Jewelry Making Supplies: Cultured Pearls for Bead Stringing | Pearl Knotting

by lakeerieartists

Pearls have a timeless, classic quality, and beauty that cannot be matched by any other jewelry component, stone, glass, or metal.

Pearls have been used in jewelry designs for hundreds of years. They have a timeless, classic quality, and beauty that cannot be matched by any other jewelry component, stone, glass, or metal.

Pearls come in a huge variety of graded quality levels, natural colors, sizes, and shapes, and also in dyed colors.

Using Cultured Pearls in Your Jewelry Designs

freshwater rice pearls

So depending on the design, the cost you are looking for, and the color, choosing cultured freshwater pearls for making jewelry can be quite a chore.

One of the most interesting aspect of cultured freshwater pearls are the many interesting shapes that they can come in. 

This article is just an introduction to the many shapes, colors, and pearls you can include in jewelry, and you can click through any of the sections to browse more choices on Amazon.

Rice Pearls

When you buy most pearls for designing jewelry, you have to buy them in a strand.  This is true even with the more expensive versions.  It is only when you get to the very top in price levels that you can buy pearls in pairs (meant for earrings), then they are usually only half drilled for post findings.

Rice pearls are one of the most common shapes, usually with holes drilled from end to end, and come in a multitude of natural and dyed colors.  Pearls are sold in diameter sizes, so check the size on a listing to make sure it is what you want.  Sizes are generally given in millimeters.

Freshwater Rice Pearls

HENGSHENG 5 PCS Freshwater Cultured Pearl Oyster DIY Jewelry Loose Pearls(bcpo001-5) (5PCS)

Product Description: 100% Real Scene to Take Pictures Pearl size:1-10mm Pearl color: may mixed color Pearl shape: maybe water drop/oval/round/irregular/baroque/rice/bread Pearl ...

Only $95.00
Freshwater Rice Pearls Peacock Black 3.25-3.5mm (16" Strand)

Size: 3.25-3.5mm Grade: B - Hole size: 1.0mm Approximate Beads per Strand: 77 Shape: Oval , Color: Peacock Black Country of origin: Asia

Only $12.05
4mm Rice Shaped White Freshwater Cultured Pearl Bracelet

This chic pearl bracelet adds a touch of style to any occasion. The bracelet features two braided strands of lustrous 4mm rice shaped white freshwater pearls affixed with a ster...

$169.00  $49.00

Freshwater Nugget Pearls

White Freshwater Cultured Nugget Pearls 7-9mm / 16 Inch Strand

Gorgeous creamy white pearls with good luster. Fascinating funky potato/nugget shapes, no two pearls exactly alike. Use for small dangling earrings, stretch bracelets, string wi...

Only $5.99
BRC Beads Fresh Water Pearl Natural Pearl Irregualar Nugget Shape White Approxi 12mm 40pcs 15.5 I...

Gorgeous creamy fresh water pearls with good luster,elegant and pure, is known as the gem queen. Center drilled ideal for pearl bracelets and other jewelry making needs.And ther...

Only $6.99
2pcs Natural real freshwater pearl Gemstone Marcasite Zircon beads for DIY Jewelry Making Beads (...

We show many stones to help you understand what you will get. Each stone is different because it is real natural stone.

Only $9.90

Nugget and Potato Pearls

Nugget and potato pearls refers to the shapes, either nugget shaped or potato shaped. These are generally drilled through the widest part of the pearl, but sometimes, can be top drilled.

Pearls cannot be strung on a wide cord or chain, but must be strung on a fine silk or polyester thread, or a fine wire. The holes in pearls are difficult to drill wider because it is easy to cause the pearls to disintegrate.

Pearls are one of the most fragile gemstones, and need special care. They should never be scrubbed or brushed, and keep best in a soft cloth or bag.  You can use soap and water to clean pearls, but should use a gentle hand dishwashing liquid or liquid hand soap.

Unusual Shaped Freshwater Pearls

If you go to a pearl importer to buy your pearls, or a bead show, you will be amazed at all of the different shapes that cultured pearls come in. I love to sift through the varying shapes, colors, and styles of freshwater pearls.

The most interesting pearls are the stick pearls, that almost do not look like pearls at all. They make some really unusual jewelry designs.  Stick shaped pearls are usually drilled from side to side.

Teardrop shapes are really nice for a very simple necklace.  They can be separated by knots in the cord, and held in place to look like they are floating.

Freshwater Potato Pearls

10-11mm Peacock Fresh Water Potato Pearl Grade B with a 2mm Large Hole - 8 Inch Strand

10-11mm Peacock Fresh Water Potato Pearl Grade B with a 2mm Large Hole - 8 Inch Strand

Only $10.00
11-12mm White Fresh Water Potato Pearl Grade B with a 2mm Large Hole - 8 Inch Strand

11-12mm White Fresh Water Potato Pearl Grade B with a 2mm Large Hole - 8 Inch Strand

Only $11.00
Joe Foreman Dyed 9-10mm Freshwater Cultured Pearl Potato Freeform Loose Beads For Jewelry Making ...

Top grade dyed pearl, great for DIY, jewelry making or art program. Attention please: the really beads strand may different form the image.

$7.64  $5.36

Freshwater Coin Pearls

11-12mm Coin Brownish Black Freshwater Cultured Pearl Beads Strand 15 Inch Jewelry Making Beads

they are natural freshwater pearl beads, beads, the white,pink,purple color are natural, the other is dyed. The hole of the beads 1mm, the length of the strand is 15 inches 2mm:...

Only $7.80
uGems Freshwater Cultured Pearls White Strand 13mm Coin

This is a strand of fine 13mm coin shape cultured Freshwater Pearls. 15" about 27 beads per strand; ; .13mm diameter, 6mm thick; very good lustre; drilled the long way; see pict...

Only $22.24

Bead Stringing Vs. Pearl Knotting

The modern way of adding pearls to a necklace is to use a bead stringing technique, treating pearls like any other bead added to the design.  But the traditional pearl stringing technique is called pearl knotting.  As each pearl is added, a knot is made, spacing the pearls apart, and giving extra security to the necklace.  If the clasp breaks or the cord breaks, only one pearl will be lost.

Pearls are somewhat heavy for beads, and this adds security to the design along with a safety clasp.  Pearl knotting can be tedious, but is very easy to learn, and creates a very classic design for a pearl necklace.

Related articles

As a jewelry artist, I can tell you that having the right pliers when designing and creating jewelry is crucial.
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One of the easiest ways to freshen up your jewelry design is by changing the bead thread or bead cord that you are using to string the beads on.
Jump rings are a basic building block of many types of jewelry, and are the main component when you make chain maille, a very popular style of jewelry right now.
Updated: 10/07/2014, lakeerieartists
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