Free Project: Caribbean Sunset Multistrand Necklace with Pendant

Feb 14, 2008

 Inspiring Focal Beads

When I asked Beading Daily readers a few weeks ago to tell me about their "problem" beads, lampwork or other focal types of beads were at the top of the list. In most cases, it wasn't that the bead was actually a problem--they weren't extremely heavy or hard to string. Instead, it was a question of how to best showcase a beautiful bead that you really love. The good news is that it's easier than you think. 

Free project: Caribbean Sunset Necklace

Julia Watt began her Caribbean Sunset Necklace with the shell pendant, which inspired the colors of the necklace, the use of natural beads (pearls and fossilized coral), and the "ocean" elements like the silver dolphin clasp and fish bead. Using a pendant as a starting place for a design is a tried-and-true technique that I've used many times.

Try this: choose one or more colors from the focal bead to use in your own necklace. You don't need to match the colors exactly--you can choose darker or lighter shades, or mix them to add depth. If you're really adventurous, add some contrasting elements. You could choose a color on the opposite side of the color wheel (orange and blue?!), matte beads (to contrast with the shine of the pendant), rugged man-made beads instead of smooth, natural pearls (Lucite nuggets?) . . . anything you like!

In addition to the pendant, there are two other features in this necklace that are worth a closer look:

A Singular Sensation 

I often wonder what to do with the single beads in my collection. If you have two beads leftover from a project, then obviously you make a pair of earrings, right? But how do you use a single bead--especially one not large enough to be a focal? The simple addition of this silver fish bead adds visual interest to a symmetrical necklace, but does not detract from the glorious focal bead. If you want to start creating asymmetrical necklaces, this little step of throwing in a slightly larger random bead on one side of the necklace is a great place to start.

How to Use Cones in Multistrand Necklaces

The Caribbean Sunset necklace uses a one-to-three design with one strand at the back transitioning to three strands in the front. Multistrand necklaces are fun to make, but for me, the multiple strands at the back of the neck can feel too bulky (especially if you like your necklaces tucked under your shirt collar), so I really like the idea of a necklace that has the multiple strands only in the front. Whatever kind of multistrand necklace you create, you may want to use cones to cover the ends and keep them neat. 

To use a cone, attach the strands to an eye pin, pass the eye pin through the wide end of the cone, covering the ends of the strands. Form a wrapped loop at the tip of the cone that attaches to the clasp. (This necklace uses a wrapped loop on both ends, which is another option if you don't have any eye pins.)

About the Designer

Julia Watt is a freelance photographer, clothing/costume designer, pianist, wife, and mom. (And she still has time to bead!) See two of Julia's designs ("Crystallized Pearls" and "Marrakech Set") in the Spring 2008 issue of Stringing on sale February 28, 2008. You can learn more about Julia on her website:

No Beading Daily on Monday, February 18 because of the holiday (President's Day). Here are two things to keep you busy in the meantime:

Start your glass jewelry design for the Beading Daily glass bead design challenge and you could win a fabulous lampwork focal bead or a cool new book! Entries are due March 2, 2008. Learn More.

Vote for the free project from Lisa Kan's Bead Romantique. Last day to vote is Monday, February 18, 2008. One vote per person; the project with the most votes will be free to Beading Daily members for a limited time. View the Projects and Vote Now.



Michelle Mach is the editor of Beading Daily. She can't stop thinking about the orange and blue combination that she mentioned today. That sounds like a challenge! What's the most difficult color combination you've ever worked with?

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+ Add a comment


Coley J wrote
on Feb 15, 2008 12:45 PM
I am not sure if this is necessarily difficult but I really love pink and black together as well as very light pink and very very dark navy. I love the contrast elements of it all. As I've mentioned before, love teal and brown together too. I think orange and blue would be way pretty - especially for summer. Hmmm.....thanks for the idea!
AllegraC2 wrote
on Feb 16, 2008 10:58 PM
Award-winning colour combinations are eternally elusive... And then you think that the colours will look good together when you just put two to three beads side by side and then when the piece is done, you hate it! I personally love matte + shiny together. I found that green matte + orange translucent + purple translucent is a good combination.
Kelli@23 wrote
on Feb 19, 2008 1:07 PM
On impulse, I bought a large Venetian focal bead with many colors swirling in it: sky blue, berry pink, lemon yellow, green, gold leaf, all on a matte white background. Gorgeous, but as it turned out, difficult. If I placed beads of one of these colors against the focal bead, the other colors looked out of place. And white beads just looked old-ladyish. I finally decided to use mostly turquoise charlottes and accent them with white pearls and berry-colored pearls (red, white & blue). I made free-form netting. Each element I added changed the proportion of the whole thing, and so I just kept adding netting and finally a fringe of pearl drops UNDER the focal bead, until the whole thing became absurd. I can't say I really like the piece, but it does elicit comment. (Kelli P.)
SherryS@23 wrote
on Feb 19, 2008 4:48 PM
Nicole, I had a customer ask me to design an orange and blue necklace for her sister as a gift. I searched and searched for the right stones and finally came up with opaque orange glass, sodalite, and antiqued brass. I loved it and better yet, She loved it. I would never have worked with those colors if she had not suggested them.
on Feb 20, 2008 6:30 PM
Hello my dear: every think is so pretty. I love every design, I try do it, but I´m begining in peyote stich and another stiches too.

Thank you, because this web site is really very interesting. Congratulations. God bless you.
on Aug 5, 2011 9:11 AM

hi i'm starting to learn how to bead i'm only a child so are there any tips i could have