Jewelry – Making DIY Basics – What is a Headpin?

Find the right jewelry findings quicker and talk with other industrial professionals intelligently and enhance your jewelry making credibility by using correct terminology for the jewelry making supplies you need.

Definition of Jewelry Findings
In jewelry making, “jewelry findings” are components of jewelry less than a finished piece.

Definition of Headpin
A headpin is a long, thin piece of wire with a “head” – a flattened piece of metal bigger than the diameter of the wire that acts as a stop to beads on the wire. The opposite end of the headpin is flush cut, not sharp as with straight pins used in sewing. Fancy headpins may have round beads, granulated silver patterns, crystals or other embellishment instead of a simple flattened head.

How are Headpins Used?
Designers use headpins to create links or dangles with charms or beads wire wrapped onto the pin. Beads will usually rest against the head on a dangle. The jewelry maker twists and wraps the top of the pin into a loop which can be strung on stranded beading wire, silk or another jewelry fiber or attached to a clasp with a jump ring or split ring.

To create a link, the jewelry maker will wrap a loop with the head end of the pin, put beads and charms in the middle of the pin (above the first loop), then wire wrap a second loop. These links can be used “in line” – between two sections of chains or strung beads.

Headpin Materials

Headpins are available in many metals:

gold,
silver and
platinum
sterling
gold-filled
silver-plated brass
gold-plated brass,
bright copper or antique copper plated brass
antique brass
gunmetal plated brass
imitation rhodium plated brass
nickel plated brass

Occasionally, one may find copper-based headpins. However, since copper prices usually exceed brass prices, brass headpins are much more common. Other exotic headpin materials include titanium, which can be anodized into many different colors.

A serious jewelry designer needs an awareness of different headpin wire diameters and the hole sizes of beads she may use in jewelry designs. Freshwater pearls and gemstones sourced in India often require very thin headpins for small holes. Thick headpins may match a bold jewelry design better than a thin headpin. One may need a small stop bead on a headpin to keep a bead with a large hole from falling off the headpin.

Conclusion

Headpins come in a wide variety of shapes, designs and prices. After mastering simple jewelry construction using stringing methods, learning to use headpins and wire wraps will dramatically extend the possibilities in jewelry design. Dangles and in-line links take jewelry styles to another level over jewelry made from stringing techniques alone.