Some time ago, I got a custom order from a customer at Malibu Tan (one of my consignment shops). I have created pieces for this customer before and she has very exquisite taste. The request was a necklace with a large blue focal piece. She then saw a beaded necklace and asked if I could make a similar type necklace to go with the focal piece... so... my mind starts thinking... can I bead crystals?
First... the focal piece needed to be large and it had to be a Swarovski crystal (pear shaped). So... checking with all of my suppliers and the largest pear shape I could get in was about 30mm. Not big enough! I was looking for a piece that was about 40mm (1 1/2 inches). I finally hunted down a dark sapphire blue crystal through a chandelier supplier. OK... I have the crystal now have to think about the necklace. Swarovski came out with a new color this year... an indigo blue which I thought would look good with the pendant but... what size do I need... what is the best shape. I ordered in 2.mm bicones, 3mm bicones and 3mm round - I know... fairly tiny beads but hey... I do love a challenge.
Now, the beads are in what is the best way to approach this? Pulled out some of my beading books and thought I would do either a round peyote or spiral stitch but... either way, I knew I needed to bead a tube that would be strong enough to hold a 40mm crystal. First, I thought I would run a rubber tubing inside the beaded tube but, when I tried that, the color of the tubing showed through the crystal beads. I've thought about this project on and off for a couple of months and this weekend, I came up with another idea. First, I took 2.5mm crystals and strung them onto sterling silver Accu-Flex. I figured this would give the piece strength. Next... using a combination of the round and bicone crystals, I did a spiral stitch around the crystals I strung onto the Accu-Flex. I hadn't beaded in a long time so, it took a few efforts to get it just the way I wanted it and even while working on it, I wasn't sure if I was doing it the right way.
Well... I finished the piece today. There are over 820 individual crystals in this piece and because crystal can cut thread, each crystal has been stitched with the thread passing through it a minimum of 3 times. The ends of the necklace have been finished with sterling silver end caps. I will be taking it in for the customer tomorrow - I hope she likes it... if not... I can always put it in my Etsy or Artfire shop! :) I'm not a beader but... I think it turned out OK!