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Beading Blog - On knotting pearls on silk

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One woman's adventures in the wide, wonderful world of beading.
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On knotting pearls on silk
posted by Colleen Shirazi, October 17, 2008 at 10:00 PM (Pacific)

griffin silk cord

I finally got around to trying this. Why did I wait so long?????

It's actually not too difficult, though it is time-consuming (then, everything to do with making jewelry tends to be time-consuming). I got the silk and clamshells yesterday, along with a strand of pearls, at Bead Castle in Berkeley. The owner was very helpful and recommended Griffin #4 silk for those particular pearls.

I did my first knotted strand yesterday. Since I don't own a bead awl, I used a very skinny mandrel from a jump ring set. This worked okay (the mandrel is too skinny to make jump rings with, btw) but you really need either the awl or knotting tweezers, or something very similar. I got the tweezers today. The awl seemed scary sharp, and the tweezers looked handier (if your knot looks as if it isn't going to be placed correctly, you can still get it apart again with the tweezers).

I wasn't 100% happy with my first strand, but I'll have to say it looked pretty decent. Like anything else in jewelry making, you want it to be perfect, so you have to practice some.

So I'm planning to redo my initial strand--started it tonight in fact--and make a four-strand necklace. I want to do something like this (from Blue Oyster Pearls Necklaces Catalog) but simpler, something I can wear to work. I have the one large pearl strand, but I'm planning to use it with three strings of small pearls, rather than use five kinds of pearls.

Having just begun, I can't advise much, but I didn't glue the knot into the clamshell on my first try. I was too chicken. A good thing, since I need to redo the strand!

I can say it's well worth the effort of knotting; stringing beads straight is not the same. The knotted string drapes better and imo looks better too. Plus the more obvious advantages--the nacre of pearls strung without knots (or spacers) is supposed to wear away eventually--and knotting adds some instant length to the strand, meaning you can stretch out your pearls and cut the weight of the necklace.

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