Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Knotted Crystals with Spaces

If you have been with me for awhile you know I have a customer who often brings vintage jewelry and beads to me for repair or update. 

A big departure from the Bear Claw Necklaces project I blogged about earlier this year is a necklace she would like me to do for her.  It involves gorgeous clear crystal rondels in graduated sizes, the thread being knotted to leave space between each bead. 


The thread is broken and unraveling.  I cannot tell but what it may have been completely broken at one time or had some other beads along this thread for there are no knots there.  One end of the box clasp is missing.

I decided to redo it with what is here and not add anything but I needed to keep the spacing with the knots.  I loved the novel design (new to me at least) and wanted to challenge myself.

The vintage necklace got a little bath - strung.  Usually I unstring beads for their bath.  But on this one, I didn't want to have to use a caliper to correctly string them in graduated fashion, so decided to cut them one by one as I did the stringing. 


My first thought after measuring the spaces was to use 3mm bugle beads and crush them later.  Wow!  Problem solved, or so I thought. 

But the size 10 silk Bead Cord I purchased to simulate what had been used before would not fit through the bugle beads.    I looked up the hole diameter of size 11 seedbeads and saw that they were a little larger than bugle beads.  They are generally 1.8mm long so I decided using two would work; they didn't fit on the cord either. 

Well, seedbead size 6 did fit over the cord.  I put four crystals on with these as spacers and crushed them just to make sure the space was right.  It was a little short but that was not the worst of it.  Crushing these glass beads cut into the silk thread and caused it to fray looking very unsightly, certainly not safe!

Glass was not going to work.  I had to use another substance that could be put on and taken off after the 'knotting'.  I had several metal findings to try and finally ended up with a 4mm crimp cover which I tightened just enough to let the cord slip through and hold it in place through the procedure.

Voila!  - - - A process in place, clicking along . . .

Until I got to the bottom of the curve and realized the beads on the curve were looking crowded.  Easy enough fix - just lengthen the spaces.

But now the beads look a little jumbly on the bottom - a couple bunching together and leaving a super large space.  Hum!  I think I need to finish the piece and mull this over a bit.  Perhaps glue on the cord in the middle of the space - but that will take away the free flow of the piece.  Do I care?  I don't know?!?!?!?


It was great to put the finishing touches on this necklace - here was familiar territory.  Here is a picture of the finished piece.  Still not sure how or if I will change the bottom curve.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I think it looks great! Who knew there was so much involved in beading? Well, of course you knew that. Thanks for sharing the process.

  2. Came out really nice -- I enjoyed reading about the process!

  3. finished product is lovely!! I've never made my own jewelry so honestly had no idea how much work is involved . . .wow

  4. Very beautiful end result and great job with the fix!!
    A lot of work, well done!!

  5. Wow, what a challenge and you finished perfectly! So much work and patience but so rewarding at the end, right? That is a pretty vintage necklace!

  6. Now they look brand new again. Great work.

  7. Wow, Luella... I know NOTHING about spacing, beading, or making jewelry, but I know that this necklace looks phenomenal. I often go to Michaels, and aside from the first aisle being devoted to all things Martha Stewart, the next couple of aisles are all jewelry making. I pass by, again, because I never knew anything about it, but after reading your post, it seems like an amazing amount of work goes into it! I don't think the average person appreciates exactly how much fine-tuning and being careful is involved... kudos to you on a great job! I am a fan :)