I'd like to make a lariat necklace with a single strand of sterling silver chain and large, chunky gem/carved beads at the ends. How do I choose which chain to use? Can 2.3mm flat figure 8 chain or 2mm rolo chain support the weight, or will I risk breakage? Also, I wanted to use Swarovski, but thought a gemstone of at least 7 on the Mohs scale might be safer. What do you suggest? (I tend to knock opera-length necklaces into desks and tables when I scoot my chair in.) I've lost a number of charms this way. Thanks for suggesting sturdy gems and silver chains for me!
Cable chain incorporates thick-gauge wire into its links, so it is a good choice when making lariats. For a long lariat, stick to 3mm links or larger, as a thinner chain will be more prone to breakage with heavy use. Using 3x2.5mm, 4x3mm, 5.7mm or even 8x6mm cable chain would work well, depending on the look you want to achieve. Another fashion-forward option is to combine different size chains into the same lariat, connecting them with split rings or beaded links.
There are a wide variety of stones available that are above 7 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness such as agate, amethyst, aquamarine, carnelian, citrine, emerald, garnet, jasper, onyx, quartz, ruby, sapphire, spinel, topaz and tourmaline. Fortunately the Mohs Harness is listed in the description of each gemstone bead and component that we carry, so you will have no problem finding the perfect stone for your design. When making the lariat's dangle, make sure to use the thickest headpin that the bead's hole can accommodate for additional strength.