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Classic Pearls Necklace

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Instructions for making Classic Pearls Necklace out of bead-stringing wire, pearl beads, seed beads and jewelry making supplies using common jewelry tools:

 

One of the most classic jewelry items is a string of pearl beads.  Historically, pearls were strung on silk thread in a color of silk that matched the shade of the pearls.  Between each pearl in the strand was a knot in the silk thread.  This made it rather time consuming to make an 18 inch strand of pearls.  The reason for the knot was simple.  The silk thread breaks.  The inside of the beads saws on the thread and over time normal wear will cause the silk thread to break  With a knot between each bead, when the silk thread did break, you were only in danger of losing one bead. 

With the newer bead stringing wire, you can avoid the problem of breakage.  Now the question is how to you retain the classic separation between the pearls?  In this project we will show how to string pearls on Soft Touch, the newest and most flexible bead stringing wire and yet retain the classic look of pearls.  We will also make a clasp for our necklace using our WigJig jewelry tools.


Classic Pearl Beads Necklace made using common jewelry supplies.
Classic Pearl Necklace

 

In the past, one tried to minimize contact between pearls and any metal because usually the metal was harder than the pearls and over time would erode the pearls.  With these new Swarovski Crystal Pearls, we can allow metal to touch the "crystal pearl" without worrying about destroying the glass pearls.

 

 


Black Pearl Beads Bracelet made using common jewelry supplies and jewelry tools.

Pearl Bracelet

Jewelry Supplies Required:

Jewelry Tools Required:

  • 6 inches of 18G jewelry wire preferably 1/2 hard (necklace)
  • 4 inches of 22 or 24G jewelry wire preferably 1/2 hard (necklace)
  • 60 6mm Swarovski Crystal Pearl Beads (necklace) (24 for bracelet)
  • 60 1mm Crimp Beads (necklace) (24 for bracelet)
  • 30 inches of Soft Touch bead stringing wire
  • 2 2x2mm crimp beads (both)
  • One commercial clasp (Bracelet)
  • 2.5 inches fine chain (bracelet)
  • Nylon Jaw Pliers
  • Round Nose Pliers
  • Flush Cutter
  • Soft Flex Cutter
  • Chain Nose or Bent Chain Nose Pliers (2)
  • Any WigJig jewelry tool
  • 2 metal pegs and two 3/16" Super Pegs
  • Bead Crimping Pliers
  • 30 minutes of free time

Jewelry Making Skills Required:

Step-by-step instructions for making Clasic Pearls Necklace using common jewelry tools, bead-stringing wire, beads and common jewelry supplies:

Step 1:  This jewelry making project starts by making two Flemish Spiral wire components which will ultimately become the clasp for the necklace.  The peg pattern on your WigJig jewelry tool for making this component is shown below, right.  It requires two regular metal pegs and two 3/16" Super Pegs.  Position your pegs in your jewelry making jig as shown.  (The WigJig Delphi jewelry tool is shown, but this pattern can also be made in the Olympus or Olympus-Lite jewelry tool.)

Classic Pearl Beads Necklace showing clasp made using jewelry wire and WigJig jewelry tools.
Pearl Necklace




Step 2:  Cut two three inch long segments of 18 gauge jewelry wire.  1/2 hard wire works best if available.

Step 3:  Make a loop in one end of the jewelry wire using your round nose pliers (or step jaw pliers if you have them).

Instructions for making Classic Pearl Beads Necklace using WigJig jewelry making tools to shape jewelry wire.
Peg Pattern on WigJig
Delphi Jewelry Tool

Step 4:  Straighten the jewelry wire.  Use your nylon jaw pliers, if you have them.

Step 5:  Wrap the jewelry wire around the pegs as shown above.


Step 6:  Remove the wire from the WigJig jewelry tool and complete the Flemish Spiral wire component by making the loop in the wire tail with your round nose or step jaw pliers.  When completed the jewelry wire component should appear as shown at right.

Step 6 to instructions for making a Classic Pearl Beads Necklace using common jewelry making supplies.
Step 6

Step 7:  Now wrap 22 or 24G jewelry wire around one loop in the jewelry wire component and the center diagonal wire segment.  This effectively closes one loop in the wire component and leaves the other open.  Do this for two Flemish Spiral wire components. 

Step 7 to instructions for making a Classic Pearl Beads Necklace using jewelry wire and common jewelry tools.

Step 7


Step 8:  Now we need to get ready to thread the beads.  First, using your Soft Flex or other stainless steel cutter, cut 20 inches of Soft Flex or Soft Touch .019 bead stringing wire.  It is very important that you do not use your jewelry flush cutters as this can ruin this tool.

Step 9:  Now thread a 2x2mm crimp bead onto one end of the bead stringing wire.  Then wrap the wire through the closed loop in the one of the wire components that you made and back through the crimp bead.  When done, your piece should appear as shown at right.  Once the crimp bead is in place, crimp it closed using the jewelry making technique shown here.  Cut the excess wire off using your stainless steel wire cutters.

 

 

Step 8 to instructions for making Classic Pearl Beads Necklace using common jewelry tools and supplies.

Step 9


Step 10:  Now we begin threading beads separated by 1mm crimp beads onto your bead stringing wire.  Thread one 6mm Swarvoski Crystal Pearl followed by a crimp bead followed by a crystal pearl bead, etc.  Thread a total of 60 6mm crystal pearl beads and 59 1mm crimp beads onto your bead stringing wire.  Do not do what I did, and accidentally pick up your project by the wrong end.  I ended up playing find the bouncing bead.  To avoid this problem, the second time I strung the necklace, I used a plastic hemostat clamp to hold the open end of the bead stringing wire whenever I set the piece down. 

Step 9 to instructions for making Classic Pearl Beads Necklace using jewelry supplies and common jewelry tools.



Classic Pearl Beads Bracelet made out of black pearl beads and common jewelry making supplies.

Step 11:  When you have strung your 60th bead, add a 2x2mm bead crimp.  Loop the wire through the closed end of the second clasp that you made and back through the crimp bead.  Pull the wire so that your beads and crimp bead rest securely against your clasp with minimum bead stringing wire showing.  Using your bead crimping pliers, crimp the crimp bead closed and cut the excess bead stringing wire.  Now hold your project at arms length and admire your classic pearl beads necklace.

Completed Classic Pearl Beads Necklace showing clasp made on WigJig jewelry tools out of jewelry wire.

Summary of jewelry making instructions:

A pearl beads necklace is a classic jewelry item that you will find in most jewelry boxes.  This project does not use the same technology that was used even 30 years ago to make a pearl necklace.  Instead, we use bead stringing wire to make a necklace that should last much longer than the necklaces made with silk thread.  We have used seed beads in this necklace design so that the pearl beads are spaced the same as the classic pearl necklace from hundreds of years ago.  If you don't already own a pearl beads necklace -- get busy and make your own.  It isn't expensive and it is relatively easy to make.

 

 



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