Using cherry amber beads


It pays to be a good neighbor. I gave an exquisite antique silk
lampshade to a neighbor; she just gave me 80-12 mm cherry amber
smooth (unfaceted) beads. They are so beautiful and wonderful to
touch. They need to be restrung and I want to keep it simple. No
separators or silver or gold beads or clasps. Just a continuous
strand. The first jewelry I ever made was an amber/silver ring (in
1969!) so I know that amber is extremely soft (2 to 2-1/2 on the
Mohs scale) but I’d love to use gold chain to make the necklace.
Would the chain dig into and harm the beads over time?


I would string them as if they were pearls. Do you have any other
pieces of amber? If so, just try sawing away at one with a chain. I
think you will see a mark on the amber in short order. I would not
string them on a chain. If the holes are big, be sure to fill them
with the stringing material, even if you must use multiple strands
of it.

M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA

Marly- Suggestion for preserving and showcasing the beads- true the
wire can cut into or the chain abrade if it is worn roughly…
Sounds like this would be a special occasion not everyday wear
though, so that may not be an issue. Use silk line (pearl cord) and
have it knotted- then trap the beads in a mesh-net. You crochet a
tube (simple 8-on like in Irene From-Petersons book “Great Wire
Jewelery” p.24- Knit in 3 nails) in fine silver or 22 gold 30ga. Once
you have the tube pulled through a hardwood “draw plate” of sorts the
stitches will equalize to a good extent, and it will as well
cover/protect the amber!

-I usually buy the 30ga from Rio, and crochet the whole spool into
the tube- take it to a show and whatever beads folks buy- drop them
into the tube, cut to length, and cinch tube around beads- and it
saves me from having many different lengths of necklaces… One spool
of tube, one box of beads- POOF! The customer creates their necklace,
and its less than 5-10 min to fabricate while they wait.

-The upside of the fine silver is it can be cleaned easier than
sterling, is not as “hard” on the amber, is a good color contrast,
and can be made easily without a bench (travels well- just a spool
and a crochet hook!) Gold has the same upsides- the con for the mesh
gold/silver is you cannot clean it conventionally with the beads in
it- need to be careful at the end with your findings/clasps- and
overall the spacing of the beads and the tension in the mesh… once
you get those ironed out (took me 3-4 prototype tries to get the
cinching effect the same around each bead) its a good looking

-FWIW, IMHO… and all the best wishes for a beautiful amber piece-
be safeand enjoy the days Orchidians!