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Beading Information



Beading/Product Information and FAQ's


Prices and availability are subject to change without notice. We are subject to price changes from our vendors and manufacturers and when this occurs, we must adjust our prices too.  Pricing on the metal jewelry components we sell (beads, findings, wire, chain) is subject to change on a daily basis with the precious metal and commodity markets. But, we generally only make intermittent pricing changes.  We try to select vendors and manufacturers that provide us with consistent product quality. This is one of the most difficult parts of the bead business. We sometimes get shipments from our suppliers that differ radically from previous shipments. A good portion of our products are only supplied from a single source and there are not readily available replacements. We try to update our pictures on the site when vendors send us an item that varies from it's previous appearance. Sometimes we just move the item to the 'Sale' pages and close it out.

 Product Liability

Neither Beaded Impressions, Inc. nor its employees are responsible for damage and/or personal injury as a result of using our products.  Our beads, jewelry findings, beading supplies and jewelry components are not intended for use to make jewelry used by children under the age of 12.


 We do our best to make the picture look just like the product. Our monitor settings may be different than yours, however, and this may result in the colors being off. Also, the amount of light that is necessary to make the pictures turn out right may intensify the color of certain products (translucent stones 'brighten up' from the light source).  Certain colors will not photograph well, no matter what we do. An example is copper or subtle iris colors in pearls. In these cases, we try to add some commentary to give you a better idea of what you are buying.

Nickel Free


Nickel free jewelry has become important in recent years, and there is a lot of confusion over exactly what "nickel free" means. Why is nickel free jewelry even important?  Allergies triggered by jewelry that contains nickel cause a great deal of problems to a few people. In most cases, the problem is related to less expensive "plated" base metal jewelry components (silver plated, etc.) that contain more nickel. Nickel is a very good metal for jewelry making because it is inexpensive and very easy to work with, hence it is widely used in jewelry. Also, please note that for the majority of the population, there are no adverse effects from wearing jewelry that contains nickel.

In 2000, the European Union required that all jewelry sold there be "nickel free". In fact, they created a "nickel free standard" which states items labeled “nickel free” may contain no more than 0.05% nickel (no more than 1 part in 2000 that is nickel.) The United Kingdom actually has a more stringent standard of 0.01% nickel. The United States currently has no laws governing the use of nickel in jewelry, but a fast growing segment of our population is concerned about the use of nickel in jewelry.

Surgical steel became the default standard for those seeking a "nickel free" alternative, but in fact it actually contains a significant amount of nickel itself. Today, many "nickel free" jewelry components actually still contain nickel, but the amount is so small that it is almost impossible to test for. There are many widely used metals that do NOT contain any nickel including Sterling Silver, Niobium, and Karat Gold. "White" gold is an exception as it contains nickel to add color and strength.

Since our suppliers are generally reporting "nickel free" using the European standard, our items classified as nickel free meet that standard or exceed it. Here is how we have labeled our metal components:

  • Nickel Free (contains 0.05% nickel or less)
  • Contains Nickel (known to have more than 0.05% nickel)
  • Unknown (untested or no data provided by supplier)
  • N/A (item is not used as a jewelry component, e.g. Beading books, bead storage containers)

Prop 65 Warning

Attention California Residents - Proposition 65 WARNING:

 Consuming foods or beverages that have been kept or served in leaded crystal products or handling products made of leaded crystal will expose you to lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Gold Filled vs Gold Plated

Gold Filled (GF) is a layer of 10Kt or better gold mechanically bonded under heat & pressure to one or more surfaces of supporting base metal, then rolled or drawn to a given thickness. In the jewelry industry the quantity of gold must be at least 1/20th by weight of the total product. Under FTC (Federal Trade Commission) regulations, a product may be marked as 14, 12 or 10Kt Gold-Filled. Karat measurement of the gold content MUST be part of the marking or designation on larger beads & findings. The amount of real gold used is why GF items are always much more expensive than their gold plated counterparts (or items that say they are 'Gold Filled' that don't specifically tell you the karat rating!) Gold plated beads have a thinner layer of gold, and do not last as long as gold filled beads. Higher quality jewelry will have gold filled beads due to their longevity. All of our Gold Filled beads and findings are either 12k or 14k gold. We also offer some beautiful Vermeil-style options (Vermeil-style is sterling silver with a 22k gold electroplated finish) and some truly economical Gold Plated beads and findings.

Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloy metal, typically copper. Silver beads are never pure silver, as silver is too soft a natural material to be useful in silver jewelry making.

Sterling silver has a variety of uses, including making sterling silver beads, silver clasps and other jewelry findings and materials. You may also see sterling silver denoted as 925. We offer an extensive selection of sterling silver beads and findings among our Sterling Silver Jewelry Findings, and we also feature sterling silver Chain and Wire.

Stringing Needles

Because there are so many needles on the market for beading and jewelry making, it can be difficult to know where to start. For bead stringing, there are three traditional favorites: English beading needles, big eye needles, and twisted needles.

 English beading needles are extremely high quality, strong and durable. They come in a regular size (a little over 2") and "sharp" (about half the regular size) and are fairly stiff. They have a tiny eye, however, and can be challenging to thread, which leads us to big eye needles. Big eye needles are two slivers of steel that have been joined at the ends to form a single needle that is mostly one big eye. They are obviously quite easy to thread, and will fit through most beads and medium-to-large pearls. They also can be used with non-traditional string materials, such as wide gauzy ribbons or flat silk ribbon. Twisted needles are made from a piece of flexible wire that has been doubled over and twisted together, with a little loop left in the end where it was doubled over that forms a collapsible eye. They are about 3.5" long and are very flexible and easy to thread.

Nylon Thread

There are several types of nylon bead thread. For beadweaving and fiber arts, Nymo and Silamide are popular choices. For jewelry making, we recommend twisted Poly/Nylon (Polyamid) thread as an alternative to silk.


It's twice as strong as plain nylon, and while it has some stretch to it, it bounces back when released. It knots well and holds up to everyday wear better than silk. Like silk, it comes on cards in 2 meter lengths (about 6.5 feet) with a flexible twisted needle already attached, or in large quantities on spools. When bought in spool lengths, you'll need to choose a needle, as well.

What to look for in beading wire

Stranded beading wires are soft and supple, yet strong. The more strands there are in the beading wire, the more thread-like it is, making it more flexible and less likely to kink.  Of course, it also makes it more expensive, so you may want to find a balance between cost and quality for your various beading projects. Our selection of Bead Stringing Stranded Wire includes 7, 19 and 49 strand wires, all of which can be knotted like thread while you are working.

The right needle

The three most commonly used bead stringing needles — English beading needles, big eye needles and twisted wire needles — will probably work for most beading projects, so choosing a needle is in some ways more a matter of personal preference than matching functionality.  They each are capable of pulling a variety of threading materials through most beads. You might like the flexibility of the twisted wire needles. You may need the durability of the English beading needles. Or, you may prefer the exceptionally easy threading offered by big eye needles. If you don't already have a personal favorite, needles are inexpensive enough that you can afford to experiment with the different types to see what works best for you.


Rattail is about the same thickness as a rat's tail. Fortunately, the resemblance ends there. It's a finely braided cord with a lovely satin finish.  It comes in lots of beautiful colors and is especially nice for showcasing a single pendant or a few special beads. Because of its thickness, it isn't used to fill an entire necklace with beads — and it's so pretty you wouldn't want to cover it up anyway. To finish, it can be tied directly to a clasp or to itself. To prevent the ends from fraying, you should glue the loose ends.




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