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Simple design transition from metal to beads

Hi, folks,

I’d like to hear solutions to a design problem that is driving me
nuts. How do you make a clean, simple transition from metal to beads
(bead-stringing material) when it shows in the front of a piece?
French wire (coil) is not “clean” enough. Any suggestions will be
much appreciated!


[snip]...How do you make a clean, simple transition from metal to
beads (bead-stringing material) when it shows in the front of a
piece? French wire (coil) is not "clean" enough. ...[snip] 

Noel, are you connecting a pendant to a beaded necklace? Are you
using one strand of beads? More than one strand? Some thoughts that
come to mind are wire wrapping the beads, using a cone, or a
clamshell or creating a gold or silver end cap for the beads (like an
end finish on a woven chain). You did not mention what you are
connecting or making so it’s hard to give reasonable suggestions
without all the facts.


Noel, I’m not sure I understand your question - I think I do - just
not quite sure. If you can send me an image I would love to take a
look and see if it is possibly anything I could give my humble
opinion on.

Verna Holland

Hi Noel,

If the piece and the design will allow it, try soldering small,
closed eyes on the back of the metal piece for the stringing material
to attach to or pass through. These should be placed so that there is
some distance to the metal edge allowing a couple of tiny beads to be
threaded next to the eye and behind the metal edge before continuing
with your design beads.

Another possibility is to place a tiny drill hole near the metal’s

The attachment with French coil could be hidden on the reverse and
the stringing material would pass through the tiny hole to come to
the front with nothing showing between the metal element and the
beads. Be sure to thrum the hole carefully to remove any sharp edges
that would abrade the stringing material.

Pam Chott

     are you connecting a pendant to a beaded necklace? Are you
using one strand of beads? More than one strand? 

OK, sorry, I asked for help without making the problem clear enough.
It doesn’t seem very practical to try to provide an image, so I’ll
try a little more description.

Yes, I’m trying to attach two separate strands to a pendant. For
design reasons, I want to attach the strands to, essentially, jump
rings (gold). I originally soldered 1mm snake chain to the jump
rings, but it stretched, leaving snake chain sticking out of the
beads, and it was darn hard to do even so. Then the snake chain
broke when a potential customer was trying the piece on. Not good!

I guess I’ll order some beading chain and try to solder that on-- at
least I can connect it with little jump rings at the clasp, and it
shouldn’t stretch.

If anybody has a better idea, or wisdom about why it might not work,
please let me know.


To make a very clean transition from metal to beads, I would plan
ahead and build into the pendant a hollow place to have a beaded
wire end hide inside the pendant. It could then come through a hole
drilled in the side wall of the pendant to have a few beads strung
on it directly, and then the wire could go into a cone or tube bead
that you have fabricated, and you could do the switch from wire to
bead stringing material inside the cone or bead, by having a sort of
needle eye made in your wire end, and looping the bead stringing
material through it so you can string it through the rest of the
necklace as a double strand, which could be finished off as usual
with a cone and wire. Some beads might have to have larger holes
drilled into them to do all this. Or, you might plan for it by
having larger-hole beads at those points in the design. If you use
softer materials, such as amber or coral or turquoise, it will not be
at all hard to drill a few beads out a bit bigger.

Now that I think about it, you could just use doubled cable for the
whole necklace, and use a small bead strung on it hidden inside your
pendant for the stop, instead of a beaded wire. I think that silk or
nylon thread would wear badly as it came through the pendant wall,
hence I suggest cable for that.

M’lou Brubaker, Jeweler

Hello Noel,

You described a problem with beads strung on a chain, and the chain
stretching. YUP! I think the problem is that any chain small enough
to go through beads will be prone to stretching. I use a lot of 1mm
sterling chain for bracelets, and it stretches with wearing. Here
are a couple solutions that have worked for me, but it means the
customer has to bring back the piece after stretching has occured.
That’s a hassel, so I’m also interested to see what others have done
to solve this problem. Perhaps nickle chain doesn’t stretch.

Solution #1 - insert small jump rings of twisted wire between beads
to take up the space.

Solution #2 - solder 25-30mm of 20 or 22 ga wire to one end of the
chain and use that wire as a needle to string the beads, then make a
loop around a jump ring , and wrap the remaining wire around itself,
below the loop. This looks like a coil. After the chain has
stretched, use pliers to grip the wire loop where it comes out of the
coil and pull it through the coil (I use my thumbnail to brace the
coil) and snug up the chain. (Apologies for the poor description.)

Judy in Kansas, who has been waiting for tomatoes to ripen for over
2 weeks!!

Hi, Judy,

Thanks for the benefit of your experience! I thought regular linked
chain wouldn’t stretch.

I love the pull-up-the-wire trick. That’s a good one! And maybe I’ll
try nickel wire.



If I understand your explanation correctly, I do this often. What I
do is thread the beads on silver or gold wire and use the end to
create the jump ring. I fit the wire to the gemstone beads (usually
26g or thinner) and, of course, the metal used for the chain.

You can see an examples of this on my web site (
under Jigsaw Jewelry. The lavender ruffle and silver chain necklace
picture shows it fairly well.

Good luck!

Doreen K. Sanborn
DKS Designs, Inc.