Time for Pearls
When I read Jean Campbell's post on last-minute gift-giving, I had to laugh when she mentioned pearl jewelry as one of her go-to last-minute gift ideas. Pearls (rather than crystals or gemstones) are definitely my go-to bead type when I'm stumped for a design idea or need a quick project.
My latest necklace (just last week) features teal coin pearls, wrapped loops, and a tiny heart box clasp that is so cute that I wear it so it's on the side of the necklace instead of tucked in the back. (I'm trying not to gush about it, but I'm one of those unfortunate people who thinks that whatever project I just finished is The Best One Ever. Anyone else like that?)
Anyway, as I was putting my new pearl necklace away in my overflowing jewelry box, I decided that I need to be better organized! Nothing was scratched or tangled (thank goodness!) but I thought I better do a little homework and figure out how I should be storing my jewelry, particularly the pearls which I know can be more delicate than other types of beads. Here's some good advice I found in the book Create Jewelry Pearls by Marlene Blessing and Jamie Hogsett:
How to Store Pearls
- To prevent scratching the pearls' surface, avoid placing them next to jewelry or other objects with sharp edges.
- Store in a silk pouch or separate compartment in your jewelry box. Make sure the storage container is porous–pearls need the moisture in the air to maintain their luster.
- Wear your pearls regularly to give them the added advantage of contact with the natural oils in your skin.
For more tips on cleaning, restringing, knotting, shopping for pearls, as well as 20 pearl jewelry designs and tidbits on pearl science and history, see Create Jewelry Pearls by Marlene Blessing and Jamie Hogsett.
New Free Project
by Mary Jane Musser
If your social calendar doesn't include the opera, you can still wear this multistrand pearl necklace to your next party or Sunday brunch. Monochromatic pieces like this one–all silver pearls with a few silver beads–mean that you can turn your attention to other design features, such as mixing shapes (rice and potato pearls, silver rounds, large mother-of-pearl oval) and varying the number of strands. If you're the kind of designer who always makes symmetrical necklaces, you might take a cue from this piece and begin your next design by placing a large focal bead to the side and see what kind of beading magic transpires.
For more great necklace ideas, check out the winter issue of Stringing magazine. There are some lovely, party-worthy pieces in this issue. I have two necklace projects in that issue–and yes, one of them has pearls!
Holiday Schedule: There will be no Beading Daily email December 24-26 because of the holidays. Remember that the forums and free project library never close, so please come by if you need your beading fix!
Michelle Mach shares beading news, contests, reader galleries, and other beady stuff every Monday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.