Mixing beads and then braiding them may not seam like a difficult approach to making a necklace, and it’s not, but I thought I would show you a few color combinations. Every necklace includes nine strands divided into three separate groups. Braid as usual, bringing the ends toward the middle until all nine strands are loosely draped. Add beads to ends if needed using spring clips on your wire because the braiding will draw up the length. When you are pleased with the drape, length and look, attach strands to the eye pin and prepare it for the cone and toggle closure.
I envisioned this being worn a turtleneck or deep v neckline so I thought the longer length would be a better choice. Plus, when the beads are braided, they seem to lay in the round a little better in a wider arc shape. All of the braids create a cord that doesn’t exactly drape or droop, so as I was making it, I would keep using the necklace form to see how it was progressing. The collection of beads includes chips, seed beads, Czech glass, any strand that catches my eye at bead stores! The strands can be strung in a repeating pattern or in a random to way. It is up to you.
Notice that all of the strands are different, yet related. This project is great fun because you get to use up so many beads from the stash. I call it “Bead Soup” because leftover beads can be used and incorporated.
All of the strands are attached to an eye loop of 20 guage wire and put up inside the cones. I then attach the toggle ends and finish with a wire wrap.
The next color combination used up some of my deep purple and green beads as well as iridescent blends of both colors. If possible, I blend both matte and shiny finishes to add interest.
As you may be able to see, the thickness of these necklaces is determined by the thickness of the beads used. It also affects the drape. I have found that the smaller seed beads keep the necklace more pliable.
The same technique is used to finish this purple and green 21 inch version.
This is the dressiest of the three necklaces. I haven’t worn this as often in the past, but now that fancy, statement necklaces are more popular, it will get more use.
If you love the look of pearls with casual outfits, you could make this with various size pearls and make the necklace more substantial. It would also sit higher on the neck with thicker beads or pearls.
I’m afraid my resources aren’t easy to track. I frequent the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show when it comes to Tucson every February. Purchasing findings are my goal every year, and I don’t always record all vendors and respective purchases. My routine involves coming home and putting newly purchased items with older like-items as an effort to stay organized. I make jewelry for myself and not to sell so it has never been too important.
I am particularly fond of the new pewter findings because they don’t tarnish. There are plenty of sterling components in my collection in the way of closures, spacer beads, end caps which just take more polish maintenance because they sit and don’t get worn as often. However, there is nothing like the beauty of shiny sterling silver. I am lucky to not have any metal allergies which would, of course, change everything.
What is your preferred closure choice and metal preference?