Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Pearl stringing


#1

I have to add pearls to an add a pearl necklace. I am not sure how
they attach them so you can add more later? Does anyone have any
experience with add a pearl necklaces product? The jewelry that did
them before really messed up the stringing so I don’t know how it
look before they touched it.

Thanks, Cecilia


#2

Hi, Cecelia,

I have to add pearls to an add a pearl necklace. I am not sure how
they attach them so you can add more later? Does anyone have any
experience with add a pearl necklaces product? 

It might be quicker and more sound overall to just restring them.

Best,
Lorraine


#3

They have to be restrung, just like a regular strand. Take them all
off, new piece of string and add on the new ones. Knot, tie, knot
tie.

David


#4

Hi Cecilia;

I have to add pearls to an add a pearl necklace. I am not sure how
they attach them so you can add more later? 

My wife does these for our shop. You have to re-string the entire
pearl are each time you add a pearl. Fortunately, it’s not quite as
expensive as re-stringing an entire strand of pearls. But to be done
properly, it should be knotted between the pearls, and if memory
serves me, french wire on the ends where the chain attaches. If you
want to talk about contracting this work to us, email me off forum.

David L. Huffman


#5

Hello Cecilia,

Now I’m revealing my age. The Add-a-pearl necklaces with I am
familiar were popular in the 70s. Pearls were strung on fine chain
(!), with a very small clasp, which would allow additional pearls to
slip over the clasp onto the chain.

Personally, I think they were a bad concept as the metal chain wears
away the soft pearl and eventually the hole becomes quite large and
UGLY. Maybe that’s why they are no longer so popular. Pearls do
better if strung on cord! If I was doing the job, I’d promote
knotting the pearls on silk cord with jump rings on each end, then
attach the chain to the jump rings. Every time pearls are added,
it’s a restringing job though.

Judy in Kansas


#6

Cecilia,

Add-a-pearl style necklaces are restrung each time one adds new
pearls. Using thin scissors, cut the thread between each pearl, wash
the pearls in warm water with a couple drops of liquid soap (like
Ivory, not a detergent), rinse well with clean water and dry. Lay
all the pearls on a bead board or surface where they will not roll
off. Graduate them so the smallest ones are at one end to the
largest ones at the other end of the row. Then lay out the final
arrangement by putting a small one at each end, then the next larger
one on each side until you have them laid out with the largest
pearls in the center with progressively smaller ones on each side.
This way, even if the pearls are all nominally the same size, they
will appear to be the same size after they are strung.

Thread a twisted needle (a flexible beading needle) with a size of
silk thread that can pass through the end pearls twice (usually D
for pearls up to 5mm, size E for larger) with at least 4 times the
length of the pearls to be strung. With the short length
add-a-pearls often are, you’ll need enough thread to have some to
hold while you are tying knots so it may need to be longer than 4x.
The thread will need to be able to pass through the end 3 or 4
pearls two times. So, thread your needle, tie the two end in a knot.
Thread the 3rd (or 4th if there are 9 or more) pearl from the end,
then 2nd, then the end pearl. Pass the needle through the end link
of the chain if it is a cable or curb chain (through the end two
links if it is a rope chain). Pass the thread back through the end
pearl (leaving an inch or two loose thread between the knot and the
pearls) pull the thread tight so the end pearl is tight up against
the chain. I use a pair of fine tip smooth edge beading pliers to
gently pull each of the four threads coming out of the end pearl
snug. Then I tie an overhand knot, pull it tight up to the pearl,
and pass the needle through the 2nd-from-the-end pearl. Again I use
the beading pliers to gently pull each of the four threads coming
through this pearl. This tightens up the knot between the two
pearls. Tie another overhand knot, gently pull tight and pass the
needle back through the 3rd-from-the-end pearl. Tighten the knot by
pulling on the four threads and then tie a knot using just the
thread which had the needle. If you use the Tri-Cord Knotter, this
is where you would begin using it to tie the knots, otherwise use
your tweezers and awl to make a knot tight up against the
3rd-from-the-end pearl. You can pull the two threads to gently
tighten the knot up against the pearl. Thread the rest of the pearls
on leaving the last 3 pearls on the bead board. Continue knotting
between each pearl until these are all knotted. Thread the last 3
pearls on, pass the needle through the end link or links of the
other side of the chain and back through the end pearl. Gently
tighten the thread so there is just a little slack between the
unknotted pearls. Tie an overhand knot (with the thread that has the
needle still attached) between the end two pearls. Tighten and pass
the needle through the 2nd-from-the-end pearl and gently pull the
threads tight using the beading pliers. Tie another overhand knot
between the 2nd and 3rd-from-the-end pearls, tighten and pass the
needle through the 3rd-from-the-end pearl. Gently tighten and pass
the needle through the 4th-from-the-end pearl. Glue the 3 end knots
on each end using crystal cement (G-S Hypo has a needle tip that
will put just a little bit of the cement on the knot). Crystal
cement stays flexible, will keep the silk from untieing itself, and
it can be cleaned up with tweezers after it has dried if you get too
much on. Nailpolish, super glue and other hard glues, cause the
knots to be brittle and that is where the necklace usually breaks.
(Besides, when that glue gets into the pearl’s drill hole, it is
difficult to remove.) After the crystal cement has dried, use sharp,
fine tip scissors to cut just the loose threads, the excess thread
with the knot at the beginning and the excess thread with the needle
at the end. Use a clean terry cloth towel to polish the pearls,
remove fingerprints and gently stretch the strand so the pearls lay
beautifully.

