Acrylic-A type of plastic commonly used to make cheaper beads and jewellery. Can be made to look just like the real thing, however it lacks the weight and feel of stone/glass/metal.
Agate-There are so many varieties of agates, and so many colours and patterns. It is very popular due to it's availability and range of features.
Bail-Usually a fitting added to a pendant, which allows the pendant to be hung from a necklace. In wire-wrapping, the bail does not need to be an additional attachment but made from the wire from the piece. The bails in this type of pendant can be very intricate and decortative.
Bangle-A rigid bracelet.
Barrel Clasp-A simple and commonly used clasp. The two 'barrels' screw together.
Base metal-A cheaper alternative to sterling silver or gold, base metal is not precious. Common base metals include copper, brass and tin.
Beach glass-A beautiful material that is becoming more and more popular. Natural beach glass is most sort after as the smoothness and appearance is most natural. Beach glass is formed from broken bottles and glass that have sunk to the ocean floor, then washed through the sand and water for many years. Eventually it is washed up on shore and is often left to be further tumbled. The result is a natural shaped, perfectly smooth matt coloured stone in various colours. The rarer colours (such as red, white purple) can get quite expensive, while the common colours such as green and brown can be bought by teh kilo. My beads endevours to stock beach glass, as soon as we find a source!
Bell Cap-A finding that is glued to a bead/stone to convert it into a pendant. Very useful, however strong glue must be used.
BrioletteA faceted drop stone, usually made into a bead with a hole through the top.
Cabochon (Cab)-Shaped stones (usually semi precious or precious) generally with a flat back. Ovals are very common, as are rounds, squares, triangles etc. Also popular are freeform (irregular shaped with a flat back, usually made following the patterns in the stone) and designer cut (stylised cabs, can be quite expensive and can make some of the most popular and artistic jewellery). Cabs can also be made from dichroic glass, glass, wood, bone and shell. Often made into pendants, and smallers cabs are used in earrings, rings and bracelets. If you do wire wrapped jewellery, these are one of the things you will spend hours looking at, looking for - and enjoy doing so. The best place to start is ebay, type in "designer cab*" or "oval cab*" depending on what you're looking for. The * is essential as it allows for all the different spellings and abbreviations of the word. Below are some great cabs found on ebay.
Cameo- A protruding carved picture, in a stone. Nowadays glass and acrylic versions are a common, cheaper alternative.
Cutting Pliers- Pliers that cut wire! A must, unless you have another pair of pliers that has a combined cutting function. Easily make clean cuts in your wire with precision.
Dichroic Glass-This great material is often used in the making of cabochons. It is very attractive and amazing when viewed in the light. Pieces of glass are carefully arranged and layered, then placed in a kiln and heated.
Ear hooks- Used in earrings. From my experience, these are by far the most popular type of ear wire. Attach a decorated eyepin or headpin and instantly you have a pair of earrings. Learn how to make your own ear hooks.
Feature bead- Rather self explanatory, a feature bead is usually a bead that stands out from the other beads used in a particular piece. This does not mean it is always large and complicated in design (although they often are!). Feature beads are used in earrings, bracelets, necklaces etc.
Headpin- Used in making earrings. Beads are threaded on to the headpin. At the base is a stopper, so the beads will not fall off. The stopper will either be a simple flat cap or a fancy, intricate design. See also Eyepins.
Semi-precious- Natural, beautiful stones. Many colours/types. These are the next step down from precious stones (such as ruby, diamond etc). Prices may range greatly as some types are much rarer than others. Often used as feature beads. Semi precious stones are believed to have special properties (healing & metaphysical).
Round nose pliers- A commonly used type of pliers. They are used to make neat, quick loops. They usually will not scratch wire, and are great when you are sculpting any piece. You can pretty much get by with just a pair of these, (and if they also have a cutting function, terrific!) and a pair of cutting pliers.
Wig Jig- A very useful little invention. It is an acrylic square, with tiny holes drilled into it. You stick small pegs into the holes, then twist wire around the pegs. Stick in more pegs as you go to create great patterns with wire. A little pricey, but worth it. Especially useful in making your own ear hooks, links for bracelets/necklaces, decorative earring wires and fasteners. It will save you money in its ability to make findings - eventually!
Coming Soon: More glossary terms, and all the metaphysical properties of stones in the one place!