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Freshwater Pearls Necklace

Instructions for making Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace out of jewelry wire, bead stringing wire, beads and jewelry supplies using WigJig jewelry making tools:

This necklace jewelry making project combines freshwater pearls, bugle beads and seed beads with a hook and clasp made on our WigJig jewelry making tools.  The hook and clasp are shown below-left.  The link used in the necklace is shown in a close up below-right  so that you can view the individual beads.  A larger view of this necklace can be seen at right.  The necklace shown uses black bugle beads, however, bugle beads come in a variety of colors and this necklace would look just as nice with almost any color of bugle beads.  The white freshwater pearls could also be replaced with freshwater pearls in a variety of colors. 

This project combines the technique of stringing beads using Soft Flex bead stringing wire with the wire working techniques of making wire components on our WigJig Jewelry Making Tools.


Clasp for Freshwater Pearl Necklace made out of jewelry wire using WigJig jewelry tools.

Close Up of Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace showing bead pattern.


Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace Jewelry Making Project made from common jewelry supplies.

Jewelry Supplies Required:

Jewelry Tools Required:

  • 6 inches of 16, 18 or 20 gauge jewelry wire
  • One 16" strand of Freshwater Pearls, Potato White size 5.5mm to 6mm
  • 2x4mm Bugle Beads (about 30)
  • Size 11 Crystal S/L Seed beads (for silver wire) or Size 11 Gold Light S/L Seed Beads (for gold wire)
  • Four 2x2mm crimp beads
  • 28 inches of Soft Flex or Soft Touch

Jewelry Making Skills Required:

  • Ability to cut jewelry wire using flush cutter jewelry making tool.
  • Ability to straighten jewelry wire using nylon jaw pliers jewelry tool.
  • Ability to make a loop in jewelry wire using round nose pliers or step jaw pliers jewelry tools.
  • Ability to open and close loops in jewelry wire using bent chain nose pliers jewelry tools.
  • Ability to use a WigJig jewelry tool to shape jewelry wire and make jewelry wire components.
  • Ability to string beads on bead stringing wire.
  • Ability to use crimp beads and bead crimping pliers jewelry tool to fasten bead stringing wire to a clasp or other jewelry making supply.

Step-by-step instructions for making Freshwater Pearls Necklace using WigJig jewelry tools, jewelry wire, beads and common jewelry supplies:

The first thing to accomplish in making this necklace is to make the clasp.  The reason that this is first is that it will allow us to close and anchor one end of the Soft Flex as we thread beads on the opposite end.  The steps involved in making this clasp begin below.

Step 1:  Cut 2 pieces of jewelry wire three inches long.  You can use 16, 18 or 20 gauge jewelry wire.  For beginners, we recommend that you use 18 or 20 gauge jewelry wire and avoid 16 gauge until you are comfortable making pieces.  1/2 hard or soft jewelry wire will work, although 1/2 hard jewelry wire will tend to work better.

Step 2:  Using your round nose pliers, or step jaw pliers, make a P-loop in your jewelry wire.  The loop will need to be sized so that it fits over one of the pegs in the WigJig jewelry tool you will be using. 

Step 3:  Straighten both jewelry wire segments by repeatedly pulling the wire through the jaws of your nylon jaw pliers.

Step 4:  The peg pattern for making the hook portion of the clasp is shown below-left.  This pattern used two regular metal pegs and two 3/16" Super Pegs for your WigJig Olympus, Olympus-Lite, Delphi or Centaur jewelry tools.  Begin by positioning peg 1 and 3/16" Super Peg, peg2, in your jewelry making jig.  Place your initial loop on peg 1 and wrap the jewelry wire around peg 2 as shown below-center.

Step 5:  Add 3/16" Super Peg, peg 3 to your WigJig jewelry tool and wrap the jewelry wire around peg 3 as shown at below-right.

Instructions for making Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace showing peg pattern on WigJig jewelry tool.

Step 4 to instructions for making Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace showing shaping jewelry wire on WigJig jewelry tools.

Step 5 to instructions for making Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace by shaping jewelry wire on WigJig jewelry making tools.

Pattern Step 4 Step 5

Step 6:  Remove peg 2 from your jewelry making jig and continue wrapping the jewelry wire around peg 3 as show below-left.

Step 7:  Add regular metal peg 4 and wrap the jewelry wire part way around peg 4.  (Ultimately we will complete a loop in the wire at this point, but peg 3 is in our way at this point so we aren't ready to complete the loop at this time.)  See the picture, below center-left. 

Step 8:  Remove the jewelry wire from your WigJig jewelry tool and it will appear as shown below center-right.  Using your round nose pliers or step jaw pliers, position one jaw of your pliers where peg 4 was and wrap the jewelry wire around this jaw while griping the wire component in the pliers.  See figure 8 B below-right.

Step 6 to instructions for making the Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace by using WigJig jewelry making tools to shape jewelry wire.

Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace Jewelry Making Project Peg Pattern on WigJig jewelry tool.


Step 8A to instructions for making Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace showing jewelry wire shaped on WigJig jewelry tool.

Step 8B to instructions for making Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace out of common jewelry supplies.

Step 6 Step 7 Step 8A Step 8B

Step 9:  Cut the excess jewelry wire and close the final loop with your bent chain nose pliers.  You can use the hook wire component as shown below left, or you can continue by opening one of the loops and wrapping 22 or 24 gauge jewelry wire around one of the loops and the center wire.  Complete about 2-3 wraps of wire and cut the excess.  Close the loop with your bent chain nose pliers.  In the finished clasp shown below-right, you can see this wire wrap.

