Illusion jewelry, sometimes called floating jewelry, is a beautiful new trend popular in formalwear. It gives the appearance that beads are “floating” around your neck, at your wrist, at your ears, or in your hair on a clear or thin metal strand.
In illusion jewelry, beads are spaced along stringing material and held in place with either glue or crimps. Often glue is used in factory produced glass pearl multi strand pieces. Handmade floating jewelry most often uses crimps. Crimps are tiny hollow metal beads or tubes that are fastened onto the stringing material by crushing them with pliers. This holds the crimp to the stringing material, a bead, or multiple beads are strung, then a second crimp is strung and crimped to the stringing material to hold the loose beads in place.
There are several types of stringing materials that can be used in creating the illusion. These include monofilament, multi strand stringing wire, and beading chain.
Monofilament illusion cord is a single filament stringing material, similar in appearance to fishing line, except that it is not tinted but is crystal clear. It is threaded thorugh beads and attached together at the ends with crimps and a clasp. It comes in varying sizes of thickness and quality. The thicker the monofilament, the stronger is it.
Beading chain is just what it sounds like. It is a super fine chain, less than 1mm in diameter. The “upside” of beading chain is that it is manufactured in solid sterling silver or 14K gold fill. The “downside” of beading chain is that is has , compared to its stringing counterparts, minimal strength. It can break and or weaken under a crimp.
Multi strand stringing wire is basically a metal cable of ultra fine wires twisted together, then coated with a super thin layer of protection, flexibility, and added kink-resistance and tactile softness. It is a perfect choice for illusion jewelry in strength, durability and attractiveness.
About Multi-Strand Stringing Wire
Stringing wire comes in several qualities: 7 strand, 19 strand and 49 strand. It is important to understand the difference between qualities of stringing wire and which quality a jewelry is using before buying. Simply put, the higher the number of strands in the wire, the more flexible and kink-resistant it is. The nature or wire is to “kink”, or form a permanent angle when bent, that ruins the jewelry for wear.
7 strand wire is stiff and kinks very easily. It is inexpensive, but not suitable for quality illusion jewelry.
19 strand is commonly used in illusion wire jewelry, it is much more flexible than 7 strand, but be warned, it is still pretty easily kinked.
49 strand is far more costly, but is extremely flexible and much more kink-resistant lending suppleness and durability to the jewelry.
Multi strand stringing wire comes in base metal, silver and 14k gold plate and sterling silver. The base metal colors and inexpensive and can be nice for costume jewelry, but lack the richness and luster of genuine silver and gold. The sterling silver option is beautiful and lustrous, but as silver is a very soft metal, it lacks real strength. The silver and 24k gold plate options have a steel core for real strength and durability with the gorgeous luster of genuine silver and gold. They perfectly compliment sterling silver and genuine gold jewelry. In fact, the silver plate option is identical in appearance to the solid sterling silver option at a fraction of the cost to you, the buyer. The nylon coating protects and seals the silver plate making it extremely wear resistant and an excellent choice for illusion jewelry.
There are two types of crimps. Crimp tubes are straight-sided cylinder tubes. When tubes are flattened to a stringing material they leave a sharp pointed edge. To keep these from snagging clothing or skin they must be shaped with a special tool that bend the edges in. While effective in “taking the edge off” it looses some appeal in attractiveness. Crimp beads are rounded and can either be flattened to the stringing material to create nicely finished ends without sharp 90-degree corners.
Crimps come in varying sizes, from the ultra fine “0” at a 1.3mm diameter to the large “3” at a 3mm diameter. The smaller the crimp size, the less intrusive to the floating illusion.
Crimps are manufactured in base metal, silver and 24K gold plate, sterling silver and 14k gold fill. Not all sizes of crimp bead are available in all materials. The finest size “0” crimps are not manufactued in sterling silver or solid gold fill. However, silver plate and 24k gold plate crimps are an excellent match to their stringing material counterparts in quality and apprearance.
What Materials Go Into Our Illusion Jewelry?
At Perfect Match bridal Jewelry we are committed to creating affordable quality jewelry for you, the buyer, with the highest standards in craftsmanship. To that end we use excellent quality materials.
Beadalon sets the industry standard for quality in illusion jewelry materials. Perfect Match Bridal Jewelry uses Beadalon’s best quality products exclusively for our stringing materials and crimps.
Stringing Materials used by perfect Match Bridal Jewelry include Beadalon Supplemax monofilament, 49 strand silver plated wire, and 49 strand 24k gold plated wire.
Crimps used in our jewelry are the finest size “0” rounded crimp beads in silver and 24k gold plate to perfectly compliment our 49 strand wire and sterling silver and gold fill clasps and earring components.
How to Clean and Store Your Illusion Jewelry
Illusion jewelry should be cleaned with a soft cloth with warm water and dish soap or a polishing cloth such as a Sunshine Polishing Cloth (can be purchased at a local bead store or online). Do not soak multi strand stringing wire in chemical tarnish cleaners as they may adversely effect the nylon coating. If tarnish builds on clasps or other incorporated findings a polishing cloth is the preferred method of removal. If it is light tarnish good old fashioned toothpaste(not gel)and a toothbrush are a good, mild tarnish remover.
Illusion jewelry should be stored clasped and hanging freely or flat with no weight on it. Placing a heavy object on illusion jewelry can cause kinking. Never throw it in a bag and go. To transport necklaces coil them in no smaller than a 3″ diameter coil, then place in a jewelry packaging(gift) box. Necklaces and bracelets should be clasped closed when storing or transporting. Earrings can be stored in a jewelry packaging box or zip lock jewelry bag, but to avoid kinking or creating unwanted small curves in the wire be certain they are not crowded next to or under other jewelry.
It Pays to Know Before you Buy
Before purchasing illusion jewelry it pays to know what materials are being used. The quality of materials the jeweler chooses to implement will greatly effect your experience and satisfaction with your purchase. If a jewelry is not openly advertising the specifics of their materials it is best not to make assumtions. A quick email or phone call to enquire about materials specifics is worth making.
Often illusion jewelry is purchased for a special occasion or to coordinate with a special ensemble and getting it the way you want it is important. You, the buyer deserve the security of knowing that your jewelry will be well crafted, comfortable, easy to wear, durable, and beautiful.
Interested in finding that perfect illusion jewelry for your special day? Click this link to view our jewelry collections.