Saturday, July 9, 2011

Reader Question - How to Fix a Beaded Freshwater Pearl Earring

By on Saturday, July 09, 2011 3 Comments


The Reader Question thread is where I pick an email or comment question to answer.  I don't claim to know all the answers but I do my best to help.

Linda :This is an inexpensive fresh water pearl earring that my husband bought for me as a 'cheer up' gift during a bad time for me.  This has emotional value and limited other value.

The beading thread  broke on one earring.  I have all the pieces.  I have tried to figure out how to re-bead the earring with no success.  Could you point me in the direction to repair this? 


Pearl : What a thoughtful husband! That's a good thing you have all the beads.  The good news is you can fix this even if you have never done beading before.

First, let's see how the earring was constructed. There are two clusters of pearls with a metal bead in between and at each end.  Each cluster consists of 2 "tripods" of 3 pearls each sandwiching a third set of 3 pearls (I think!) in a horizontal plane.  





The easiest way to reconstruct the earring is to start off with a flat right angle weave and finish with a modified tubular weave for the 3D effect.  Work from the top of the dangle down and then up again.

I like to use Fireline for its strength. It is available from the fishing department.  The "crystal" color will be better suited than the regular dark grey for the creamy pearls. But as I only had dark purplish pearls of vaguely the same shape as Linda's pearls, I used the grey version.


Cut a 2' length and add a beading needle to each end. Using two needles is not only faster but more importantly, reduces the number of passes you  make through each pearl compared to the path you have to take with a single needle. Pearls are finely drilled so no more than 2 passes through each one if you can help it.

Pick up a small spare seed bead and move it to the center of the thread. Now go through the bottom hole of the clam shell finding with both needles.  The seed bead will act as an anchor. It will also be used to tie off the thread at the end.Next cross weave a metal bead i.e. go through it from opposite directions.

Pick up 1 pearl on the left needle  and 2 on the right needle.  The left needle goes through or cross weaves with the extra pearl on the right needle. Proceed down the earring cross-weaving with alternating a metal bead or a pearl. The cross-weaved pearls is the first of the 3 you need for the horizontal set.  The other non-cross-weaved pearls form part of the tripod set of pearls.



When you get to the last metal bead, do a cross weave through it and then *add 2 pearls on the right needle. The pearl nearest the metal bead will be the third bead of the tripod. The other pearl will be the second of the 3 horizontal pearls. Take the left needle through one of the tripod pearls going back up the earring (below left).



Add a pearl to the left needle and then pass it through, cross weave fashion through the second pearl on the right thread (above right).

Once you tighten the threads, take what is now the right needle and pass it through the pearl at the bottom, then up again through the pearl sitting on top.


Add a pearl to the left needle and pass it through the metal bead (below left).  Remember this newly added pearl.  The right needle will also go through it before cross weaving with the metal bead (below right). This metal bead will now have two threads passing through it in opposite directions.


Repeat the steps from * to get back up to the clamshell finding.  Pass the needles through its bottom hole again.

Tie the threads around the seed bead. Use a surgeon's knot - this is modified reef knot. Just wrap the right hand end more than once on the second knot. Dot with glue. Let dry and trim the threads. Close the clam shell gently with pliers. Attach the earring to the ear wire and you're done!


My pearls were not as elongated as Linda's but I think the clusters look the same.  It was hard to see from the photograph. But if the sets of pearls were in fours and not threes, then the beading is easier as the second half (coming back up) would be the same as the first with some cross weaving to stitch the halves together and to stabilize those in the horizontal planes.



There may be better paths through the beads but I hope I have made it simple enough to follow. If for any reason the earring does not quite match the unbroken half, I suggest undoing the latter and remaking it in the same way.

Good luck with the repair, Linda. Perhaps this might make you into a beader!


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3 comments:

  1. Aloha Pearl

    Thank you so very much. I just looked at the post. I would never have figured it out. I'm thrilled! I need to add memory to DH's computer this morning, so it will be the afternoon before I set up.

    mahalo nui loa (thank you very much)

    Linda (via email)

    ReplyDelete
  2. well, this post is rather timely. A friend just gave me a long (73") strand of knotted pearls (which she says are NOT real) and the end broke. There's no way I'm going to re-string these, and I wondered if you think one of the glues (like hypo cement) is the strongest for thread only. I told her it would probably only be a temporary fix.

    Thoughts?

    thx,

    Nina (via email)

    ReplyDelete
  3. You're right about the glue. As the pearl necklace is knotted, you may be able to expose a short strand of the original thread from the unbroken part. It might be a bit tricky but try knotting a new thread with the old. then proceed with stringing and knotting again on the new thread until the necklace is complete.

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete

 

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