sometimes, it means testing a number of the beads you
are using to find the ones that you can thread twice. Amazing that
it doesn’t take that much bigger a hole to allow a second pass
through. If none of the beads I am working with does that, then I
try first reaming the hole out of one of the beads (if that’s
possible) to allow a second pass through and barring that
possibility, I simply select an alternate bead to use, as you
suggest, to be part of the clasp area. But I would wager than the
real problem here was an incorrect crimp size. K

Elaine, I haven’t used these nor have I used this provider but I had
stored this in my “provider” list. Check it out, you
can see what the “tornado” crimps are.

Via Murano

Help others make informed buying decisions with Via Murano. We
welcome your opinions and experiences with their products, ordering,
customer service and and over all satisfaction.

Write an Anonymous Review 08


Tornado crimps are simply twist crimps that Rio has been carrying
for a long time. They work great, just get the larger of the two
sizes as the small ones seem to be for a smaller size than .014

Insomniac Beads