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