How to clean pearls

I find pearls can be very grubby when they are sent to me for restringing! For big bits of make-up or food (yes really) I use a new scalpel blade to gently remove the dirt.

After that I like to wash the whole strand of pearls in a bowl of tepid soapy water(I use grated hand soap NEVER washing soap) after washing gently you need to rinse all the soap off and dry on a clean linen tea towel. When I have dried the pearls I will restring them and finally use my fingers to rub in LUSH lip salve which comes in a flat metal tin.Other organic lip salves or even skin creams will work but nothing tinted or scented with essential oils! 

To keep pearls in good condition and to avoid broken thread always put on scent and skin care products BEFORE the pearls!And remove any bit of dried on food or make up.

Silk or Nylon Thread ?

I used to buy Griffin silk thread which comes on a card already threaded up so is very easy to use. The length is only suitable for short to medium length knotted necklaces.

I did one of my own necklaces with the griffin silk and was dismayed when it snapped after a month.The silk thread just was not strong enough!

Since then I have used a professional synthetic bead thread using silk only for very light beads and seed pearls.

Very thick silk thread looks lovely for a single stone of silver pendant but in my opinion thinner silk needs to be used with caution!

 

 

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Problems with knotted bead necklaces

Many of my customers send me gemstone beads to be knotted.Generally these are always a problem!

Why? Well mostly the hole size is either far to small for the weight of the necklace or in a necklace with a mix of beads there are different size holes.If the hole size is very small then the thread will have to be thin and knots will slip into the bead holes.

So if you are buying beads and they are stone or heavy glass ones and you want to knot them check the hole size is between 1 and 2 mm or even 3 mm for very heavy beads.

And if you do have a necklace of mixed stones some with very small holes do not try to knot them but use a multi - strand softflex thread (49 strands is best) 

I did not create the necklace below but am including a picture to show a necklace with lots of different types of beads which is knotted. Lucky for the creator the knots look nice and strong so they managed to use a good thick thread!

 

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Amber Necklace Clasps

I often get an amber necklace which has a clasp made from another amber bead with a tiny wood screw inside.The screw comes out to allow the necklace to be re threaded so it can get lost! Also some restringers can be over fond of superglue and will use it to glue up clasp so it cannot be used again.

I was delighted to find on ETSY a source of these clasps and I am sure I will soon be ordering some.The shop is called AMBER PARADISE.

 

Magnetic Clasps

Lots of my restringing customers like to use magnetic clasps because they are so easy! I am having trouble finding really strong ones online and recently I had to redo a bracelet as the clasp kept opening! 

I can only recommend the smaller clasps (under 1 cm) for very light designs and I added one to this flower bracelet which works fine I am glad to say.

 

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Restringing Threads

I have tried so many types of thread when it comes to creating my own jewellery and designs for clients.The problem is that so many threads fray if beads are heavy or inside the bead is rough. Lots of my customers ask for Silk thread but unless the beads are very light the silk thread in the picture on the left is quite easily frayed.

Softflex extreme is a twisted wire thread coated in nylon.I like to use this for general restringing.

For something very unique there is even a cork thread but it is very thick so no good for beads with small holes.

The nylon twisted threads are the best and can be cut with a special heat cutter allowing very secure knots.It does not stretch but does fray occasionally.I try to double up strands where possible.

C-lon can be bought online from this shop

 

So many ways to make a bracelet

If you have an old bracelet or just some lovely beads why not think outside the box when chosing a bracelet design? If you contact me I can let you know how much it would cost to reacreate one of these designs

There are many types of material that can be used to create bracelets including silk, elastic, rubber, hemp, wire and linen thread all with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Why not add a tassel in the colour of the beads? The beads on the far left are strung using Stretch Magic and a silk tassel has made them that little bit more special.

The middle bracelet combines a pretty collection of blue and white beads n three strands and has a useful chain link which allows it to be adjusted.

Finally a clever choice of ceramic beads are strung onto wire which is then attached to a leather double cord and a large hook.

If you like a layered look and have lots of beads memory wire can be used for multi strand bracelet.

 mamisgemstudio wire bracelet

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So whatever beads you have there are so many ways to make a brand new bracelet!

 

Dream Job

I had some really beautiful old beads to restring recently and I thought that I would share them with you.

Another Great Charity Shop Find

I have been dog sitting near Yelverton in Devon and one rainy morning I popped into the Woodside Animal Welfare shop and spotted this string of black beads.At first I thought they were plastic but then I spotted a cracked bead and was very excited! These were real jet beads! And for £1!

What is Jet? According to Wiki Jet is a type of lignite, a precursor to coal, and is considered to be a minor gemstone. Jet is not considered a true mineral, but rather amineraloid as it has an organic origin, being derived from decaying wood under extreme pressure. What isn't Jet?  Lots of people have so-called Jet beads but they are usually French Jet which are faceted glass beads.They can look like Jet but they feel cold and are heavy compared with Jet which is very light and easily chipped. These do not have the value of real Jet.

What is Jet?

According to Wiki

Jet is a type of lignite, a precursor to coal, and is considered to be a minor gemstone. Jet is not considered a true mineral, but rather amineraloid as it has an organic origin, being derived from decaying wood under extreme pressure.

What isn't Jet? 

Lots of people have so-called Jet beads but they are usually French Jet which are faceted glass beads.They can look like Jet but they feel cold and are heavy compared with Jet which is very light and easily chipped.

These do not have the value of real Jet.