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To knot beads, or not to knot beads?


#1

I figure amber and pearls are probably better off knotted.

But what about semi-precious beads like amethyst, garnet, fire opal,
etc.?

Is there a Mohs hardness level above which you don’t have to knot
and below which one should ALWAYS knot?

Sorry, I know its not exactly a silversmithing question, but if it
didn’t involve a torch, a jeweler’s saw, and/or a hunk of metal,
I’ve never done it before.

Sojourner


#2

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    Is there a Mohs hardness level above which you don't have to
knot and below which one should ALWAYS knot? 

As far as I know, it’s always better to knot, if only to avoid the
whole string scattering if the cord breaks. Besides, the bead strand
hangs better when knotted.

Janet Kofoed


#3

Sojourner,

Knotting, yes traditional for Pearls, is primarily to prevent the
loss of many beads due to cord breakage.

IMHO, yes do knot, if not between every bead then at least between
4-6. Some of the colored stone, and/or agate beads may have a sharp
edge where it was drilled. This can cut through thread relatively
quickly resulting in a very unhappy wearer or customer.

I believe if “it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.”

HTH
Terrie


#4

Is there a Mohs hardness level above which you don’t have to knot
and below which one should ALWAYS knot?

Mohs shmohs

I’ve posted on this subject ad nauseum, but I don’t mind repeating
myself : Knotting is the proper way to assemble beads of any
material, the exceptions have only to do with the relative size
(extremely small beads can be ganged in runs of 2,3,4, etc.) or
specific shape (heishi, small rondels, e.g.). Knotting makes the
strand more supple and consistent, it drapes better; knotting secures
each bead against scattering if the strand does break, and provides a
cushion between beads against abrasion. And dirt and body scum tends
to collect less. It’s more time consuming, and, therefore, much more
costly for the finished product, so it depends on the impression you
want to make, and the quality of the work you want to put your name
to: For a good, professional finish, there are no shortcuts., IMO,
and that includes the (legitimate) jewelry process of beading.

If you don’t want to do it yourself, pay a skilled stringer to do
it.

From a producer of knotted bead jewelry ART for 23 years (who’s
admittedly a bit testy from following the “amaze yourself” thread…)

margery epstein
http://www.storyjewels.com


#5

My take on it is if there is a possibility over time that the beads
will hit each other and cause damage knot. If you are using spacers
then I don’t knot semi-precious or precious beads. Soft stuff gets
extra care.

Teri
An American Cameo Artist
www.cameoartist.com


#6
I figure amber and pearls are probably better off knotted. But what
about semi-precious beads like amethyst, garnet, fire  opal, etc.? 

Sojourner,

For me, if the beads are nice enough (pretty enough) to warrant
using them in my designs, I would almost always knot them. I feel
they hang prettier and have a nicer flow when knotted. Also, if the
necklace breaks, which they do from time to time, the customer will
only lose one bead. Bonus when you have to reknot! Sometimes, for
much heavier beads that silk cord will not hold I will use the
nylon coated steel wire, which I don’t think you can knot. I am
hesitant to say you “can’t knot it”, because I have learned that
anything is possible!

  Is there a Mohs hardness level above which you don't have to
knot and below which one should ALWAYS knot? 

Originally, pearls were always knotted so they wouldn’t rub together
and damage each other, and then there’s the breakage thing- so when
the strand broke they wouldn’t go all over the place. I don’t know
if there’s a “professional standard” for knotting according to
hardness, as I am not a professional beader. I would also consider
the price. Are the stones being used quality enough to warrant the
extra price for the labor of knotting?

No matter how nicely or professionally one knots, one will always
have some pieces come back for restringing. People are a little
rough on jewelry sometimes. I get some returns from the silk cord
breaking. So, when I sell pieces strung on silk cord I include a
little care card for the retailers to give to the customers
(hopefully they do). I sell to a lot of boutiques who are not
jewelers or jewelry stores, so with every opening order I also
include a care sheet so the retailers can be informed and inform
their customers as to the care of knotted jewelry. A lot of people
don’t realize that you shouldn’t wear all your jewelry in the
shower, pool, ocean.

Just my 2 cents. I’m so glad I could contribute!
Good Luck!
Amery
Silverlake, CA


#7

I’m not award of knotting based on hardness except for those
materials soft enough to need to be protected from each other or
other beads (such as the pearls and amber you mentioned), but rather
on the type of stringing material and the likelihood that the bead
might cut it. I choose stringing material partly on what I am
stringing, to try and minimize the chance that the bead may abrade
the stringing material and cut through. If you have any doubts,
knotting ensures the whole strand doesn’t wind up on the floor of the
mall if a bead wears through (like one from India that a customer
brought me to restring - the entire necklace wound up scattered on
the mall floor while she was shopping!). I haven’t worked with fire
opal, but don’t knot amethyst or garnet myself, unless I’m mixing
them with pearls (which they go with beautifully!).

