Wednesday, October 7, 2015

How to Make an Easy Silk Cord Sautoir Necklace | 7 Tips and Tricks

By on Wednesday, October 07, 2015 3 Comments

Sautoir necklaces are certainly trending.  This classic design has been around for well over a century. There are actually 2 styles of sautoirs - a rope kind with tassel ends which is simply knotted in the front. The long version with a focal and a tassel is what is popular today.  I had a go with making a sautoir before with adjustable chains.

Sue Henry asked me what a sautoir is. A sautoir is a long rope necklace with tassels, originally inspired by military braid. Popular in Europe from the late 1800's onwards, loved by the Edwardians (1901-1910) and flappers. There are two styles. One is a rope necklace simply knotted in front as shown here. The second style is the subject of this latest tutorial - a single focal with a tassel below it.

This time, I am showing how a strategically placed clasp can make make the tasseled focal be interchangeable with other focals.  So you can mix the focals to match other outfits.  This tip was inspired by a design I spotted by Heather over at BluKatDesign.

I also used twisted silk cord for a touch of luxury and elegance.

What you need :
  • cord  - I used 4 mm twisted silk cord 
  • end caps with loops*
  • clasp* 
  • jump rings
  • 20G wire -  I used the fine silver plated gold colored one, courtesy of Parawire
  • focal  - I have a variety of cloisonne ones
  • chain 
  • glue - a liquid glue like Super New Glue is best (not the same formation as regular super glue)
* all courtesy of Endless Leather

I used 28" of navy blue silk cord.  This is my preferred length but you can certainly make it much longer if you wish. If you just cut it, the twisted silk cord will unravel, making it next to impossible to glue the end inside an end cap.

So here is Tip 1.  Tape up the cord end with some sticky tape or painters tape so it doesn't unravel. Now add a drop of liquid glue and let it seep through the fibers. Let it set.  You can try it with more viscous glues like E6000 or a 2 part epoxy glue but these might be a little messy.  Basically the glue sets the fibers together so they do not unravel when you remove the tape.

You do need to cut just above the glued bit. Using scissors was tough and not as neat as sawing it off with a blade of some kind.

Cut a length of wire - add 4-5 inches to the length of the focal.  Make a loop at one end. Here's another tip. Rather than use additional jump rings, I incorporated the clasp into the loop (Tip 2). Then wrap the loop. Why not a jump ring ?  I didn't want additional length to the overall design.

Feed the focal on the wire and make another loop on the other end.  Here is what I did to speed up the addition of the chain tassel. Rather than cutting individual lengths, I cut up double the length and hook up the middle rings. (Tip 3) Add as many chain lengths as you wish.

Complete the wrapped loop. Don't worry if  you make any miscalculations.  You can always trim off any excess chain once in place. (Tip 4)  Like trimming hair bangs!

Connect the lower part of the Tip 5 -  Using tools with a bigger surface area helps open and close jump rings easily and reduces the chances of tool marking as the force is spread out.  I like using a broad nose pliers and the bent nose pliers in this orientation. These are exactly the tools I use for chain maille projects.

Tip 6. Always double up on jump rings whenever possible. This will ensure that the design stays together if one ring fails.

The clasp attaches the focal onto the double jump rings.  Tip 7 If you decide to make up more focals, then they all can be interchanged with the same cord necklace.

All final project photographs were taken on my iPhone 5 using the camera+ app and the Modahaus TS320 Tabletop Photostudio in natural light. If you have the Modahaus, try putting the black sheet behind the white to get that graduated grey effect. Tutorial photographs were taken with artificial lights in my windowless basement studio using the same phone camera, app and photostudio.

More information on my How to Photograph Jewelry Webinar.

Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. Nice project. Love the finish. My kind of necklaces.

  2. Another great tutorial Pearl!! I see now why you liked the cloisonne .... ;0)

    This is such a simple but effective statement piece. Looks great on anything really! You definitely made me think about getting some silk cord!