Metal beads can be either solid gold/silver etc, which are often expensive, or plated. I tend not to work with larger metal beads (they cost a lot!), but I use small beads and 'spacers' extensively. A bit of a glint can 'lift' dark colours, make simple beads look more expensive, and they complement semi precious stones wonderfully well.

Spacer beads can be plain or 'stardust' rounds, or little plain discs in various widths. There are also some charming little ornate beads if you are happy to spend a little more. If you do want large metal beads, consider metallic effect acrylic (see acrylics page). They can be very effective and are a fraction of the cost.

Even if you don't have metal beads in your jewellery, chances are the fastenings will be metal, so if you want to commission an item you need to choose a gold or silver preference. Some 'findings' are also available in a black, bronzy or copper finish. The choice of metal can make a considerable difference to the 'look' of a piece, so choose carefully.

I had a House of Colour colour analysis done recently. I am a 'Winter', so I'm supposed to wear only silver, not gold. I don't always stick to it, but silver designs do generally suit me better than gold. If in doubt, try a few things on and see how your skin looks against each metal - bright and alive, or a bit washed out. Try to ignore the price difference, and if in doubt, ask a few friends and relatives for their opinion.

Jewellery 'findings' include all the clasps, fastenings, earring wires and other bits and bobs. Plain basic findings are inexpensive and work fine, though you may have a preference for style of fastening on necklaces. If you want something a bit special, you can spend considerably more on an ornate clasp. It's only really worth it for a necklace if it will be on show: short hair or hair up with an open-necked garment. I always use a nicer clasp on bracelets, however, since they are more visible.