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Gemstones in Ndebele herringbone necklace

Twisted tubular herringbone spikes complement the natural color of gemstone nuggets


The matte finish and triangular shape of these seed beads add rich texture to this simple necklace. Make tubes of twisted herringbone with spiked fringe that perfectly support large gemstone beads.


both projects

  • 2 4–6mm accent beads
  • clasp
  • 2 10mm bead caps
  • 2 crimp beads
  • Nymo D, Silamide, or Fireline 6 lb. test
  • flexible beading wire, .014–.019
  • beading needles, #12
  • crimping pliers
  • wire cutters

bracelet 8 in. (20cm)

  • 3 12mm gemstone beads
  • 25g size 11/0 Japanese triangle beads

necklace 18 in. (46cm)

  • 5 15 x 30mm gemstone beads
  • 60g size 11/0 Japanese triangle beads


Spiked components

1. Center four 11/0 triangle beads on 1 yd. (.9m) of thread. Make a bead ladder two 11/0s tall and ten 11/0s long for the bracelet, or two 11/0s tall and 12 11/0s long for the necklace. Sew through the first two 11/0s and the last two 11/0s to form a ring.

2. Work one round of tubular Ndebele herringbone, sewing through only one 11/0 in the bead ladder instead of the stack of two.


3. Pick up two 11/0s and start a round of modified twisted herringbone by sewing through the next 11/0 in the previous round and through the next two stacked 11/0s (FIGURE). Repeat to complete the row, stepping up through three stacked 11/0s for the last stitch.

4. Repeat step 3 twice. Secure the working thread by tying a few half-hitch knots between the 11/0s.

5. Turn over your work and use the tail to repeat steps 2–4 on the other side of the ladder.

6. Make a total of two spiked components for a bracelet or four spiked components for a necklace.

Twisted tubes


1. To decide how long to make each tube, temporarily string three gemstones and two spiked components (or five gemstones and four spiked components for the necklace), bead caps, and accent beads on beading wire (PHOTO A). Measure all of the parts you strung and add the length of your clasp. Subtract the combined length from the desired length of your bracelet or necklace. Divide the result in half to determine how long to make each twisted tube. Remove the beads and components.

2. On 3 yd. (2.7m) of thread, leave a 12-in. (30cm) tail, and work steps 1–3 of the spiked components. Repeat step 3 until you reach the desired length. Secure the working thread as before.


3. Using the tail that is exiting the ladder, pick up an 11/0 and sew into the next 11/0 in the ladder. Sew through the next 11/0 in the ladder. Pick up an 11/0 and sew through the next 11/0 in the ladder. Repeat around the ring, and step up through the first 11/0 added in this new round. Sew through all the 11/0s added in this round to pull them into a tight ring (PHOTO B). Secure the tail as before.

4. Make a second tube to match the first.


1. On one end of the beading wire, string a crimp bead and half of the clasp. Go back through the crimp bead. Crimp the crimp bead and trim the tail.

2. String an accent bead, a bead cap, one twisted tube, the repeating pattern of gemstones and spiked components, a twisted tube, a bead cap, and an accent bead. String a crimp bead and the other half of the clasp, and crimp as before, making sure the components and twisted tubes are snug against the gemstones.

Make sure that the gemstones are not so large that they put too much stress on the spikes of the components.

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