Topics: Heirloom Jewelry, Designing with Two-Hole Beads

Q.
I have almost a dozen old family beads. I think they were originally on a bracelet but the old thread has rotted. The beads are 20 x 14mm black rounded rectangles, the back is flat, and the front is faceted. They each have two holes running the short way across the bead. I would like to incorporate the beads into a necklace. One problem is how to go back and forth between beads with a single hole and beads with a double hole. Another problem is how to have the beads lay flat. When they are part of a bracelet they lay in a straight line, but of course a necklace curves when it's worn, so the beads tilt. Thank you.
- Shirley
A.
As you've found, the curve is a big consideration when designing a necklace with two-hole beads. To create the curve, first choose one-hole beads that are slightly smaller in diameter than the distance between the first and second holes of your antique beads. When stringing, add more of these one-hole beads to the space between the bottom holes of your two-hole beads and less to the space between the top holes.

You'll need to experiment a bit to figure out the best ratio for the top-strand one-hole bead count versus the bottom-strand one-hole bead count in order to get your desired curve. Use a bead board to help you set up your design. Once you start stringing, occasionally lay the necklace on a necklace pedestal display so you can gauge how it will drape, once worn.

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