Glossary of Beading Terms

S

S-hook Clasp

S-hook Clasp

A form of a hook and loop clasp where the hook is shaped like an S, with one half of the S closed to attach to one side of the jewelry piece, and the other half of the S open as the hook.

Scrimshaw

The art of intricate carving on ivory, and the resulting pieces. Since harvesting ivory is illegal due to overhunting, ethical scrimshanders use recycled ivory from old piano keys, extinct animals, and naturally shed antlers.

Seed Bead

Seed Bead

Available in an amazing array of colors, finishes, and styles, they are most often used in bead weaving and loomwork. Larger sizes are smaller, with 11/0 being the most common.

Silver

Silver

A metal and an element in the periodic table. Like copper and gold, pure silver is very soft, so is often mixed with other metals to make it stronger. The most common silver alloy used in jewelry is sterling silver, which is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Silver wire and sheets can also be hardened by being hammered. Sterling silver jewelry may be plated with a very thin coat of fine silver to give it a shinier finish. Silver is often mixed into colored gold alloys to make them paler and harder.

Solder

Solder

Soldering is a method of joining metal surfaces via melting a fusible metal alloy to connect them. Here is a good tutorial on jewelry soldering.

Spacer Beads

Spacer Beads

Any small bead can be used as a spacer. Spacer beads are often unnoticable (on purpose) but serve an important function in the spacing of a jewelry design. The bead can be made of any material; it is referred to as a spacer bead based on its function in the design. Often spacer beads are small metal beads or glass seed beads.

Split Ring

Split Ring

Double wire rings (like a keychain), used to connect different parts of a piece of jewelry. A split ring is more secure than a jump ring but also bulkier.

Spring Ring

Spring Ring

A very common clasp which is inexpensive and secure. The drawback is that it requires nimble fingers to use.

Sterling Silver

An alloy of silver consisting of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. Contrast with fine silver, which is 99.9% pure silver, but generally too soft to use for jewelry.

Stiff Stuff

Stiff Stuff

A brand name interfacing made by Lacy’s, useful as a beading foundation for bead embroidery. Stiff Stuff can be dyed or colored with fabric markers to match your piece so the background is less noticeable. Buy from Amazon

Stop Bead

A seed bead used in beadweaving to keep your first row of beads in place when you start your piece. Instead of knotting the thread, you secure the stop bead by passing thread through it several times, and then remove it later when you have completed the beadwork.

Suede

Suede

A type of leather with a napped (fuzzy) finish, rather than leather’s typical smooth finish. Suede is softer and less durable than regular leather. photo credit

Swarovski

Swarovski

A very popular bead manufacturer based in Austria. They are most known for their lead crystal glass beads that come in many shapes and finishes. photo credit