I’m sorry this is so long, and I’m sure other people do things
differently, but this is how I do it and I have very few come-backs.
Email me directly if you have any questions.

jeanette


#7

It seems to me that’s how we did add-a-pearls where I worked, (On
cord with chain on the end.) And I always recommend restringing
yearly on pearls if they are worn often. Between the perfume, makeup
& hairspray, most pearl strands need to be cleaned and usually
restrung regularly.

Candy


#8
Pearls were strung on fine chain (!), with a very small clasp,
which would allow additional pearls to slip over the clasp onto
the chain.

You are correct, Judy. Even if the chain does not wear or discolor
the pearl, the drill hole is drilled too large for the pearl to be
strung nicely with other pearls. I sometimes receive AAP type
necklaces with the old chain and its secondary clasp for adding
additional pearls but cut in the center and new and old pearls
knotted in the center. Because the hole in the old pearls is so
large, any knot slips into the hole and I can not use larger thread
because it will not go through the small hole of the newer pearls.
This style was fine for the Add-a-Bead where the beads were gold
balls, sometimes graduated, sometimes all the same size, but I
personally do not like it for pearls. jeanette


#9

Hi,

I do enjoy stringing and knotting pearls and am wondering if this is
market able skill. The class quite a while ago was taught by women
who used to do tradework. Unfortunately I lost contact with her. She
prefered using beadtips over bullion wire. Most finished strands I
am seeing seem to use bullion though, so I was wondering if I should
change to doing that. I would love to get some input of how it is
generally done. Do jewelers usually use bead tips, clamshells or
bullion wire? Also, after reading a lot about the fact that silk
seems to stretch I wonder if silk is still the material of choice?

I am currently calculating 25$ for a 18 inch strand, inluding silk,
beadtips. The clasp is extra. Does this seem about right?

Here is the process I use. If I can improve on it, please let me
know.

  1. Wipe temporarily strung pearls with a slightly damp cloth. If I
    re-string pearls and they need cleaning, I use dishwashing soap
    (dawn) and water to soak them, then rinse and put on a towel to dry
    for 2 days before proceeding.

  2. Iron silk to get the kinks out.

  3. String beadtip, then first pearl, knot, pearl, knot, pearl, etc.

  4. add last pearl, add beadtip

  5. Add knot to secure beadtip. Then use hypo cement to secure both
    knots on beattips.

  6. Snip silk of at glued knots

  7. add clasp

Thanks, Birgit


#10

Suggestions: Minimum $1.00 per knot, wholesale. Depending on your
area, I would go a minimum of 2 to 2.5x retail. Prepare silk on
needle, about 5x per finished length thru eye of needle. I
personally always like to add a few extra inches - just in case. I
would rather throw out a few inches instead of running out of thread
and 3 more pearls to do. Yes, that happened to me! Then hang the
thread up, run a damp clean cloth down the length and attach a small
weight to the bottom to stretch the silk over night. When about to
hang, I clamp the silk about a short inch away from the needle so
that the end of the needle and the fold of the silk thread is not
weakened.

If any company in Orlando needs either Pearl or bead stringing to be
completed within a week’s time, I am available.

Judy Shaw, GJG


#11

Hi Brigit,

Also, after reading a lot about the fact that silk seems to stretch
I wonder if silk is still the material of choice? 

