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Blister and potato pearl necklace and earrings

Mix shapes for unmatched style

My inspiration for jewelry usually comes from the beads themselves. When I saw these pearls at the Bead&Button Show last year, I knew they could be combined for a great necklace. The unpredictable jagged shape of the blister pearls really sets off the more traditional pearl strand. The visual chemistry is equally eye-catching in a quick pair of earrings.

SUPPLIES

Necklace 17 in. (43 cm)

  • 16-in. (41 cm) strand 12–18 mm blister pearls
  • 2 16-in. (41 cm) strands 8 mm potato pearls
  • 2 5 mm round spacer beads (optional)
  • flexible beading wire,.010 or.012
  • 2 crimp beads
  • toggle clasp
  • chainnose or crimping pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters

Earrings

  • 2 12–18 mm blister pearls 
  • 6 8 mm potato pearls
  • 1 1⁄2 in. (3.8 cm) cable chain, 2  mm links
  • 4 1 1⁄2-in. (3.8 cm) head pins
  • pair of earring wires
  • chainnose and roundnose pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters

INSTRUCTIONS

Necklace
Blister and potato pearl necklace
Step 1
Cut two pieces of beading wire. On one wire, string 10 in. (25 cm) of blister pearls.
Blister and potato pearl necklace 02
Step 2
On the second wire, string 12 in. (30 cm) of potato pearls.
Blister and potato pearl necklace 03
Step 3
On each end, over both wires, string a blister pearl. On each end, on each wire, string 2 1⁄2 in. (6.4 cm) of potato pearls. Allowing 2 in. (5 cm) for finishing, check the fit and add or remove beads from each end if necessary.
Blister and potato pearl necklace 04
Step 4
On each end, over both wires, string a blister pearl, a crimp bead, and half of a clasp. If the holes of the blister pearls are too small to go back through, string a spacer bead between the pearls and the crimp bead. Go back through the beads just strung and tighten the wires. Crimp the crimp bead and trim the excess wire.
Earrings
Blister and potato pearl necklace e1
Step 1
On a head pin, string a potato pearl, a blister pearl, and a potato pearl. Make a wrapped loop.
Blister and potato pearl necklace e2
Step 2
On a head pin, string a potato pearl. Make the first half of a wrapped loop. Cut a 3⁄4-in. (1.9 cm) piece of chain. Attach the potato- pearl unit. Complete the wraps.
Blister and potato pearl necklace e3
Step 3
Open the loop of an earring wire. Attach both dangles. Close the loop. Make a second earring to match the first.
DA_BDSP0308_04
Design Alternative
Use boldly dyed shell beads for a brighter, more casual look.
Tip!
Before stringing the blister-pearl strand, choose the blister pearls for the earrings and the points where the wires join in the necklace. Look for pairs of pearls with similar shapes.
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