Continuous Hematite Necklace

Continuous Hematite Necklace

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So, my Mother wanted a necklace that she could hang a Crucifix from that was beaded with Hematite and was large enough to slip over her head without needing a clasp.   Her hands just don’t do clasps well, and she doesn’t want to always need assistance putting  jewelry on, and who could blame her?  I had the Hematite already and she found a nice Crucifix that she fell in love with, so this was a nice quick project.  Rather than try to figure out what length to make it, I wound up just adding beads and using a bead stopper to temporarily hold it in place to see if she could slip it on and off.  So Oddly enough, I never measured this necklace.  

Having no experience with a continuous necklace, I wasn’t sure how I would go about adding crimp tubes, so I did some research and found this method acceptable.  I like symmetry so I found using two crimps more pleasing and more secure (at least to my eye).  I used 6 MM Hematite beads for the bottom part, dividing the beads in half and placing the pendant in the center, then I used 4 MM Hematite beads for the part that goes around the neck dividing them between both sides and adding one additional 4 MM bead for the center back.  Using the largest wire that will fit the bead hole is always wise, in my case it was .024, quite large and strong.  The last bead on each end and center back still needed to be reamed as the hole would not allow it to go through twice.  While they claim that the bead wire doesn’t need to pass through the beads twice and I can see no advantage in strength, it does keep the cut end between the beads and away from the skin.  So I went about the unfortunate chore of reaming three beads.  Its important to use some water to lubricate the hole, bead and reamer, otherwise you’re just rubbing off the diamond bits from your reamer points.

After everything is assembled, reamed and strung, I tighten it up nicely, then flex the whole thing so that its not too tight and flexible enough not to cause any undue stress or pulling and that it will hang nicely when worn.  I used 2 x 2 sterling crimp tubes, and crimped them in the usual fashion.  First flattening them with the bottom half of crimping pliers securely and evenly, then rounding it with the top part of the crimp pliers, being careful to not over work the silver causing it to become brittle, this is very important.  I really prefer to go the extra step and use a crimp cover.  These are wonderful, they are made of sterling silver and are hollow and open.  They are not the easiest to use, but when they have been applied over the crimp tube and closed properly they look like a sterling silver bead and not a crimp.  They do nothing to add strength, they are only covers and make the whole piece look more pleasing and finished.  She proudly wears it to church and she’s happy with it.  So am I.

A website devoted to learning, sharing and teaching a wide range of fiber arts. Inkle, Tablet and Navajo style weaving, Spinning, Knitting, Crochet, Sewing and Lace Making. Silver Work, Beading and Tool Making grace my bench as well.

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