5 ways to Thread Semi Precious Stones
Semi-Precious stones tend to be heavier than other beads, they also typically come with very small holes.
This presents jewellery makers with a conundrum – ‘how do I choose a cord that will be both strong and thin?’
Choosing the correct thickness of cord is essential, but first you will need to identify the size of hole in your chosen beads. This will usually be written in the product description, but if you are unsure – a quick email to your bead supplier can always shine a light on anything you are struggling with.
It is reasonable to presume, that with most semi-precious beads 8mm or under, the hole size will be approximately 1mm wide, this means your stringing material should be UNDER 1mm thickness.
Below, we have compiled 5 stringing options, to make your life a little easier.
- Stretch Magic – Elastic Beading Cord
This clear stretch elastic is deceivingly strong. Unlike other stretch elastics, which tend to be made up of multiple fibres that erode and snap easily; stretch magic is made from one solid piece of polyurethane, meaning it is less likely to snap and will take much longer to wear away.
Choose stretch magic when creating simple stretch bracelets.
For very tiny holes, stretch magic starts at 0.5mm thickness, but 0.7mm & 0.8mm should also be suitable.
To secure the ends, stretch magic is generally knotted using a surgeon’s knot technique. It is best practice to then apply, a small dot of clear drying craft glue or clear nail varnish.
Disguising the knot:
Once your bracelet is secure, it’s time to decide what to do with the visible knot. You can choose to leave it exposed sitting between the beads or hide it with a variety of methods:
1) Make the last bead you string have a wider hole than your semi-precious beads. Use the wider hole to your advantage by pushing the knot deep within and hiding it.
2) Alternatively, a crimp cover can be a suitable option when hiding a knot. Measure the thickness of your knot and select a slightly larger crimp cover. Use flat nose pliers to gently wrap the ‘C’ shaped crimp cover around the knot and disguise it as a plain metal spacer bead.
3) Attach a Jump Ring over the knot, making sure that the ring is SMALLER than the beads you are using. This will hold the ring in place and prevent it sliding around over the beads.
Attach a charm or tassel to the Jump Ring. Your eye will now be drawn to the embellishment rather than the knot itself.
2. Superlon Bead Cord Tex210
A bead stringing favourite; Superlon is an all-purpose twisted nylon thin enough to fit through small holes, yet robust enough to hold weightier beads.
Superlon cord can be knotted, crocheted, woven…you name it. Its flexibility and softness gives jewellery a beautiful draping quality, making it perfect for longer length necklaces such as Malas or roped pearl.
The aim is to get each knot sitting uniform against the beads. To achieve this you will need some fine pointed bent tweezers.
To create each knot follow these easy to mster steps:
- Make an over hand knot
- Pass the tweezers through the centre of the loop and grip the cord next to the bead.
- Pull the knot down towards the bead without fully closing the loop.
- Remove the tweezers from the loop and use the fine pointed tip to push the knot tight up against the bead.
- Add another bead and repeat the process.
3. Beadsmith Superlon (S-Lon) Tex45
Beadsmith Superlon Tex45 thread is a great all-purpose stringing material, it is thin, flat and super strong which allows for use with beading needles. Superlon has hardly any stretch giving your designs consistent tension and a lovely, flexible drape.
Use this cord for beaded loom projects or when creating beaded leather wrap around bracelets.
4. Griffin Silk Thread
Similar to Superlon Cord but made from a 100% natural material, Griffin Silk is strong with very little stretch and incredibly easy to knot.
Our Griffin cords come with a small flexible needle attached to one end making it super easy to thread.
Griffin Silk is most commonly used with fresh water pearls.
If you are looking to create shorter necklaces and need to attach a clasp – a few knots in the cord and a calotte secured at each end, will enable you to do so.
5. Craft Wire / Head Pins / Eye Pins
Mastering a loop turning technique with round nose pliers and soft metal wires such as flexible craft wires, eye pins & head pins gives you a broad range of jewellery making options.
- Make drop ear rings quickly and easily with a head pin & a quick flick of the wrist.
- Combine head pins with eye pins to create movement and fluidity.
Craft wire is perfect for creating rosary style beaded necklaces or creating wire wrapped pendants, tiaras & rings. Use a wrapped loop technique to link beads together, creating beaded chain & rosary style necklaces.
As a general rule, thicker wires 1mm+ are used for the body of a shape or for anything that needs to maintain its structure. Thinner wires have more manipulation quality and can be twisted, crochets & wrapped into all sorts of shapes.
- 0.4mm – Tiaras, twisted stems, fine wrapping & binding
- 0.6mm – Perfect for semi-precious stone beads. Use with rosary style necklaces, wire wrapping or making your own eye-pins.
- 0.8mm – use with chunkier designs. Can be used in much the same way as 0.6mm but its thickness will make it tougher to bend.
- 1mm+ – Use to create the framework for wrapped pendants, bangles and various other 3 dimensional shapes.