My Best Necklace Ever

Every beader has an example of the one time they just hit it out of the park.  You know, that certain design that everyone comments on and wants to steal.  I made a necklace about six years ago that is still my all time favorite piece.  I was inspired by a picture in a magazine, purchased some gorgeous chalcedony rondelles and whipped it up one summer afternoon.  Never did I suspect that I would spend the next six years explaining that 1) it wasn’t difficult to make and 2) I wouldn’t mind if they copied it.

It’s actually a really easy piece, you see. Just select approximately 4.5 feet of any oval link chain.  (Mine is sterling silver, nicely aged by throwing it on the bathroom counter and leaving it there for weeks, repeatedly.)  Cut it into a whole bunch of 5 link pieces, or whatever length you prefer.  (Really, it doesn’t particularly matter.  My piece took 36 sections, plus 2 pieces of about 3 inches of chain for the back.  You’ll need to adjust for the size of the chain you select.)  Pick out some gorgeous rondelles, somewhere between 6 and 10mm.  (Mine are 8mm chalcedony, but faceted Czech glass, Swarovski crystal and pearls have also worked out nicely.) 

Now for the fun part! 

  1. Using 22 gauge wire that matches your chain, cut 18 pieces that are 3 inches long. 
  2. Form a wire wrapped loop on one end of a piece of wire.  Add the end link of TWO of the pieces of chain BEFORE you wrap the loop closed.  Both chains should dangle freely.  Now, wrap that loop closed.  Cut off any extra wire.
  3. String on one of your beautiful rondelles, then form another loop.  Once again, string on TWO of the chain pieces, and then wrap the loop closed.  You’ve now formed a chain unit. 
  4. Continue in this manner until you have built a 12 inch section with open chain on each end.  Then repeat to build a second twelve inch section.  Lay the chains together and align the ends.
  5. Form a wire wrapped loop on one end of a piece of wire. Add the end links of ALL FOUR of the end pieces of one side of the necklace BEFORE you wrap the loop closed. This will permanently attach the two sections together. Now, wrap that loop closed. Cut off any extra wire.
  6. String on one of your beautiful rondelles, then form another loop. This time, string on the end of one of the 3 inch chain pieces for the back, and then wrap the loop closed.
  7. Repeat this process on the other side of the necklace.  Add the clasp of your choice and Voila!

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