Daily Archives: February 2, 2010

A tip for dealing with those tiny pearl holes

As I pack my bags to catch an early flight home from Baltimore tomorrow, I want to center myself on jewelry designs to get ready for work when I get home. One plan is to make some knotted necklaces with the resin beads and freshwater pearls.

I experimented with some of the new resin beads, to make a necklace to bring to Baltimore, only to find out that I was having trouble with my color combinations. Nothing really appealed to me. (Although I really do like the way the afternoon light is shining through that blue resin!!)

Maybe moving away from the rose color into a more peachy tone would help the combination…

Taking another tact with bone beads of brown and white…

I think that the yellow beads were throwing me off. I’m just not someone who can wear yellow. (I have some ideas percolating for those cool yellow resin babies when I get home. They just won’t be worn by me!)

I made this necklace, wore it this weekend, and will probably be taking it apart  when I get home. It’s just  not there yet…

Love the bone beads with the pearls, love the blue resin, just not sure I love them all together.

But the one thing that makes all of this stringing and unstringing tolerable and even fun, is having pearls I can use on the heavy nylon stringing cord I prefer for knotted pieces.

“Where can one find pearls with large enough holes” I used to ask? It is a huge pain in the butt to try to use a bead reamer, even if it has a battery, to ream out larger holes pearl by pearl. And, have you ever tried to hold on to one of those suckers to drill a larger hole with a flex shaft drill  bit? Good luck.

I devised a solution that works well for me, and it helps to hold several pearls in place as I work on them. I line them up on a smaller saw blade (1/0 or 2/0), place it in my jeweler’s saw, and saw in a little circle while holding each pearl. If the pearl slips out of my fingers, it is not going anywhere. I can pick up where I left off and just gently keep working at it. The best part is that it doesn’t require a lot of concentration. It is a “TV job” to work my way through enlarging the holes on a string of pearls. (Meaning I can watch TV while I’m doing it so it hardly feels like work.) It does help to keep a dishtowel or rag in your lap to collect the pearl dust.

This really works for me and I’m glad to share it. Whether making larger holes for stringing or for adding the pearls to 20 gauge wire as earring components, you  might want to try it yourself.

(Yes, it’s the middle one I’ll be able to use in a knotted necklace with #5 Stringth from Rio Grande.)

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