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View information on Pearls, the birthstone for June
because they are a naturally occurring material, have been used in
making jewelry for centuries. There are references to pearls
used in making jewelry both the Bible and in the Quran. Pearl
beads were also used in ancient Hindu civilizations.
Historically, pearl beads were used in making necklaces and less
frequently in earrings. Because pearl beads are a relatively
soft material (hardness of 3 on the Mohs hardness scale), it is
strongly recommended to limit the use of pearl beads to necklaces
and earrings. Rings and bracelets are probably not a good use
for pearls because the abrasion due to wear can damage the pearl.
There are several techniques for making jewelry using pearl beads. By far the oldest is to use silk thread and string the beads to form a necklace. With silk thread, you must knot the silk between each bead. The reason for these knots is that the silk thread is softer than the pearls and therefore the pearl beads will slowly but surely saw their way through the silk, causing the necklace to break. With the knotting, in the worst case, you will only lose one bead when the strand breads. A well known manufacturer of pearl necklaces says it isn't a question of will the silk break, it is only a question of when. For this reason, this manufacturer recommends that pearl necklaces be restrung every two years.
Because of the knots between each pearl bead, you get the visual effect shown above-right of spaces between each pearl bead. Please select the picture shown at right to view our instructions for making necklaces by knotting silk thread.
Technology has advanced and in the 21st century a solution was developed that did not leave us at the point of guessing when a necklace would break. Now we can string necklaces on stainless steel bead stringing wire. As with all things there are many different qualities of bead stringing wire. Please be cautious in purchasing this product. Some brands aren't as flexible and as a result, they can suffer metal fatigue and break. The only brand that we recommend is the Soft Flex Brand. Our personal preference for all bead stringing projects is the .019 size of Soft Touch, the premium Soft Flex product. With freshwater pearl beads you will probably find that the .014 size of Soft Touch will be required due to the small size of the holes drilled in freshwater pearl beads.
Given that we now have a bead stringing product that will not break, how does this impact how we make a necklace? This part is simple. Tying knots between each bead is very time consuming and when we know that the necklace is strung on a material that won't break, it is also unnecessary. For this reason, when using Soft Flex or Soft Touch, we don't tie a knot between each bead. In fact, we don't tie a knot at all. Instead we use crimp beads and crimping pliers to fix the bead stringing wire on either end to the clasp and in between, we merely string beads. To give the same visual effect that we get by knotting between each bead, we replace the knot with a seed bead that is the same size. If you look closely at the necklace shown at right, you can view size 6 seed beads between each larger bead. Size 6 is the larger size of seed beads, by using smaller size 11 seed beads, the individual seed beads will not be discernable. Please select the picture above-left to view our instructions on how to make that three strand necklace. Select here for instructions on how to perform the crimping on either end. Using Soft Touch Bead stringing wire, crimp beads, and crimping pliers, you should be able to make an 18 or 24" single strand of pearl beads (separated by seed beads) in about an hour.
We have many approaches for making earrings with pearl beads. With almost any earring design on our web site you can replace glass beads with pearl beads to make a nice pair of earrings. The chandelier earrings shown at right are a good example. Please select the picture at right to view our instructions on how to make those earrings.
We also have a new way to make simple pearl bead earrings using half-drilled beads and cup type findings with a post for setting the half drilled beads. The earrings shown at left are slightly larger than life size. The post finding used here can set 6mm or 8mm 1/2 drilled beads. Setting the beads is very simple, but does use glue to hold the 1/2 drilled beads on the posts. Please select the picture shown above-left to view our instructions for making these post type earrings with 1/2 drilled pearl beads.
We hope you like our jewelry making projects using pearl beads. These projects make excellent birthday gifts for someone born in June because pearls are the birthstone for June.
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