Even though I don't do it too often, I love knotting strands
of pearls and gemstone beads. There's
nothing quite as iconic as a single strand of knotted pearls: I'm thinking of June Cleaver or Jackie O. Pearls add instance elegance and class to any
special outfit. With wedding and prom
season coming up, it's the perfect time to brush up on your knotting skills
with some fine finishing techniques.
Using knotting to string pearls, gemstone beads, crystals,
or even vintage glass beads is the perfect way to protect these little
treasures. Placing small knots between
beads on a strand of silk cord protects the holes of the beads from chips that
could eventually damage the beads.
There's also a certain graceful flow to a strand of knotted pearls that
you wouldn't get if you just strung them on a piece of jewelry wire - each
pearl is sort of free to move around on its own.
You don't need a fancy pearl knotting tool to make your own
knotted pearl or bead necklaces, either.
A simple awl or a pair of fine-pointed tweezers will work perfectly to
get you started.
Giving your knotted pearl strands a professional finish
requires a little thought before you sit down to start knotting, so take a look
at my two favorite ways to finish a knotted pearl necklace and see which one
tips, or clamshells, can be used to make a professional finish on your knotted
pearl necklaces. To use a clamshell, tie
a knot in the end of your silk cord without a needle. Pass the needle through the clamshell from
the inside toward the outside so that the knot rests in the center of the
clamshell. It might also be helpful to
tie the knot around a tiny seed bead and add a drop of glue to hold it
securely. Close the clamshell with a pair
of flat-nose pliers. Tie another knot on
the outside of the clamshell, string a pearl or a bead, and tie another
When you get to the end of the
strand, tie a knot and string on the other clamshell. Tie another knot, either with or without a
seed bead, and use your awl or knotting tool to gently position the knot in the
center of the clamshell. Close the
clamshell and add your clasp.
This stuff used to be called French Bullion, but whatever it's called,
it's a great way to add a professional finish to your knotted pearl
necklaces. This technique is a little
more complicated, but looks absolutely lovely.
Make sure that your pearls can accommodate more than one pass with your
needle and silk - if not, use a bead reamer to gently open the holes a bit
before you begin.
To use french wire,
cut a piece of wire about ¼ inch long.
Tie a knot in your silk without the needle on it and string two
pearls. Slide on the piece of french
wire and one half of your clasp and push them down against the pearls, leaving
a little bit of space between each pearl.
Pass your needle back through the last pearl you strung, pulling snugly
so that the french wire forms a little loop against the pearl. Tie a knot, using your awl or knotting
tool. Pass your needle through the next
pearl or bead and tie a knot.
trim the knot you originally tied to keep the pearls on the silk cord
some glue to your knots between the first two pearls. When you get down
to the last two pearls,
string them on together, leaving a little space between each one. Add
another ¼ inch piece of french wire and
your clasp and pass back through the last pearl you strung. Tie your
knots as you did at the beginning of the strand and then trim your silk
thread close to the knots.
There you have it! If
you need some more ideas for beautiful wedding jewelry using pearls, crystals,
and chain, you'll definitely want to take a look at the Best of Stringing: Weddings for twelve beautiful wedding jewelry
projects and more helpful advice on how to design the perfect wedding jewelry
for a bride, a bridesmaid, or a special family member.
Filed under: Gemstones, Pearls, Crystals, Bead Making, Stringing, Glass Beads, How To Bead, Seed Bead Patterns, Bead-weaving, Beading Tools, Necklace Making, Beaded Wedding Jewelry, Beads, Jewelry Making, Pearl