Step 9A to instructions for making Freshwater Pearl beads Necklace showing jewelry wire clasp.

Step 9B to instructions for making Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace using common jewelry making supplies.

Step 9A Step 9B

Step 10:  Now we are ready to make the catch portion of the clasp.  Using the second 3 inch segment of jewelry wire and your WigJig jewelry tool, position a regular metal peg and a 3/16" Super Peg in your jewelry making jig as shown below-left.  Place the initial loop in your wire on the regular metal peg and wrap the wire around the 3/16" Super Peg as shown.

Step 11: Continue by wrapping your jewelry wire around the regular metal peg as shown below center.

Step 12:  Remove the wire from your WigJig jewelry tool.  At this point, your jewelry wire should appear as shown below-right.

Step 10 to instructions for making Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace showing jewelry wire shaped on WigJig jewelry tools.

Step 11 to instructions for making Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace showing using WigJig jewelry tool to shape jewelry wire.

Step 12 to instructions for making Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace showing jewelry wire removed from WigJig jewelry tool.

Step 10 Step 11 Step 12

Step 13:  Position the jaws of your round nose pliers or your bent chain nose pliers into the two loops that were made around the regular metal peg.  Grasp the jewelry wire component in your pliers and hold it firmly in your non-dominant hand.  With the fingers of your dominant hand, wrap the wire tail around the wire component about 2 times. 

Step 14:  Cut the excess jewelry wire.  Squeeze the cut end of the wire flat with your bent chain nose pliers.  The completed catch will appear as shown at right.

Step 13 to instructions for making Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace showing jewelry wire shaped using jewelry tools.

Step 18 to instructions for making Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace showing the jewelry wire catch.

Step 13 Step 14

Completed Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace Jewelry Making Project

Now we are ready to begin stringing beads.  For this step your will need a cutter that is hard enough to cut Soft Flex bead stringing wire, a hemostat or other clamp, and standard size bead crimping pliers.  The materials required here are four 2x2mm crimp beads in the same metal as your clasp, 28-30 inches of Soft Flex or Soft Touch bead stringing wire and the beads. 

Step 15:  Cut a segment of Soft Flex or Soft Touch 28 to 30 inches long.  For the necklace shown in these pictures, size .024 Soft Flex in the silver color was used.  It is suggested to use a color of Soft Flex that is close to the color of the wire in the clasp.  If your freshwater pearls can accommodate size .024 Soft Flex, use it.  Some freshwater pearls will have smaller holes and will not be able to accommodate wire this large. 

Step 16:  Thread about 2 inches of Soft Flex through two 2x2mm crimp beads.  (Two crimp beads were used in this necklace.  This is sort of like wearing a belt and suspenders.  The second crimp bead is not required.  It is insurance.  For beginners a little insurance may not be a bad idea until you become more comfortable with using crimp beads and bead crimping pliers.)

Step 17 to instructions for making Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace made using common jewelry supplies.

Step 17:  Thread the 2 inches of Soft Flex through the smaller hole in the catch wire component, then back through the two 2x2mm crimp beads.  Pull the crimp beads so that they are close to the catch wire component and pull the Soft Flex so that the loop through the catch wire component is tight with no slack wire.  This may require grasping the Soft Flex in your bent chain nose pliers to help pulling the wire tight.  See the picture at right. 

Step 18:  Crimp the closest crimp bead to the catch using your bead crimping pliers.

Step 19:  Now crimp the second crimp bead immediately adjacent to the first.

Step 20:  Cut the excess wire as close to the second crimp bead as possible.

Step 21 to instructions for making Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace showing bead pattern.

Step 21:  Begin threading the beads in sequence.  The sequence can be viewed at right and is relatively simple.  First a freshwater pearl followed by a size 11 seed bead, then a 2x4mm bugle bead and a size 11 seed bead.  With the second size 11 seed bead, the sequence begins again.  Continue threading beads until you have about 24 inches of beads, ending with a freshwater pearl.  Whenever you are ready to set the strand of beads down, clasp the open end of the Soft Flex in your hemostat or other clamp.  This will avoid your playing follow the bouncing bead.  (In our house, we use the hemostat and still end up playing follow the bouncing bead all too frequently.  The hemostat won't prevent runaway beads, but it will help to minimize it.)

Step 22:  After threading the last freshwater pearl, then thread two 2x2mm crimp beads as we prepare to finish the necklace by adding the hook wire component.

Close Up of Clasp for Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace Jewelry Making Project

Step 23:  Thread the remaining Soft Flex through the closed loop in your hook wire component.  As you can see at left, the closed loop is the loop that is wrapped closed by the fine gauge wire.

Completed Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace Jewelry Making Project

Step 24:  Now thread the remaining Soft Flex back through the two 2x2mm crimp beads.  You will want to pull the Soft Flex to remove all slack.

Step 25:  Once you have the Soft Flex and crimp beads pulled snugly against the clasp, with no slack in the Soft Flex you are ready to crimp the crimp bead closest to the clasp.  After successfully crimping that bead, then crimp the second crimp bead. 

Summary of jewelry making instructions:

That completes your Freshwater Pearl Beads Necklace.  Please consider making this necklace using a variety of colors of 2x4mm bugle beads and/or other colors of freshwater pearls.  Using real freshwater pearls makes this necklace more up scale than a necklace made with glass pearl beads.  We like the finished necklace. 

 

 

 

 

 



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