Silk, Nylon, or High Performance? Griffin Bead Cord Explained

Graphic with white background reading ‘Silk, NylonPower or High Performance? Griffin’s Carded Bead Cord Explained’ with examples of Griffin thread to left

Bead stringing has been around pretty much for as long as mankind has, and it's set to stay as popular as ever. We may have moved on from stringing teeth, shells, and stones on simple leather, but the premise is still the same. We want to show our precious beads and wares to others on a safely and securely strung piece of jewellery.

There are numerous threads and cords available nowadays, all designed for different on and off-loom work, bead weaving, bead embroidery, and so on. But when it comes to stringing high-quality or valuable beads (such as pearls, crystals, or semi-precious), Griffin bead cord has a lion's share of products to suit this particular style of jewellery. 

Griffin logo

Griffin is a family-run company in Germany and has been around since 1866. For over 150 years, they have continued their company's fine tradition as a manufacturer and wholesaler of top-quality bead-stringing materials and jewellery accessories.

Griffin manufactures many types of thread and cord, however for our blog today we're focusing on our three main Griffin thread - 100% Natural Silk, NylonPower and High Performance.

Pile of colourful Griffin silk cord cards

Griffin Silk Thread

Whilst silk is wonderfully soft and smooth, Griffin silk thread is also incredibly strong and has very little stretch. Because of this, it is a classic stringing material. It is perfect for knotting and creating a natural drape by following the contours of your body. 

Griffin 100% natural silk bead cord is made out of the high-quality centre part of the silk cocoon, which gives the thread a unique softness and a beautiful lustre.

All Griffin bead threads have a stainless steel needle already attached, so you don't have to try and thread a tiny needle yourself - ingenious!


Whereas silk is the classic choice for stringing, Griffin Nylon bead cord (NylonPower) is the contemporary alternative. It is an extremely strong, extra-treated nylon (twice as strong as ordinary nylon).

Under tension, Griffin Nylon cord stretches up to 4%, however once released it returns back to its original state. This is a great feature for knotting, as it allows you to create knots very precisely, tightly and permanently.

Remember, all carded bead threads from CJ Beaders have a stainless steel needle attached, meaning much quicker and easier stringing - perfect!

Multiple carded Griffin nylon cord cards in various bright colours

Single Griffin high performance bead cord card in white

Griffin High Performance Bead Cord

Griffin High Performance bead cord is the strongest of them all. In fact, it is almost unbreakable, even with the thinnest of diameters.

It has high-tech fibres that have an especially dense molecular structure. They are 15 times stronger than steel and cannot be torn apart by hand!

The thread is still just as soft and supple as the silk, and does not stretch over time, so it is the perfect choice for even the hardiest of stringers! 

You may have noticed from the pictures above that all the threads mentioned are twisted, and there's a very good reason for that!

All Griffin threads have the precise number of twists under their optimal tension to prevent fraying, tangling and getting itself knotted. Griffin prides itself on this mark of quality.

21 Griffin bead cord colours with labels on white background

There are 21 available colours and multiple diameters available in both the 100% Natural Griffin Silk Thread and Griffin Nylon Cord (subject to stock availability).

The colours are based on popular natural gemstone colours, helping you to match your thread as closely as possible.

These are the thirteen card numbers and corresponding thread diameters for both 100% Natural Silk and Nylon Power also.

When considering which diameter to pick, you should ensure the thread easily passes twice through the bead with the smallest hole, to allow you to finish the thread neatly and securely.

Please note, Griffin High Performance bead cord is only available in White. It is also available only in 10 different card numbers - 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10.

Diagram showing various diameter sizes for Griffin threads

You can check the diameter of the bead with the smallest hole in a few different ways:

1. If you have other bead threads to hand, such as Fireline or Wild Fire, these have diameters on the spools so can be used as a good gauge for your Griffin bead cord. If your thread does not have a diameter on it, but it is a common thread e.g. Nymo, try Googling some information on it to see if you can source the measurements. 

2. You can try using small bead calipers, however these may not go as small as you need to get an accurate measurement

3. You may be able to measure the hole by holding a standard ruler over the bead hole. Although not the most accurate, this should give you an idea of how wide the hole is

4. Try using needles or bead reamers with different thicknesses and marking where the bead passes or gets stuck. If a bead gets stuck, you can carefully remove the bead and measure the diameter of the needle using a ruler or tape measure. Again, this is not perfectly accurate but you may find it easier to see than measuring a bead hole

When it comes to the diameter, we would recommend you err on the side of caution and go with a thinner thread. That way you can always double your thread or pass through the holes a couple of times, instead of getting a bead stuck and eventually breaking either the bead, the thread or the needle.

The next question to ask is "To Knot or Not Knot"?!

We've mentioned a few times about knotting necklaces, but should you do this? Well, actually yes it is a good idea, especially if you are using precious or valuable beads. Of course, this also depends on the style of necklace you're creating, but if you're making a simple strung necklace that really shows off the quality of the beads, knotting is the way to go and here's why:

1. A knotted necklace or bracelet is safe and secure. If it should get caught and break, you may only lose 1-2 bead maximum instead of the whole lot

2. The knots will stop the beads from rubbing or wearing against each other, so decreasing the likelihood of damage or even breakage

3. A knotted necklace gives a fantastic drape against the body and will help to accentuate each and every individual bead

4. When using Griffin bead cord, as there is no real stretch, your necklace or bracelet will retain its shape over a long period of time - no gaps will appear between beads and no extra thread will end up showing around the clasp area over time

If you do choose to knot your design, please remember to allow double the amount of thread needed for your piece e.g. a 40cm necklace would need 80cm of thread. Also think about your bead sizes - larger beads might need slightly less thread as you would need less knots, whereas smaller beads may need more thread due to needing more knots.

So there we have it, plenty of options for stringing those lovely beads and keeping them safe. To see our range of Griffin thread, click the links below…

Bead beautifully!

Show me the Natural Griffin 100% Natural Silk Bead Cord selection

Show me the Griffin Nylon Cord (NylonPower) selection

Show me the Griffin High Performance Bead Cord selection

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