Beadtips.

Q: I am interested in hearing opinions on using beadtips in making necklaces. Do a lot of you use them, or do you use them just some of the time? Do you think they add, or take away from, the look/quality of the piece, or neither?

A: I sometimes use them; it depends what I'm stringing on, how many strands I'm using, and what beads I'm using. I've never had a beadtip open up on me, but I'd be a little leery of depending on them to hold extremely heavy bead strings (of course, if they're THAT heavy, who wants to wear the necklace?). On the other hand, I'm a suspenders-and-belt kinda person; I don't like using jumprings either, unless I'm sure they'll never, ever be stressed. I've found that beadtips can give a reasonably professional look, depending on which ones you use (I prefer the buckets to the clamshells). I tend to like them best when the rest of the necklace has metal spacers or other small metal beads; otherwise a French-wire loop, with the string taken back through a few beads and knotted there, seems to maintain continuity a little better. Bead tips will always add to the professional 'look' of a necklace. Another alternative is French-wire (aka bullion or gimp) which was used for pearl necklaces but is also handy for any jewelry with clasps to hide the thread.