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

4x6mm white freshwater pearl rice beads 15"strand

White freshwater pearl rice beads. This strand is 15.5" long, about 4x6mm.

$7.00  $3.99
Pandahall 5 Strands 13.77"~14.17" Ivory Grade A Natural Rice Pearl Beads Strands, 6~8x4~5mm, abou...

Grade A Natural Pearl Beads Strands, Rice, IvorySize: about 4~5mm wide, 6~8mm long, hole: 1mm, about 49pcs/strand, 13.77"~14.17".These pearl beads are made of the natural pearl....

Only $15.09
Ruilong Screw Thread Rice Beads Natural Freshwater Pearl Loose Beads For Jewelry Making (9-10MM)

$15.99  $6.99

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

Cherry Blossom Beads 10-11mm Peacock Fresh Water Potato Pearl Grade B with a 2mm Large Hole - 8 I...

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

Only $10.00
Cherry Blossom Beads 10-11mm White Fresh Water Potato Pearl Grade B with a 2mm Large Hole - 8 Inc...

10-11mm White Fresh Water Potato Pearl Grade B with a 2mm Large Hole - 8 Inch Strand Approx 20 beads per strand

Only $10.00
Cherry Blossom Beads 11-12mm White Fresh Water Potato Pearl Grade B with a 2mm Large Hole - 8 Inc...

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

$11.00  $7.95

Freshwater Coin Pearls

Joe Foreman Freshwater Pearl Beads for Jewelry Making Natural Semi Precious Gemstone 14mm Coin Wh...

Beautiful gemstone, stone, natural,variation material and colors, are excellent for jewelry design, adding fashion style and decent beauty to beadwork.

Only $18.93
La Regis Jewelry Sterling Silver 12-12.5mm Pink Coin Shape Freshwater Cultured Pearl Necklace, 18...

A Nice Sterling Silver 12-12.5mm Pink Coin Shape Freshwater Cultured Pearl Necklace 18" Length, with 2" Long Chain Extender For Longer Look. Please Contact Us If You Do Not See ...

Only $49.99

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.
Whether you are a jewelry designer, or just a person looking for the right chain to hang a favored pendant, choosing the right chain can make your necklace stunning, or just so-so.
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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