Often, the difference between fair looking jewelry and professional looking jewelry is how the piece is finished. The use of clam shell bead tips, also known as calottes, is especially important to the look of hand-knotted jewelry projects. Clam shell bead tips can increase the value of a jewelry piece because they hide the knot at the end of the strand beautifully and reflect the attention to detail that buyers look for. There are several different styles of clam shell bead tips. The style you want to use depends on your application. A single open-loop bead tip is great to use for a necklace design, but may not be strong enough to use in a bracelet design. A double closed-loop bead tip, however, is durable enough for both. Here we will show how to use a double closed-loop bead tip. To see instructions on how to use a single open loop bead tip, click here.
To begin your design, you will want to tie a knot in your stringing material. Pull the string through the hole in the bead tip so that the knot rests in the tip. You want to make sure that the loops on the bead tip are pointing towards the ends of your design, where you will be attaching a toggle or clasp. Make sure the knot is big enough to ensure that you cannot pull it through. You may need to tie multiple knots to achieve this.
Trim the excess stringing material and dab the knot with a dot of GS-Hypo Cement to hold it in place.
Using chain nose pliers, gently press both sides of the bead tip together until they close.
Using chain nose pliers, gently pinch the hinge on the back of the bead tip. Do this on both sides to create a tight closure.
Create a knot just behind your bead tip. This will ensure that the metal does not fray your stringing material with repeated wear.
String your beads. We chose to use a strand of pearls separated by knots.
Finish this end in the same manner as above only this time, create a knot at the end of your bead strand then pull the end of the stringing material up through the bead tip. Make sure the bead tip loops are pointing towards the end of your design.
Create a big enough knot that it cannot slip through the bead tip hole and trim the excess stringing material. Add a dot of GS-Hypo cement to the knot and close the bead tip around the knot. Be sure to use a pair of chain nose pliers to pinch the back hinge on the bead tip for a tight closure.
Add jump rings and a toggle or clasp of your choice.