Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sterling Silver Bead Caps

by C.S.

Sterling silver bead caps greatly help add interest to beads, pearls and crystals alike. It has a different sheen and texture from these components, and because of the casting capability of sterling silver , pattern possibilities are endless for sterling silver bead caps.

There are many countries which make sterling silver bead caps. The most prolific producing countries are Indonesia (Bali), India and Israel. Stones and Findings carries many unique sterling silver bead caps made in Israel . The patterns are different from Bali, which favours patterns made with dots and scrolls. Israeli patterns are more organic, with more focus on leaves and marquis shapes. They also have Roman influences. I like the premium metal composition of Israeli sterling silver.

Sterling silver is 92.5% silver, and the rest is an alloy of other metals to make the silver harder. In the case of our Israeli sterling silver, the factory adds much more expensive metals to make them tarnish resistant. The exact ingredient is a highly guarded secret. However, the result is an obvious and superior sheen, with tarnish resistance. Israeli sterling silver bead caps are more expensive than Bali and Indian caps because of the more expensive metals used, and Israeli labour is more expensive. However, the superior quality and uniqueness of Israeli sterling silver bead caps is readily apparent and well worth extra expense. They are more rare and are prized by higher quality jewellery designers.

Sterling silver bead caps are great way of framing pearls and crystals, and to give them a finished look. The antique look of certain caps can help soften and bring a more organic touch to the cleanness of crystals. Everyone designing simple short earrings should consider adding sterling silver bead caps for an added twist.

There are specialty long sterling silver bead caps that are called cones . These work to hide the knotting of multi-strand bead necklaces. You can do this by creating the individual strands, and then to gather them with either an eye pin, or using sterling silver wire. You pull the strands through and secure them by wire wrapping a large loop through the other hole. Cones are also useful in creating an elongated look for a round bead. You can use this for earring drops, or, my favourite, a pendant. This can be attached to a toggle that can lock in the front, or as tassel end for a long necklace. Possibilities are endless.

An intriguing look can be created by stacking different types of sterling silver bead caps together, and hanging a pearl or crystal from it. This can create a pagoda type of look. You can also thread identical sterling silver bead caps together, facing each other. This can create a bead effect, provided that they are not too thin, or they have ridges that will help lock themselves to one another. If you can do any soldering, you can create your own hollow sterling bead.

Sterling silver bead caps have been around for a very long time. It is a classic look with many updating possibilities. See what you can come up with.

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