Primer

Clockwise from top left: freshwater potato, half-round potato, coin, hybrid teardrop, round, and flat square pearls

Beads Bone Flat Square

Left to right: freshwater stick, flat square, and coin pearls

Left to right: freshwater heart, stick, and Baroque pearls

Left to right: freshwater stick, flat square, and coin pearls

You'll find a vast array of lustrous pearls in Beading with Pearls. They come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, and when incorporated inio the 30 great designs featured, show an amazing range of versatility. You might he surprised to find that their power as a design element is strong, ranging anywhere from lending a soft and delicate whispery tone to giving a hold and colorful shout.

All natural pearls are produced by mollusks. A naturally-occurring pearl is created when a piece of sand or other irritant gets inside the mollusks body and the creature slowly builds lavers of smooth nacre, a natural secretion also # #

called "mother-of-pearl, around the irritant to make itself more comfortable.

Clockwise from top left: freshwater potato, half-round potato, coin, hybrid teardrop, round, and flat square pearls

Cultured pearls remove the chance factor in finding consistently-sized pearls. They are created by a pearl farmer who inserts a round shell bead inside a mollusk. As in nature, the mollusk builds nacre around the irritant, creating .1 fairly uniform pearl. Culturing pearls not only garners consistent round sizes, but offers the opportunity to produce other shapes as well. To do so, a pearl farmer plants a shaped shell within a mollusk, and the result is a pearl in that specific shape. Popular pearl shapes include coins, sticks, fiat teardrops, squares, and diamonds.

Left to right: freshwater heart, stick, and Baroque pearls

Other types of pearl shapes include krislfi> which have no nucleus—thev arc simplv the extra nacre that may be

produced by «1 mollusk. Make pearls, also known as blister-pearls. are produced by inserting a half bead into a specific place in the mollusks shell. The mollusk produces a hollow pearl that is removed, filled with glue, and then backed with mother-of-pearl to create a pearl cabochon.

Fach species of mollusk creates a slightly different type and color of pearl nacre, bur the most noticeable difference is between freshwater and ocean pearls. Freshwater mollusks produce pearls that have a characteristic uneven surface. I hey are relatively inexpensive and easy to find at bead shops. Ocean mollusks make pearls that have a very smooth, even surface, but they're harder to come by and arc often much more expensive.

Historically, the highest-quality natural pearls have come from southern India and the countries surrounding the Persian Gulf. Japan reigned in overall production (or scores ol vears, but over the last several, China has become the m largest producer, offering larger quantities and lower prices.

Top to bottom: glass teardrop; freshwater round, top-drilled oval, rice, two strands of half-round Baroque, rounds, rice. Baroque, button pearls

Top to bottom: glass teardrop; freshwater round, top-drilled oval, rice, two strands of half-round Baroque, rounds, rice. Baroque, button pearls

Other beads made to look like pearls have always been a fashion option, especially for costume jewelry. Fine glass pearls, also referred to as Majorca pearls in reference to the Mediterranean island where they were first produced in mass quantities, are made of a glass base covered with crushed shells or fish scales. Crystal pearls are relative newcomers to headers' stashes—they consist of a smooth, fine crystal core covered with a pearls coating. Plastic pearls ¿ire beads covered with opalescent paint and are the least-desirable option for headers as a seam is often evident, and the finish can chip off during wear.

Teardrop pearl

If your design primarily features pearls or size and shape consistency is crucial, buy the best quality you can find. If your design means that the pearls will be mixed in with dozens of other beads and consistency isn't an issue, you can get away with a less expensive option.

Natural pearls have very small holes, so if your design requires thicker stringing material than the pearl can handle, consider using a pearl reamer to make the holes larger, or buy the larger-holed glass or crystal pearls.

Pearls come in fully-drilled, half-drilled, and un-drilled versions. Make sure to check that you're purchasing the proper type for the project you're making.

Find out how the pearl was colored before you buy it, especially if you plan on using it for a piece of jewelry like a bracelet, which will suffer lots of wear and tear. Most pearls are naturally colored, but some pearls are surface-dyed and the dye will rub off if they're worn frequently.

Before you embark on creating a fabulous piece of pearl jewelry, read on to learn about all the items you need ro pur ir together. Invest in the best materials and tools you can afford ro achieve professional results.

Materials

Before you embark on creating a fabulous piece of pearl jewelry, read on to learn about all the items you need ro pur ir together. Invest in the best materials and tools you can afford ro achieve professional results.

Materials

You'll be able to find just about any item included in this materials list at your local high-quality bead shop, but you can also track down these materials online and at most retail bead shows.

Other Beads

Walking into a bead shop lor the first time is overwhelming just because of the sheer number of colors, shapes, sizes, and types of beads available. It you fall in love with beads, you'll always be overcome bv the "wow' factor, but vou

don't necessarily need ro know about each and every type right away. I he Pearl Primer, page 10, covers pearls, lhe following is a bit of information on the several types of beads, besides pearls, used for the projects in this book.

Crystal heath are made from leaded glass and arc cut in a way that produces maximum brilliance, lhe finest of these beads come from Austria. If vou use thread to stitch crystals, but-

fer the crystals by stringing a seed bead on either side. I his helps ensure that the crystal s crisp edges won't cut the thread.

12 Getting Started r-

+1 0

Responses

  • Fre-qalsi
    Are australian pearls dyed?
    7 years ago
  • amy
    How to manufacture pearl nucleus?
    7 years ago
  • lete
    What are flat square pearls called?
    7 years ago
  • yvonne sanger
    What kind of beads are put into mollusks?
    7 years ago
  • GABRIELLA
    How do they make square pearls?
    7 years ago

Post a comment