I’ll be interested to hear what some of our expert stringers say to
this.

Beth in SC (who is actually in NC looking out at the ocean right now -
lovely!)


#8

It depends how big the beads are and how fine the piece is going to
be in the end. I like to knot most of the time. You could always
knot intermittently just for support. Also aesthetically knots add a
different feel to faceted beads. When you knot it gives it a finer
appearance but if the beads are too small the knots might overpower
the look of the piece(so the intermittent knots are used). You can
contact me off group if you have more detailed questions. I use the
silk stringers method and hardly use nylon when knotting.-T


#9
      Is there a Mohs hardness level above which you don't have to
knot and below which one should ALWAYS knot? 

The biggest reason to knot is that any stone beads or pearls that
are next to each other will, over time, cause damage to each other.
Things of the same hardness damage each other, or softer material
next to the them.

Otherwise, knotting is a matter of preference for less expensive
materials. At $3 an inch for re-stringing at my store, some people
do not want to have their $20 pearls knotted.

If you have a $1500 strand of Mikimoto pearls, you want to knot
them, to protect the investment.

We have very small strands of multi-color faceted sapphire beads that
are $300 a strand, they are not knotted, would not look good knotted
and will not cause damage to each other if they are worn normally.

There are situations where knotting is the right way to do it, and
the professional way to do it, and there are situations where it is
not appropriate.

Richard Hart


#10
    For me, if the beads are nice enough (pretty enough) to
warrant using  them in my designs, I would almost always knot them.
I feel they hang  prettier and have a nicer flow when knotted.
Also, if the necklace  breaks, which they do from time to time, the
customer will only lose  one bead.  Bonus when you have to reknot! 
Sometimes, for much  heavier beads that silk cord will not hold I
will use  the nylon  coated steel wire, which I don't think you can
knot. 

Yup, you can knot that stuff. At least, you can knot THIS stuff:

http://www.accuflexwire.com/

I’ve never seen GOOD beaded necklaces that weren’t pearls. So I
didn’t know if its standard to knot or not (other than pearls). I’d
always been told “always knot soft materials” which means pearls and
amber to me, but didn’t know about other stuff.

So thanks.
Sojourner


#11

pearl knotting price

Hi All, In regards to Richard’s price at $3.00 per inch for knotting
beads please let me know what you are charging your customer,
wholesale and or retail and what state you are located in.

Thank you,
Laurie


#12

pearl knotting price

    Hi All, In regards to Richard's price at $3.00 per inch for
knotting beads please let me know what you are charging your
customer, wholesale and or retail and what state  you are located
in. 

wholesale is $1 an inch, retail $3, Denver, Co. and I am following
the lead of an acquaintance who work for a Sears jewelry counter. I
have had no problems bumping the price up from what I used to charge.
They will even have sentimental fake pearls knotted for this price.


#13
    Hi All, In regards to Richard's price at $3.00 per inch for
knotting beads please let me know what you are charging your
customer, wholesale and or retail and what state  you are located
in. 

The pearl and bead stringer we use makes pickup and drop-off visits
twice a week to us in Fort Lauderdale from Miami. Her price is $1.75
per inch, but with a $14.00 setup fee. I’ve no idea how many other
stores she visits on those days, but I’m sure it’s worth her while.

James in SoFL


#14

Up here in the Adirondacks of New York where most people are out of
work part of the year, we charge 25 cents a knot. If a local
person really has the financial problems with that and there are
many who do, I have been known to work for a big Hershey’s
chocolate bar during the winter months.

Judy Shaw, GJG (GIA)


#15

I currently charge retail $1.50 per inch knotted, used to charge
$1.0/inch. However, if the pearls or beads are super small I set a
price for the whole piece, i.e., 10 strand necklace of seed pearls
(not knotted) $75.00. Norma in Kodiak, Alaska


#16

Hello Everyone, I am in the San Diego area and do a lot of pearl
strands and pieces that include strands for my studio/retail shop. I
price everything I do at my normal bench rate of $35/ hour wholesale,
with a $35 minimum. When I do restringing I charge the same rate as a
service to my clients.

When establishing fees I asked around and found that $30-$35 per
strand was usual, but when it took me 2 hours to do a very tiny
graduated strand it seemed wiser to charge at the time rate rather
than per piece which I now do and still remain competitive.

I am happy to see that we are opening the door to the discussion of
fees and pricing, which we have been somewhat reticent to do in the
past. As Thomas Mann said in his presentation at SNAG, “most
craftsmen tend to under price their work.” An understatement.

Susan Ronan
Coronado, CA