Everything about Making a Necklace, & Amethyst: February's Gemstone

This month's theme is designing & making a necklace, plus February's birthstone amethyst. Scroll down, or click one of the links below on the html version to go to a certain section. If you have any suggestions for the future, please e-mail me at suggestions@mrbead.com. To go to the MrBead store click here. New UK Bead Shop in GB Pounds: MrBead.co.uk

To see the full HTML color version with photos click http://www.mrbead.com/january08.htm

Designer Necklaces Made Easy with Pendants!
How to Thread Beads & Make a Necklace
Amethyst - The Royal Popestone
15% off Offer

Designer Necklaces Made Easy with Pendants!

If you don't know how to make center drops with rigid wires, you should try using pendants as the focal of your necklace. With a pendant, the stones are set on a bezel, so it looks very clean and professional and you won't have to worry about wires breaking or coming loose. In addition, you can string a pendant onto a piece of wire just like a bead. It's very easy to make a designer necklace with a pendant.

However, there is one rule to follow to create a professional-looking necklace. If the pendant you chose has multiple colors, try to incorporate most of those colors into the rest of the necklace as well. You can do this using bead of these colors along with colored thread. If you don't include the major colors into the rest of the necklace, people's eyes will focus on that particular color and they won't be able to appreciate the effect of the whole necklace.

Another way to harmonize the pendant with the necklace is to use beads that are similar in quality as the stones used in the pendant. If the stones in the pendant are high quality gemstones with beautiful facets, use good quality, faceted beads. If the pendant uses tumbled stones with lots of inclusions, you should use baroque beads that won't take the limelight away from the focal pendant.

Use metal beads and findings for professionalism and to enhance the focal beads without drawing too much attention to themselves. Spacers are also useful to add-design and to economize on the beads used. They vary greatly in size, thickness, and shape so you can dramatically alter the style of your necklace. Spacers are excellent for adding just a sliver of metallic flash. Try using small 925 gothic spacers in between colorful single beads for a classy effect, and cone or dome-shaped ones called bead caps are great for topping off a drop.

Large beads can also be used as the focal point of your necklace instead of a pendant & frame beads being ideal for this. Plus, use different sizes and color beads in your necklace for effect. Variation adds style. Finally, choose the catch to match and remember jump rings to attach it. A dainty necklace uses a tiny clasp, whereas a heavy necklace needs a larger, stronger catch.

See our new Pendant Category here
Clasps Spacers & Findings here

How to Thread Beads and Make a Necklace

Threading beads is easy, but it does help to know a few tricks if you are going to add a clasp or if you are planning on knotting between each bead for a necklace. Minimum materials needed: Beads, Beading Thread, Beading Needle, Super Glue & Stretchy Elastic for Bracelets. Other things to consider: Bead Measure, Beading Tray, Chain Nose Pliers, Clasp and Bead Tips & Bees Wax for Thread.

The best way to design a necklace is to work with a beading tray. You can set up all your beads on the tray and move them around to come up with the best design. If you don't have a beading tray, use a towel. That way they won't roll off the table & beads have a habit of finding the floor! If you want a clasp in your necklace, arrange the pattern so that it will take the place of a bead that is in the center of a group of beads - and consider where the clasp will go when designing. Fishhook clasps are the most common, but a round push-in box-type looks best. If your necklace will be 26 inches or longer, you don't need a clasp. To help plan the design of your necklace use a beading board, for detail about this click here.

It's attractive to mix different sizes of beads in a necklace, and sometimes varying types of beads too. One beautiful large bead looks nice as a focal point. However, this will affect the weight of thread you use, since different types of beads have different hole sizes. You need thread that is thin enough to allow the beads through & but also heavy enough to form a knot that the bead can't slip over. Try different cords and if necessary double to ensure you get a big enough knot. Silk is the best cord for pearls and gemstones, giving the necklace a more graceful drop. Nylon like fishing line is best for glass bead necklaces - cheaper and stronger than silk, but slightly harder to work. If you plan on knotting between the beads, then choose the color of the cord carefully.

Once your beads are arranged and the thread cut to about 6-inches longer than you plan the necklace (or twice as long if you intend to knot), you are ready to string. It's best to use a beading needle. Twisted wire needles are best as they have a loop at the end that threads easily and then flattens out to fit through the beads. They are available in different sizes. For pearls you will need a finer needle, but for most projects a medium size is ideal. If you want to use a clasp, then string a bead tip first, but the clasp itself goes on last. The bead tip size depends on your thread, but a 3.5mm tip fits most. First attach one end of your cord to the bead tip with a knot, crimp the tip closed, and cut the excess cord away with pliers.

To knot or not to knot is up to you. Knotting makes the necklace drape nicely and it stops the beads from rubbing against each other or getting lost if the necklace breaks. Knots also add to the length of your necklace, so you need less beads. Start your necklace with the right length of doubled thread and tie a knot at the end. Then you can begin to string your beads. The first bead that you string must have a hole that is wide enough to allow you to string the thread through it twice. This is because when you finish the necklace you will be pulling the thread back through this first bead.

Amethyst: The Royal Purple Pope Stone

Amethyst is the Birthstone for February, the purple variety of quartz. If it was not so widespread, amethyst would be very expensive. Its name comes from the Greek, meaning "not drunken". Perhaps due to a belief that amethyst would sober the effects of alcohol, or maybe referring to its wine-like color. Although amethyst is always purple, it comes in shades of pale lilac to deep purple. Deeper colors are more valuable, "milky" amethyst is the cheapest.

According to Greek mythology, Dionysius, the god of intoxication, was angered by an insult from a mere mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal that crossed his path, creating fierce tigers to carry out his wish. Along came unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. Diana turned Amethyst into a stature of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god's tears stained the quartz purple, creating the gem we know today.

Purple has long been considered a royal color, featured in the British Crown Jewels and a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that amethyst could dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence. Because amethyst was believed to encourage celibacy and symbolize piety, it was very important in the ornamentation of Catholic and other churches in the Middle Ages. Amethyst is still the stone of bishops who often wear amethyst rings. Even in Tibet, amethyst is considered to be sacred to the Buddha.

Healers and New Agers believe certain gemstones heal on a metaphysical level, because of the earth's energy that has been absorbed by these stones. Amethyst is considered to have healing powers of purifying and pacifying - with the ability to transform lower energies into higher, healing at all levels of mind, body and spirit. Amethyst's sobering and calming qualities associate it with peace. It is known to calm those with constant rigorous mental activity. Called "nature's tranquilizer", because it also relaxes the whole nervous system. Amethyst reduces negativity and brings mental strength, stability, and vigor. Plus understanding to all that is transitional, especially death and rebirth, providing peace of mind when a loved one is lost. As an elixir, amethyst can help toothache, bone and joint discomforts and problems with the stomach and digestive tract. It has also been known to treat various types of blood disease and balancing blood sugar.

In yoga, amethyst aids the 6th Chakra, the Third Eye, center of the body's spiritual power. Because amethyst heightens awareness, both spiritual and psychic - increasing intuition and psychic development and transition from a normal state of consciousness to a deeper awareness. Amethyst is mined in South American and African countries. African is the best, but mined in smaller sizes. Very dark amethyst, mostly in small sizes, is also mined in Australia.

To see all our Amethyst click here

15% Offer!

To get 15% off (before shipping) on anything in our MrBead bead store, just key in "amethyst" (without the commas) at the checkout and click "Redeem Coupon". Cannot be used with any other coupon.

Offer valid until Thursday 31st January 2008 only - so act now. The more you order, the more you save! Only for use in our store at the checkout and not valid with any other offers.

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