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Types of Soutache - Information about Soutache Jewelry Supplies

BeadSmith brand Soutache is:
  • made of either poylester or rayon depending on the color  - in this line, polyester braids are matte and rayon braids are shiny
  • braided more tightly than Imported Soutache - this makes it...slightly "smaller" (see fig. 1) - BeadSmith brand Soutache works extremely well if you are interested in incorporating smaller beads that may otherwise be dwarfed or "swallowed" by the Imported Soutache
  • very consistently sized - made for jewelry designers by jewelry designers
  • less apt to fray

Domestic Soutache
is:
  • made  mostly of rayon but a few colors are polyester -  it is generally  less shiny than the Imported Soutache but not matte
  • braided more tightly than Imported Soutache - this makes it...slightly "smaller" (see fig. 1) - Domestic Soutache works extremely well if you are interested in incorporating smaller beads that may otherwise be dwarfed or "swallowed" by the Imported Soutache.
  • less apt to fray

Imported Soutache
is:
  • made of polyester - this makes it shinier than Domestic Soutache
  • braided less tightly than Domestic Soutache - this makes it...slightly "larger" (see fig. 1) - Imported Soutache works extremely well if your are interested in incorporating larger beads. Domestic Soutache can "slip behind" larger beads in a design
  • more apt to fray (leave more "tail" when trimming Soutache ends and/or dab ends with glue after trimming)


Metallic Soutache
is:

  • made of combinations of polyester, rayon, Lurex and other materials - this makes it
  • Less consistent than non-metallic Soutache - some colors are narrower and sized more like Domestic Soutache, some colors are wider and sized more like Imported Soutache
  • A bit more delicate - the wide, flat fibers that are used to give this type of soutache its metallic sheen can break if a needle is driven through them resulting is small snags. Take your time when working with this material - "twist" your needle to work it past and around the metallic fibers rather than pushing through them
Imported Soutache is slightly larger and thicker than BeadSmith brand or Domestic Soutache. See the figure on the right. The Imported Soutache is a scant wider than 1/8". The BeadSmith brand and Domestic Soutache is a scant more narrow than 1/8"

This may seem like a miniscule difference but it can dramatically affect the look of an overall piece.
 
See the second figure on
the right. the piece on the left is three layers of Imported Soutache worked around a 4mm bead. On the right, three pieces of BeadSmith brand wrapped around the same size bead. In the middle, three pieces of  Domestic. See the difference?

The different types of soutache can be used together - it is harder and more complicated but can be rewarding. ARwS recommends keeping smaller braids near the top and/or bottom of
the "stack" so that it does not get "swallowed" by the Imported Soutache. We also  recommend the most tried- and-true method; trial and error.
To purchase a wide variety of BeadSmith brand, Domestic and Imported Soutache (including Metallics), visit the OnLine Store.

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