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Heavy beads

I am having trouble with the threads I have tried for stringing heavy
beads (stone, pearl and metal) over 15mm in diameter. Anybody out
there have experience with kevlar or any other new materials. I need
the necklaces I do to be supple and not stiff like wire or tigertail.
Chain seems like a possible solution ,my pieces are 18 kt or
platinum. Should I look to a very fine stainless chain?

Etienne Perret
Designing Colored Diamond Jewels
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Dear Etienne, there is a 49 strand tiger tail which is more supple
and flexible than the conventional 7 strand variety. It is somewhere
beteen silk and tiger tail. The name is Beadalon. You can find it on
page 312 of the Rio catalog. Bill Navran.

Hi, Try “soft-flex wire”. It looks like tigertail, but does not kink
and comes in serval thicknesses and colors also. I like the clear
for pearls. It is very supple and extremely strong. Available at
bead shops.

Good luck,

Hi Etienne, I string my heavy stone beads on foxtail. Its a chain
of nickel. I’m not sure of wheather or not it comes in various
sizes. There are several ways to end a strand. You can use a very
large crimp bead, you can solder it into a finding, or you can make
you own crimp closure and hook. I’ll be interested in the answers you
receive about stainless steel chain. I also use Soft Flex Wire of “7
strands x 7 wires per strand”. It comes in several sizes and is
better than most stringing wires, but I still prefer the
drape of foxtail or other nickel chains. Hope this helps. Joyce

Etienne, If you can be more specific, I can probably help you.What
type of trouble are you having with the cord - fraying, stretching or
breaking?Also, what are you currently using to string? Are you
combining stone,pearls and metal beads in one necklace? How long are
the necklaces? Etc…

I wouldn’t recommend Kevlar, as it would probably be too stiff,plus
it cuts itself. Some type of foxtail chain may work.It’s used a lot
in heavy Squash blossom necklaces and doesn’t stretch or break.

Feel free to e mail me @ @Susan_Hoge, or post details
about necklaces here so I can help you.

Susan Hoge

I cannot add to what others have said about what to use except to
report that I have had terrible experience with tiger tail. Besides
being inflexible, it has repeatedly broken on me so I would nix it for
any “heavy” bead and perhaps for any bead at all. I have heard
wonderful things about soft flex wire.


Etienne, I have successfully used a product called "Soft Flex Wire"
with heavy beads. It is available in a number of gauges. This wire is
fabricated much like the cables on a bridge; 7 strands of 7 wires
each. It is very flexible and strong. I buy it from a local beading
shop. Other than the name, there is no manufacturer on
the spool. Joel

Joel Schwalb

Dear Etienee,

If you haven’t used any of the new soft wire available these days,
you ought to try them. I use one called soft flex wire they are on
the web at: I use this for
all my beadwork. It is very supple and hangs nice. It is very strong
and comes in many colors and strengths. I have tried beadalon and
other tiger tail and don’t like them near as well. This is one of the
best products on the market. I think you will be very pleased if you
try this new wire. Good luck with your beadwork.

Roxan O’Brien

Joel, Rio Grande did a small article in “New Products” a couple of
months ago about “Soft Flex Wire” I believe it had the manufacturers
name, address and phone number in the article. Try looking it up on
their website. Susan Chastain

I’m not putting my hands on the catalogue at the moment, but
Softflex, Inc. is located in Sonoma, California. They might have an
800 number; if not, the area code is 707 so you can get it through
They sell at all major bead shows; they also have a
catalogue and sell retail and wholesale. I don’t believe there is a
minimum order for retail. You can get the best selection of gauges and
colors from them. Soft Flex Wire is pretty neat stuff, but not
inexpensive. Rene Roberts

Hello Etienne,

My worst experience with a string of very heavy beads continually
breaking was solved by a combination of soft-flex wire and silk cord.
It was tedious to knot the silk over the soft-flex, but I liked the
"drape" of the finished strand. These beads were both ceramic and
metal, so while it was a striking strand, the beads were tough on
ordinary cord. Knotting between each bead helped fix them in place
so that they didn’t rub on the cord so much. If the bead holes are
large enough, the combination may solve your problem too. Good luck.

Judy in Kansas, where it’s getting hotter.

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Extension Associate
221 Call Hall Kansas State Univerisity
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-1213 FAX (785) 532-5681