My lucky necklace started as a happy accident. When I first made it, I wasn’t sure if it really “worked,” since it was made up of odds and ends. Some people raised an eyebrow at its eye-catching composition. But I wore it often and got enough compliments to realize it probably reflected my personality. It’s meant to be a conversational starter.
Each bead in the strand has its own history. Most of the beads are remainders from bracelets and earrings I made for my best friends, some come from gifts I have received in turn that have fallen apart from overuse. The beads range from natural to synthetic. There’s mother of pearl, rose quartz, and Murano glass beads in there, apart from stone, jadeite, and Swarovski crystals.
When I moved from Manila to Oakland, upon arrival I couldn’t find my necklace anywhere—not in my shipped boxes, my laptop bag, or my purse! I immediately thought I accidentally left it behind at the hotel where I decamped for a week. Selling the house and moving was so crazy that the morning before my flight, I was still sorting and dumping stuff into my luggage. The hotel even tried to turn me out early from my room!
In the midst of this confusion, it’s no wonder why the necklace went astray. The loss saddened me. I couldn’t just make up a new necklace with the same concept because the beads were significant to me.
So you can imagine how overjoyed I was when I finally found the necklace again, almost three years later, at the bottom of a bag full of yarn. How it got there, I have no idea. The Minutemen must have put it there.
When I found it again, the necklace wasn’t in stellar condition. The wiring looked rusty and the clasp needed replacement. It annoyed me, too, that one side had too many small beads. It was time to remix this necklace again!
So this is what I did:
I studied my stash of beads and whatnot and selected a handful of beads I wanted to include in my necklace. I also selected some more items:
- a handful of small Swarovski crystals to replace some dull plastic ones
- bead wire
- one lobster clasp
- two jump rings
- jewelry pliers and nipper
- bead tray
- I cut off the old clasp and carefully removed each bead from the old string, arranging the beads in its original order on my bead tray. At this point I also cleaned some of them with a soft cloth.
- After replacing all the small plastic crystals for real ones, my mind turned to composition. I moved beads from one side of the necklace to the other, trying to create a better sense of balance in terms of color and size. For instance, I put the two rectangular stones (brown and green) at opposite sides of each other.
- Once I was satisfied with my bead arrangement (for most part, I alternated crystals with larger beads) cut off a length of bead wire. Using a stopper bead on one end, I strung the beads.
- It may be unconventional but instead of using a crimp at the end of the wire length, I used my pliers to form a loop and wrapped the wire ends neatly. I repeated this on the other side.
- Then I attached the jump rings and the clasp.
The concept behind this necklace is simple. Maybe there are tons of other people who have created something similar. It’s a great way to use up orphan beads in your collection to create something unique. To make your own, here are some suggestions:
- Use only beads that are meaningful and beautiful to you. If you don’t, you’re going to end up with a necklace that you will never wear.
- Don’t over-think the colors: size is more important.
- The Swarovski crystals you use shouldn’t overwhelm the “showcase” beads but they should capture the light well. If the lack of uniformity bothers your aesthetic, you can stick to crystals of one shape and hue.