Basics of Pearl Stringing! Let’s make a Bracelet!

If you want to learn how to string pearls, you’re in the right place.  This tutorial is going to cover the basics of stringing and knotting pearls.  In the video, you can see how we do it.  After the video, we’ll discuss some of the tools you’ll need, where to get them, and some of the details of pearl stringing.

Watch me string a Bracelet!

 

Knotting Pearls…

String pearls would not be the same if you don’t knot in-between each pearl.  This is very important to do, because of the delicate nature of a pearl.

I’m not going to get into the details of the creation of a pearl, just the basics here.  Pearls are made of of materials that shell fish take in, and as a result of their eating and digestive habits, result in the making of a pearl.  Pearls are found throughout nature, and in pearl farms.  Yes, they are farmed also.

Why do we knot?  The short and simple answer is that pearls are very delicate.  The inner part of the pearl is covered with a shiny, attractive coating that makes a pearl so desirable.  The size and shape of a pearl makes it better or worse than others, but we’ll cover that in a different article.

When a good stringer knots in-between the pearls, he or she is taking the time to make sure that on the necklace or bracelet, the pearls do not rub on each other, and cause that shiny service to chip and crack.  The knots keep each pearl from touching each other, and making the necklace last a very long time.

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What kind of string do you use?

The short and sweet of this, is that pearl string itself comes in a variety of different sizes.  D, DD, E, EE, F, etc…  Pearl string is usually made up of some silk content, and this also helps to protect the pearl.  The smoothness of the string keeps the holes drilled into each pearl safe.  A more aggressive string make with synthetic fibers, make act like a saw blade, and cut into the pearl.  This is why most stringing, especially with more expensive pearls is done with silk or silk strung string.

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French Wire?  Do you need it?

In the video, I used two small pieces of coiled wire that are used for a decoration, or a finishing touch.  I’ve seen a lot of pearl necklaces come in for re-stringing, and they didn’t use french wire.  It is more a personal touch for the jeweler.  When I say go the extra mile to make a job look better, this is what I mean.

No, you don’t have to use french wire, but it does make the bracelet or necklace look nicer.  French wire comes in gold tone and silver tone.  You can get it in many different materials, and just remember, it is very delicate.

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Can I string with just any Clasp?

Yes, of course.  There are many different styles of clasps made specifically for pearls necklaces and bracelets, but you can use any type of clasp.  In the video above, I used a clasp that was made for a pearl necklace.  Pearl style clasps can be expensive if you want them in yellow or white gold, mostly because of their design.

You don’t have to use these specifics and since more customers actually prefer something easy to use, I end up stringing most bracelets with simple lobster claws.

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The parts tray with that Measuring thing on it!

I remember how hard it was the first time that I had to string a pearl necklace.  I had to get a tape measure out, and try to figure out the size of each pearl, and figure out how to make a necklace that was 20 inches.  Well, Pearls are measured in millimeters.

This parts tray is not necessary, but it sure makes life easy if you do stringing or beading work.  Using the stringing tray is really nice to help you get organized.  you can lay out all the pearls in a manor you want to string them in.  For instance, if the pearls you are going to string are graduated (different sizes), and you need to place them in a certain order.

In addition, yes, it has a built in measuring system on it.  This in itself, awesome!

Fir instance, Let’s take the example I did in the video, you can set each of the pearls in order, then the clasp, and measure along the tray to find out just how many pearls you’ll need.  It also helps to lay out the pearls in a specific order, if for instance, some are different colors, or shades and you want to do groupings.  Then, while doing the stringing, you also have everything set up in order of how you are going to assemble the necklace or bracelet.

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Tools!

As you can see, this is a very short list of items you’ll need.  That is what is great about stringing.  You only need a few tools to do stringing, and they are relatively inexpensive.

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The end of the string…

The end of the string!  That sounds funny.  What I mean is that once you’re done, there are several things you’ll have to remember about how to secure the string once you’ve finished your beading work.

In the video above, I followed the process of running the string through the last pearl, in the loop of the clasp, and through the last pearl again, but from the opposite side.  This way, you’re only going to have one knot on the last two pearls.

Once you have trimmed the string, make sure you know it once or twice, but don’t make your knot too large.  Then, as a finishing touch to make sure that the pearl will not come off the string, I use a little bit of crystal cement on the last knot that I just created.  I also put it on the first knot that I made.  I also allow that to dry, and then, using a fine pair of scissors, trim the string, just over the knot.  If the crystal cement dried properly, it will hold the knot together for a very long time.

 

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This is pretty much it…   The most difficult part of this entire process is learning how to tie the knots properly.  I recommend that you practice, a lot.  knotting is tricky but once you have to the skills, and feel for it, it will become second nature.

Good luck and happy stringing.

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