Calottes are little tiny metal findings that can be used to create a neat finish to a piece of beadwork and enable you to add the clasp. They are perfect for:
Hiding a crimp that is holding the end of the beadwork in place.
Hiding a knot that is securing the beads.
Providing a neat finish for a multi-strand piece of beadwork that has been secured with crimps.
They come in a range of colours so you can match your calottes to the other metal findings in your project. They can also be referred to as clamshells.
How to Use Calottes
When you reach the end of your beadwork, thread the calotte onto your stringing material (there is a little hole at the bottom of the rounded area). Push the calotte along so that it sits right up close to the beads. Now add your crimp, or knot your stringing material. Make sure that the crimp or knot is sitting right inside the hollow area. It is going to end up sitting inside this area when the calotte is fastened, so if you create the knot/crimp further along the thread, outside the calotte area, then when you fasten the calotte shut, you will find that you have a lot of visible thread between your calottes and the end of the beads – this is something you want to avoid. When you have knotted/crimped your thread, cut it off close to the knot/crimp. You want to get as close as possible, but be careful that you leave just a little spare thread to avoid your knot coming undone. Squeeze the two halves of the rounded section shut and your crimp/knot should be hidden inside.
You can attach your clasp to the hooks on the end of the calottes and this gives a very neat and professional finish to your jewellery.
Finishing with a bead in calottes
If you are stringing beads using a lightweight, thin thread, then you may be able to use a bead to finish off inside your calottes. This method is easier than knotting as it allows you to pull the calottes up really close to the beadwork very easily. However, it will only work with fine thread as it requires the thread to pass through the hole in the calotte twice.
When you have strung your final bead, pick up the calotte, pick up a tiny seed bead (size 11 or possibly size 15 – check to see which will fit best inside your calottes) and then pass back through the calotte and back into your string of beads. Pull everything up really tightly and you should find that your tiny seed bead is trapped inside the calotte and everything is lying close to the string of beads. Knot between beads a few times to finish off your thread and seal the calotte as usual and it is ready to attach a clasp.
I am having difficulty finding larger size callottes, always plenty of small, but need for heavier necklaces.
Any suggestions please
I used to be able to get some larger sizes from a bead shop in London, but it recently closed. So, I’m also not sure where to recommend at this point. If I find any shops that could help, I will post links here. It’s worth trying some of the shops in the beading directory in case any can help, but I don’t have any quicker method other than looking at each shop individually. So, thank you for asking about this – I’ll let you know if I find any helpful links.