Here you find a quick overview over the different kinds of beading thread and wire and their special characteristics

How to choose the right cord or string for your jewellery

Through the years we have experienced many times that customers felt unsure about which thread to use for beaded bracelets and necklaces or for weaving and sewing with beads and pearls. That is why we have set up this explaining page.

is a thin nylon thread developed by the Japanese brand Miyuki which produces the well-known Delica and Tila beads. This thread is well-suited for weaving on the beading loom and sewing with beads. For weaving with beads you normally take a flexible split needle. But you can use the thread with a regular beading needle as well. Miyuki beading thread is available in many colours.

was developed by the American company Berkley. It is a special polyethylene thread with a gel coating. This thread is extremely strong and shapeable like waxed cord. It is especially well-suited for beads with small holes as well as for crystals and smaller stone beads with sharp edges.
FireLine can be used for e.g. brick or Peyote stitch because its coated surface provides stiffness to the finished piece, so it can hang freely e.g. in a pair of earrings without collapsing. FireLine is mainly used with a beading needle.
At FireLine is available in the colours black and white and in several diameters from 2LB to 8LB. The most popular though is 6LB with a traction force of 3 kg.


Nymo beading thread

is a very strong nylon thread. It is well-suited for embroidery, tassels and beaded tassels because it falls softly and easily. Nymo beading thread can be used with a split needle or a beading needle. At Smyks we offer it in black and white and different diameters.

This 2m long silk thread is provided with a needle on one end, so beads with small holes can be threaded easily. Silk thread is mainly used for freshwater pearl necklaces with knots in between the pearls, but it can equally be used for other kinds of necklaces finished with crimp ends fastened with jewellery glue. It is not suited for necklaces with large or sharp-edged beads. Silk thread is a natural product and that is why it is a good idea to stretch the thread before working with it. Otherwise it will become loose over time.
The gauge 0.6mm has become popular for bracelets with Delica beads size #11 because it goes with Smyks‘ locking beads with the diameters of 3mm and 4mm.

consists of thin steel wire with a nylon coating. The wire is well-suited for necklaces and bracelets with heavy or sharp-edged stone beads.
You will typically finish the piece of jewellery with a closed ring or jumpring and use crimp beads because you cannot tie knots into the wire.
The gauge 0.25 to 0.30mm is suitable for bracelets and necklaces with Delica beads or seed beads. For necklaces with semi-precious stone beads we recommend wire with a diameter of 0.38mm and upwards.


A very popular and durable jewellery thread, available in a vast number of colours and diameters. You use it for macramé, for kumihimo, necklaces and other kinds of jewellery. Nylon cord is the preferred macramé thread because the cord ends melt when you burn them, which makes it a lot easier to finish the piece of jewellery and to attach a clasp.
For Shambala-style macramé bracelets we recommend thread with a diameter of 1.5-2mm, for smaller macramé bracelets you can take thread with a diameter of 0.5 or 0.9mm.
Please note: If you burn the end of a nylon cord with a diameter of 0.5mm, it fits through Delica beads or seed beads size #11.


Elastic cord and nylon beading wire

The most commonly used kinds of elastic cord for making jewellery are made of silicone and fibre rubber.
Silicone thread is normally crystal clear and transparent but colourful varieties are also available. This thread is rarely used with a needle because it is relatively stiff, so you can pull it through the beads directly. You close the bracelet or necklace with three tight knots and apply a bit of jewellery glue on the knots to prevent them from opening up again. We recommend thread with a diameter of 0.5-0.6mm for a bracelet with seed beads or Delica beads.
Fibre rubber thread is a flat, thin, but strong rubber thread. You thread it on a normal beading needle and pull a double thread through the beads. This kind of elastic cord is mainly used for freshwater pearl bracelets and will fringe when you use sharp-edged glass or stone beads. You close the pearl bracelet with 3 knots or more.
Elastic cord is very children friendly because you don’t need to attach a clasp.


Waxed cotton cord

This kind of cotton cord is available in many colours. Its appearence reminds you immediately of leather cord because it is wax-coated. The coating makes it dirt-repellant and shiny. Waxed cord is typically used for jewellery with a more rustic look like ethnic necklaces with large glass or ceramic beads. In between the beads you tie a knot to create a gap. Waxed cord is used for braided bracelets and many other hobby purposes.


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