Monday, December 10, 2012

Using One Strand of Beads to Create Three Necklaces

Not too long ago, my daughter and I went to a bead show.  As we browsed the tables, looking a beads and findings, she spied a strand of chunky red coral beads.  She had been searching for a red necklace, and liked the look of these beads, but she didn't have an idea about how to use them. 

Five minutes later, I won an attendance prize -- a $15 gift certificate good for any vendor in the show!  That $14 strand of coral was suddenly 'free'!   

Beads are typically sold on a 16 inch strand, strung on cheap fishing line.  There were 24 coral nuggets on this strand, but my daughter didn't want to simply restring them on beading wire or knot them with silk cord. 

I have a binder of beading ideas that I clipped from magazines and catalogs, and I started my search for ideas there.  This first necklace was based on a design by Jennifer Judd Velasquez, which appeared in Stringing Magazine in the Summer 2009 issue.

I used silver-plated chain and some smaller 'rice' shaped coral beads I had in my stash.  I added the 2 mm silver balls between each bead to give them some breathing room.  The beads are strung on a short piece of beading wire, which I crimped to the chain.  The finished neckace is 16.5 inches long.

 The second necklace is done up in gold tones, with small, freshwater pearls and vermeil spacers between the coral nuggets.  It looks a little 'dressy.'  I took my inspiration from a similar design by Patricia A. Henry.  Her "Royal Jasper" necklace appeared in the Winter 2007 issue of Stringing Magazine.  The beads toward the back resemble 'paper' beads, but are gold plated.  This necklace is a little longer, with a finished length of 22 inches. 

The final neckace I created with the coral nuggets also resembles a piece found in the Winter 2007 issue of Stringing Magazine (designer unknown).  I love mixing chain with beads, and this allowed me to create a longer necklace using just a few beads.  I used gun metal colored chain in two styles, and picked up some antique silver filiagree beads to help balance the coral.  Although the coral beads are bright red, using the slightly larger silver beads gives them equal weight.  It is hard to see in this photo, but I used 4 mm black Swarovski crystals between the red beads, and 6 mm crystals between the silver beads.  They add just a bit of sparkle to an otherwise 'flat' piece.  I didn't put a clasp on this necklace, because it is 26 inches long.  My daughter wanted a longer piece to wear with sweaters.   
After finishing all three necklaces, I still had three beads left!  I'm sure I'll find something else to do with them.  And, instead of having just one red necklace, my daughter has three from which to choose, each with its own character -- flirty, formal and fun! 

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