Several of the folks that I know that use silk for stringing pearls
stretch the silk prior to starting to string. They cut a sufficiently
long piece of silk from the spool. Then tie a weight on one end &
make a loop on the other. The silk is then hung up to stretch for a
couple of days. A couple of them that string full time keep several
sizes of silk stretching all the time. Tat way they’re always ready
to go if an emergency job comes in. One of them use fishing sinkers
with wire loops as the weight.

Dave


#12

Brigit,

I see you got a couple of answers, but the issue of bead cups was not
addressed. Sorry, but bead cups or clam shells are not proper for
fine pearls, and in my eyes, as a June born, therefore Pearl
birthstone, I consider all Pearls fine. They epitomize grace and
elegance.

French Wire or Bullion is the proper ending for the strand. Looks
elegant as a finishing. IMHO.

Hugs,
Terrie


#13

Hello Orchidland,

After reading the various messages about pearl stringing, I’m
wondering if I am the only person who strings the pearls/beads
BEFORE knotting. I wet the cord with rubbing alcohol and suspend the
pearls, using their weight to stretch the silk overnight as the cord
dries.

Just curious,

Judy in Kansas, where the snow is falling and everything looks
lovely. I do wonder about those who are homeless and hope they have
found good shelter.


#14

I agree with Terrie. " Bead cups, and clam shells are not proper for
fine pearls." Do as Terrie suggests, use French wire (Bullion), for a
really elegant look.

Alma Rands


#15
After reading the various messages about pearl stringing, I'm
wondering if I am the only person who strings the pearls/beads
BEFORE knotting 

Nope, that’s the way I do it. Put on the first three pearls, clasp
end, and bullion; back through the 3rd pearl strung (which now
becomes the first), knot; 2nd pearl, knot; 1st pearl, knot; string on
the rest of the pearls and hang overnight (dampened) to stretch. The
weight of the pearls is the ideal test of the silk, isn’t it?

Chris


#16

Hey Judy,

I'm wondering if I am the only person who strings the pearls/beads
BEFORE knotting. I wet the cord with rubbing alcohol and suspend
the pearls, using their weight to stretch the silk overnight as the
cord dries. 

I have never wetted the silk and stretched it. I’ve been stringing
for a fine jewelry store for 4 years and have very few comebacks -
Often I wish people would have brought their pearls in a few years
earlier to be washed and restrung (pearls are damaged by the dirt
and oils) so I’m not to worried about them stretching after I’ve
strung them. I string fairly tight so when I finish, I wipe the
strand with a clean terry cloth towel which stretches them slightly.
This avoids the kinkiness from the tight knotting.

As to stringing before knotting, after putting the first 3 or 4
pearls on, the bullion and the clasp and knotting those first 3 or
4, I then string all the rest of the beads on and may put it aside
in its job envelope - in the evening, I can knot up all the prepared
strands and then finish them off in the morning - the actual
knotting part is almost one of the easiest and most relaxing for me
(as long as the thread doesn’t slip off the needle too soon!)

jeanette (in Raleigh where it is too warm for snow, otherwise we’d
be 6 feet under! 5 inches of rain last week)


#17
but bead cups or clam shells are not proper for fine
pearls.....French Wire or Bullion is the proper ending for the
strand 

Terrie - based on my experience, I would respectfully disagree.
French Wire/Bullion frays with time, and looks awful. The pearls I
have from Japan and from China are finished with bead caps, and this
is what I use myself. Bead caps don’t fray/ravel/disintegrate. There
is a new finding out that is a sort of cup guide, that you run the
thread through, that would have much the effect of French Wire,
without the fraying issues. Have not tried this yet.

Would love to hear other’s views on this!

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com


http://bethwicker.ganoksin.com/blogs/


#18

Judy - I string before knotting also - just how I was taught. Works
for me!

Beth Wicker
http://www.bethwicker.com


#19
is a new finding out that is a sort of cup guide, that you run the
thread through, that would have much the effect of French Wire,
without the fraying issues. 

I’ve been using wire guardians. One brand is Accu-Gard. Looks like a
horseshoe, has a channel to hold the thread.

Lorraine


#20

I have to second Beth’s statement about bullion. I love the look, but
where I live and where my store is located are very very humid
locales, and bullion tends to tarnish within days of finishing off a
necklace. It would be fabulous to find 14k white and yellow
bullion?!? Then I would not have such a problem using it.