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October birthstone: Opal chip bracelet

Because stone-cutting decreases an opal’s weight, rounds and rondelles are becoming pricey and harder to come by. For a budget-friendly option, use opal chips, which are readily available and less expensive. Pair them with amazonite to highlight extra color.

SUPPLIES

Bracelet 7 in. (18 cm)

  • 7–8 20 mm amazonite rectangle beads, double drilled
  • 5-in. (13 cm) strand opal chips
  • 1 g 11/0 seed beads, round
  • flexible beading wire,.014 or.015
  • 4 crimp beads
  • 4 Wire Guardians
  • 4 crimp covers
  • two-strand clasp
  • chainnose or crimping pliers
  • diagonal wire cutters

Amazonite beads available from Lima Beads, limabeads.com. Opals from Janice Evert Opals, janiceevertopals.com. Check your local bead store for supplies. 

INSTRUCTIONS

October birthstone Opal chip bracelet 1
Step 1
Cut two 14-in. (36 cm) pieces of beading wire. On one wire, string seven 11/0 seed beads. String through one set of holes of a double-drilled rectangle bead.
October birthstone Opal chip bracelet 2
Step 2
String seven 11/0 seed beads, a rectangle, 5/8 in. (1.6 cm) of opal chips, and a rectangle. Repeat twice, then string seven 11/0s.
October birthstone Opal chip bracelet 3
Step 3
On the remaining wire, string seven 11/0s and the remaining holes of the rectangle from step 1. Repeat step 2, reversing the order of the 11/0s and opal chips.
October birthstone Opal chip bracelet 4
Step 4
On each end of each wire, string a crimp bead, a Wire Guardian, and the corresponding loop of half of a two-strand clasp. Check the fit and add or remove beads from each end if necessary. Go back through the last few beads strung and tighten the wire.
October birthstone Opal chip bracelet 5
Step 5
Crimp each crimp bead and trim the excess wire. Close a crimp cover over each crimp.
Tip!

FOLLOW THE CURVE

This bracelet scallops slightly. For a more pronounced curve, string 3⁄4 in. (1.9 cm) opal chips and six 11/0 seed beads between the rectangles. You may need to adjust the length and buy a longer opal strand.

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