Monday, 28 January 2013

Re-stringing a vintage necklace the easy way.

Some time ago I was seduced by a fabulous vintage pearl bead necklace in my local charity shop. I'm not a massive bling wearer but I loved the size of the fake pearls which had faded to to a gentle cream. It also passed my quality test as it was very heavy and had been knotted between each pearl. A few quid later and it was mine.

A few months later it broke. The silk thread just gave up. Probably having been in a drawer for so long it just couldn't take being worn every other day.

"I'll mend it" I thought.
Initially I planned to just string the beads onto a string and leave it at that. It just wasn't right. Half the quality lay in those knots. I tried to get a knot to sit in the right place between each bead. It looked rubbish!

I resorted to google. An hour later my fingers were tied together and it still looked rubbish. The proper way was beyond me trying to work it out from some pictures. I went do some painting instead. Whilst sploshing blackboard paint around I had a brainwave of how to make the whole process a LOT easier.

SO! All I needed was re-stringing silk, available at most haberdashers/craft shops and some fine wire. Note you will need three times as much silk as the length of the necklace. I  bought silk with wire attached, opened it up and cut it in half.

Take the wire and bend it half. Thread the end of the silk through the wire as though it is a needle and twist the wire until it has created a fairly sturdy needle-like point. Then do the same on the other end of the silk.

Hold the two 'needles' together so the silk length is halved. Take the clasp of the necklace and thread the loop at the end of the silk through the clasp. Then thread the needles through the loop to create a hitch which will hold the clasp in place.

Tie a reef knot (left over right and under, right over left and under) to hold it all in place.

Take your first bead and thread it onto the silk. It is easier to do this one side at a time.

Tie a reef knot. Keep on going until all the beads are threaded. Getting the tension right is the fiddly part with this. I found that clamping it between my knees and using the weight of the beads helped me. Not the most elegant of positions!

Once all the beads are threaded tie the other side of the clasp to the end. A small drop of glue on the knot will keep this final knot in place and stop it from unraveling.

Cost: £3:50 for the silk.

Time taken: About an hour, once I knew what I was doing!

Good as new!
This works well for costume jewellery. Anything of real value really should be done by a professional who would probably sneer at my mish mash of a technique.

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