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Jewellery Necklace Lengths & Bead Sizes

HOW MANY BEADS DO I NEED?

To calculate the number of beads required use the reference opposite of standard lengths, for example princess or opera. If you are using a repetitive pattern measure the length of the sequence and divide this by the length of the necklace.

Bracelet lengths are usually about 18cm (7″) long.

Below we have calculated the approximate number of beads that you will need for standard jewellery lengths.

However, I always recommend you buy an extra few beads just in case.

TIPS:

  • remember to include the length of your clasp when calculating the length
    short on beads? knot between beads thus spacing them out
  • use your feature or more interesting beads at the front and smaller beads at the back
  • alternate beads with small filler beads, for example a seed bead or sterling silver spacer

THE SAUTOIR

The Sautoir created a long tall exaggerated silhouette for women. The sautoir necklace fell to the waist, hips and knees. The look survived until the late 1920s when the new style of chokers and short triple graduated chokers became in vogue. Long necklaces did not die altogether: they were worn around the upper arm, wrist or on an exposed back.

JEWELLERY DESIGN WITH SIZE

Using different size beads is a great design tool and creates great symmetry and interest.

JEWELLERY COMPOSITION AND BALANCE

definition: balancing size and weight is known as the ‘composition’ of your work.

Achieve the confidence of creating patterns, combining different sizes & building up a design by following these tips:

TIPS

  • Use similar sized beads to create fluidity & simplicity. i.e. repetitive patterns. E.g. alternate, colour block or repeat a pattern.
  • Use spacer beads between beads to emphasise individual beads eg. seed beads or small sterling silver known as ‘fillers’ or ‘spacers’. Try a design with & without fillers & notice the difference. It also gives your design additional flexibility so it drapes more like silk.
  • Use smaller beads for the back of the design.
  • Use dominant & large beads (‘feature beads’) at the front of your work as a focal point.They usually cost more & are interesting so don’t hide them behind your neck.
  • Graduate the size from smallest to largest bead.
  • Use an odd amount of beads to keep your work balanced.
  • Use jewellery findings/parts proportional to your work.

TIPS ON DESIGNING BRACELETS

  • Select a beautiful clasp & make it a feature
  • Measure your design precisely: you do not want it to fall off. Use an eze bracelet to measure the correct length: even 1 cm can make a big difference.
  • Secure your clasp the way it is worn & not horizontally.
  • Use a ribbon to tie lengths of chain together. It makes for adjustable sizing.
  • Hide the crimps with a cluster of dangles at the clasp.
  • When using raw brass stampings bend gently to fit the curve of your wrist.

WHY I LOVE USING FILLER BEADS IN MY JEWELLERY DESIGNS AND YOU WILL TOO!

To allow feature beads stand out I use fillers or spacer beads. They are small beads made from anything from glass, metal, sterling silver etc. They are the pause, or full stop in the beading world!

Try a design with and without fillers and notice the difference immediately. Once you use the fillers in your work you will never thread all your beads in one go.

Seed beads (small embroidery beads) also act as great fillers and give an illusion of a knot if you like the classic look knotting gives. It also gives wonderful flexibility to your designs, allowing them to drape more like a silk than flex wire.

Bugle beads are tubular beads traditionally used in embroidery. I use them regularly in my designs to allow my feature beads to stand out. They are also inexpensive so are a great way to keep costs down when you are using handmade beads for example.

Testimonials

“I have had lots of comments on the quality of your beautiful brass. Love it all!” Sue QLD

“Every time I visit Etelage I always find something different to buy.” Mandy MELBOURNE

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