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Party Pearls

Cluster pearls for a celebratory jewelry set

I had a shirt that needed a necklace, and a single strand of pearls looked too plain. So I started wiring the pearls to chain — just the look my top needed! Since then, I’ve made custom pearl necklaces in a variety of color combinations. The necklaces range from just a few pearls to very full clusters with 130 pearls. Varying the size and number of pearls makes each necklace either big and bold or petite and refined. The end result is always a lot of fun and goes with any outfit, from casual to elegant.

SUPPLIES

Necklace 17 in. (43 cm)

  • 16 mm round pearl
  • 8–10 14 mm round pearls
  • 13–19 12 mm round pearls
  • 25–31 10 mm round pearls
  • 33–39 8 mm round pearls
  • 23–29 6 mm round pearls
  • 17–20 in. (43–51 cm) chain, 5 mm links
  • 102–128 1 1⁄2-in. (3.8 cm) head pins, 20- or 22-gauge
  • lobster claw clasp
  • chainnose and roundnose pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters 

Check your local bead store for supplies.

INSTRUCTIONS

Party Pearls 1
Step 1
Party Pearls 2
Step 2

1. To make a pearl unit: On a head pin, string a pearl. Make a plain loop. Make one 16 mm unit, eight to ten 14 mm units, 13 to 19 12 mm units, 25 to 31 10 mm units, 33 to 39 8 mm units, and 23 to 29 6 mm units.

2. Cut a 17–20-in. (43–51 cm) piece of chain with an odd number of links. Open the loop of the 16 mm pearl unit. Attach the 16 mm unit to the center link of chain. Close the loop.

Party Pearls 3
Step 3

3. On each side, about 1 in. (2.5 cm) from the 16 mm unit, attach a 14 mm unit. Continue attaching pearl units at 1-in. (2.5 cm) intervals, in descending sizes, until you’ve attached a 12 mm, 10 mm, 8 mm, and 6 mm on each side of the 16 mm. This is the beaded section.

Party Pearls 4
Step 4
Party Pearls 5
Step 5

4. Starting at the center of the necklace, in between the two 14 mm units, attach three to five pearl units of different sizes to each link of chain until the cluster is the desired fullness. (Note: The center cluster shown here has 38 pearl units, but you can add more or fewer as desired.)

5. Staying within the beaded section, work outward from the center and continue attaching units of different sizes to the chain. Taper the sizes of units as you go, attaching more 8 mm and 6 mm units on each end of the beaded section.

Party Pearls 6
Step 6
Party Pearls 7
Step 7

6.  Check the fit, and add or remove chain links from each end if necessary. On one end link of chain, attach a 6 mm pearl unit.

7.  Open a jump ring. On the other end of the necklace, attach an end link of chain and a lobster claw clasp. Close the jump ring.

FIND MORE: stringing

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