I have a commission to make pearl bracelets for a bride's four
attendants. ... Three strands of 4mm ivory freshwater pearls, close
to round, but just off enough to make them interesting.
Found the 8 mm sterling corrugated clasps... the rings on the
clasps are so small that I can't figure out how I will be able to
attach three strands.... If I knot them, I know there isn't room on
that ring to attach three bead tips, even the tiniest size.
These are special bracelets for a formal occasion and bead tips
don’t fit with that. I know, lots of people use bead tips, but unless
they’re to finish off thread-cutting crystal bracelets strung on wire
or the beads are so heavy that French wire wouldn’t hold up, bead
tips always look clunky to me (especially so when the pearls are so
I could add a small jump ring to each end of the clasp and attach
the bead tips, I suppose, but I am not crazy about how that looks.
Maybe a very small cone or something over the connection.
Maybe. I’ve seen some small wide cones in the Rio catalog, or maybe
even a bead cap would work – something that matches and continues
the look of the clasp. Since the three strands will be bunching into
one, maybe the strands could be braided (again, I’m thinking formal)
or twisted so the “bunching” at the ends makes sense.
Or, there are connecting bars with a single ring on one side and
three (or more) on the other. Not sure that would work with an 8mm
corrugated clasp, but it’s an idea.
Or, should I use the pearl-reaming technique shown in Rio's
Tricord Knotter tutorial? I even doubt that the ring is big enough
to accomodate three strands of silk wrapped in French wire, either.
You could make the holes a little bigger but you’re starting with
such small pearls, there’s not much room for reaming.
One trick when the ring is so small is to use two pieces of French
wire instead of the usual single piece that loops through the ring.
One little piece of French wire sits on one side of the ring, only
the thread goes through, and then the second piece of French wire is
on the other side. It’s such a tiny area that once it’s all pulled
tightly, it looks like the French wire is going through the loop and,
since there’s not much movement of the thread against the ring, the
thread is somewhat protected.
Should I just give up on knotting them and just string them on
regular Soflex instead, and pretend that was my intention all
Normally I use doubled silk thread and knots and french wire for
pearls and most beads, except for very small ones. Any beads smaller
than 5mm can be overwhelmed by the knots. So I don’t think it’s a
matter of giving up on anything, just looking again and making
creative adjustments (and yes that was your intention all along!).
How about using silver wire to string the pearls on, instead of using
thread and French wire? With a bracelet you don’t have to worry about
graceful draping the way you do with a necklace. And wire would make
your finishing off easier and more secure.
And, whenever I make multiple strand bracelets, I always make them
either too short or too long. Is there a rule of thumb for this?
Should all three strands be the same length?
Yes, for this project, I think, but on second thought maybe it would
help make bunching the ends easier if the middle strand was a pearl
or two longer than the others. If the strands are twisted, then make
them a little longer to accommodate the depth. The best thing is to
try a prototype on before finishing off.
Any advice or photos or pointers to articles about this are
It’s an interesting project, not nearly as straightforward as it
probably seemed at first. Good luck with it! I’d love to see a photo
of the finished product.