Black Agate Necklace

I recently offered to make a necklace to donate for a charity silent auction. Since individual tastes can vary so much, I decided to keep it simple and elegant. This strung bead in necklace just alternates 12mm black agate beads with 4mm sterling silver round beads. I finished off the piece using a large sterling silver lobster claw clasp.

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The necklace measures 20 inches, so it is a little longer than choker length. The stones beads give it a nice weight. In the photos the beads just show up as black, but there are some subtle color variations and a few stripe striations. Hopefully, this piece of jewelry does well and raises a few dollars for a worthy cause!
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Pearl Knotted Necklace Tutorial

I finally had the opportunity to sit down and make something with the beads that Kelsey and Maddie helped me choose from the Bead Show several weeks ago. With my mother-in-law’s birthday coming up quickly, I needed to put together her necklace. So today we have a tutorial for a pearl knotted necklace.
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For this necklace you will need pearls (or some other preferred beads), cord (this cord has a thin wire needle already attached to one end), bead tips, a clasp, tweezers, and nail polish or liquid glue (like E6000). (Another note: other clasps will work. For this particular necklace, I chose to use a sterling silver filigree pearl clasp.)
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The bead tips up close….
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The clasps….
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Begin your necklace by tying an overhand knot at the end opposite the needle. Slide on a bead tip so that the knot is caught in the “clamshell.”

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Slide the first bead onto the needle and all the way down the cord to the bead tip.

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Begin tying a loose overhand knot.
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Use the tweezers to reach through the knot and pinch the cord right next to the bead.

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Slowly tighten the knot and remove the tweezers.
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I realized that white cord on a white background is hard to see, so apologies for the presto-change background, but here is a better photo:
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Continue until the necklace is as long as you want it. This particular necklace falls just below the collarbone. Slide one more bead tip on so that the clamshell faces away from the beads. Tie another overhand knot to hold the bead tip snugly against the beads. Secure the knots using clear nail polish or another liquid glue. Once the knots are dry, clip the excess cord.
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Slide the clasp pieces onto the hooks of the bead tips and carefully close the bead tips using pliers.

That’s it–you’re done! Here is a photo of the final necklace (sorry for the inconsistent lighting–I took the photos in different parts of the house).

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Just FYI, my mother-in-law loved her birthday gift!  Since this was our first full tutorial, please feel free to leave feedback and comments.  (Again, apologies for the crazy lighting.)  Be sure to visit www.jensfindings.com for all the findings used in this tutorial or whatever else you might need for your jewelry projects.

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Finding Ideas

Don’t be afraid to browse around to find inspiration!  This may sound silly, but I enjoy looking at the costume jewelry during my weekly trip to Target, as well as perusing catalogs that come via snail mail.  These are good places to find new trends in color combinations and jewelry styles. 

Of course I love to browse online as well.  Anthropology and Forever 21 have interesting ideas.  The inspiration for this particular necklace actually came from Stella and Dot (love the jewelry, just can’t afford the prices).  Whenever I am trying to make piece that is similar to something that I like, I try to find “substitutions” from my personal stash for the various beads. Since I didn’t have any semiprecious beads that were close the ones used in the Ailene necklace, I just used faceted glass beads in similar colors. 

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The original necklace joined all the components together by using wire wraps. I just used eye pins and linked everything together. As you can see, the piece is long enough to be worn in both a single strand or double strand. Personally, I love the summery colors and sparkle that the faceted beads give this necklace.

So, what are your favorite go-to places to look for ideas?

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Kids as Great Beaders

I wanted to continue with the theme from the previous post in which I mentioned that kids can be an amazing source of inspiration in your own jewelry designs.  I recently bought some beautiful beads on a whim with no plans to use them in a project–I just loved the colors and the “sparkle.”  They sat for a few weeks and I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to use them. I asked my thirteen-year-old daughter if she could help me make a statement necklace.  We have a few bins of miscellaneous beads, so we set them out and this is what she put together.  I LOVE this necklace!  She was able to showcase the individual beads, follow the color scheme, and design a piece that I enjoy wearing.

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Kids are often so much more uninhibited and experimental in their design choices.  I really like seeing what they are able to come up with.  Often they create color combinations or designs ideas that I wouldn’t necessarily think of.  The kids can go to the bins of odds and ends beads whenever they feel like beading and some of their best designs have come from this hodge-podge.

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Kids as Inspiration

We’re definitely a family of beaders, and often I get inspired by watching my daughters work on their projects.  My eight-year-old recently designed this multi-strand necklace.

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She came up with the design, and we worked together to find the components that she needed to put it together.  While she needed a bit of help to attach the wire, she strung the beads and put on the clasp by herself.

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I personally thought it was an elegant necklace and liked her decision to pair the gold chain (I’m not sure if it shows up in the photo, but there are two different kinds) with the white glass pearls.

As I mentioned, my daughters’ jewelry is frequently one of my sources of inspiration.  Now she’s got me thinking of multi-strand necklaces using chain….

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