Ever had a hard time finding exactly the right color and length of pearls to wear with your vintage outfits? (Or anytime, for that matter.) Today I am going to show you how to make a double strand of pearls, just like the ones that were so popular in the 1950s.
You can use all the same size of pearl beads, or do a gradient strand with different sizes. I chose to use 4mm, 6mm, and 8mm pearls.
You will need:
flexible beading wire (I used nylon filament)
2 small 3-way connectors
4 crimping beads (not shown)
a clasp of some sort
Also scissors or something to cut the beading wire with.
Begin the Necklace
Cut 2 strands of beading wire a few inches longer than you think you will want. Take one end of one strand, pass it through a crimping bead, through one of the loops on the connector on the side where there are two, and back through the crimping bead.
Push the bead close to the connector but not right against it. Pinch the bead shut firmly with the pliers to secure the beading wire. Trim the wire close to the crimping bead.
Now you are ready to start stringing pearls. We will make the longest strand first. For this strand I used 5 4mm pearls, 7 6mm pearls, 31 8mm pearls, 7 6mm pearls, and 5 4mm pearls again.
You can hold it up to your neck to estimate if it is the right length. I wanted mine to nestle right at the base of my neck.
To finish the strand, take the remaining few inches of beading wire, pass it through the crimping bead, through one loop on the remaining connector, and back through the crimping bead again. Tighten it close to the connector but not too snug. It needs to have some wiggle room for the pearls to hang correctly. Pinch the crimping bead shut and trim the end like the first end.
First strand is finished!
The second strand will be the shorter one. It starts just like the first one. Once the beading wire is secure to the other loop on the connector, string your pearls, using a few less this time. For this strand I used 4 4mm pearls, 6 6mm pearls, 29 8mm pearls, 6 6mm pearls, and 4 4mm pearls again.
As you string pearls, curve the strand to get a better idea of how they will lay. The strands should be almost the same length if you want them to lie closely together on your neck.
Pass the remaining end of wire through the crimping bead, the opposite connector (be careful not to twist it unless you want a twisted strand of pearls), and back through the crimping bead. But before crimping the final bead, hold the necklace up to your neck to make sure it is how you like it. Then finish this end like the others by pinching the crimping bead and trimming the end.
It's almost finished! The only thing left to do is to attach the clasp. I used a barrel clasp for mine since the little hook on the end rotates. You can either attach each end directly to the third ring on the 3-way connector, or if you find that is too close to the connector to manipulate easily, add a small jump ring, which is what I did here with a 3 x 4 mm jump ring. Either way, you simply have to open and shut loops with your pliers.
The completed necklace!
My favorite strand of vintage faux pearls is a little too long for some of my dresses, so I needed one that hugs closely to the neck. This one is the perfect addition – and of course, I can make a longer one too if I need one. You can use beads other than pearls, if you prefer, and also use the same basic idea to make double or triple strand bracelets with the smaller pearls and shorter strands of beading wire; or omit the connector and do a single strand necklace, attaching it right to a jump ring or the loop on the end of the clasp.
So there you go – a quick and easy way to make your own vintage style faux pearls. They don't take that long to complete, and of course you can make them in any color or length desired for a particular outfit. I can't wait to wear mine!