Introduction: Blue Grotto Necklace Using Crimp Beads
I love working with pearls. I just love how such a they can make a simple necklace so gorgeous and how they look so spectacular with so many things. However, if you are like me, it can either be hard to find strong thread thin enough to fit through the holes, tying knots well enough to get the tension right is a pain in the neck, or a combination of the two. I have such a hard time managing the knots, and if the knots look bad or if the pearls gap it can ruin the whole piece, so I have started using crimp beads and beading wire. Beading wire is strong, thin, and it doesn't fray so you don't have to bother with finding an appropriate needle. Crimp beads hold the beading wire in place well, make the problem of tension so much easier, and eliminate the problem of knots all together. Beading wire is a bit more expensive than most string, and crimp beads require extra tools, but I find that the small initial investment is very much worth it in the long run. So, here is one of my favorite pearl necklaces so far, made with crimp beads and beading wire.
- Aqua top drilled pearls(I think it was a 15-16 inch strand)
- A dolphin toggle clasp
- Classic Accu-Flex 21 strand beading wire
- 2mm crimp beads
- 3mm crimp covers
- Wire cutters
- Crimp pliers
All of this should be available on firemountaingems.com. I have had incredible luck with them, the quality is amazing. Every time I have ordered something from them they have gone above and beyond the promised quality. Their shipping isn't free, and the reviews of the individual products are hard to find, but they are still my favorite online supplier of beads. If you prefer shopping for your beads in person, Michals is good for the basics, but they have a poor selection, personally, if I am looking for anything specific, I have the best success in small, local shops just for beading supplies. I could name Ecco, if you are in the Seattle area, or Star's Beads in the DMV area, both personal favorites of mine.
Step 1: The Crimping Process
To start with you will want to thread the crimp bead, then one side of the toggle clasp onto the beading wire and thread the tail back through the crimp tube. Once you have adjusted the crimp bead so that you like the resulting loop, use the crimping pliers to close the crimp and use the progressively smaller holes to bend the crimp in half. Hold the crimp cover in the largest of the holes on the crimping pliers and slide it over the crimp, gently(!!!!) close the crimp cover over the crimp. This can be a finicky process, and if you are doing this for the first time I suggest that you practice several times on scrap pieces of beading wire before trying it on the necklace. If I had followed my own advice when I first started using them it would have saved me a lot of agony. I also do advise using crimp covers. The necklace will stay in place just fine without them, and many big companies don't use them in all of their products, but it leads to a much more finished looking result.
Step 2: Stringing the Pearls
Rather self explanatory in this case, I literally just took the pearls off the string and transferred them to the beading wire. I liked the length of the original strand, so I strung all of them without bothering to measure it, but I suggest playing around with different lengths to find one you like.
Step 3: Repeat the Crimping Process on the Other Side
This is where tension becomes important. While adjusting the crimp bead, make sure that the beads won't gap when you hold it up, but the necklace still bends easily. This is the hardest part for me. It is very easy to end up with too loose tension and a necklace that gaps, or too tight tension and a necklace that bends awkwardly. Both end up with unsightly results, so I strongly suggest you be patient during this step and make sure you like the end product. I have no idea how many times I have thought a necklace looked terrible because it had poor tension.
Step 4: And . . . You're Done!!!
Now that you have completed your super simple(and gorgeous!!!!!) new pearl necklace, sit back and enjoy the works of your hands. A good next step would be to try a necklace like this with a box clasp, or alternating the pearls with small crystals, or make a matching bracelet! I hope you enjoyed making this necklace!
Until next time,
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