by Laura BlackFeather, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
Bows are tying the knot this wedding season with plush, velvet and silky satin ribbon centerpieces, paired with multiple strands of Swarovski crystal pearls or gemstone nuggets, for style that's rich in texture and long in elegance.
High collar necklaces are essential jewelry pieces for brides searching for dramatic flair. Add an oversized, off-center bow and you have an easy-to-make, key piece that will keep you in the height of bridal fashion--and well within your budget.
Choosing the ribbon
Color continues to play a leading role in bridal jewelry. Choose one of your wedding colors to coordinate with your necklace. Velvet ribbon in bold, fall/winter colors are classic accents to white Swarovski crystal and cultured freshwater pearls. Softer, spring/summer colors call for large gemstone nuggets and satiny ribbon in a matching gemstone shade.
Bow focal pieces look stunning in either single or double bows depending on the size ribbon you're using. For single bows, use 1-1/2 to 2-inch wide ribbon. If making a double bow, use 1-inch ribbon.
Making the necklace
For Swarovski crystal or cultured freshwater pearl collar-style designs, use 10 - 12mm pearl beads in a three- or four-strand necklace. For gemstone designs, use 30 - 40mm faceted nuggets in a double strand necklace. The bottom strand should touch your collarbone and the top strand should rest on top of the bottom strand, just above your collarbone.
Knot size 4, medium-heavy silk thread onto a multi-strand clasp of your choice. For a professional finish, use clamp-on bead tips to conceal knots, and attach to clasp using jumprings. String equal lengths of pearls for a collar necklace or graduated lengths for a layered necklace. If using gemstone nuggets, make the bottom length approximately one inch shorter than the top length, depending on the size of the beads.
Use mini bead stoppers to secure the ends of each strand. Measure the length of bead tips, jumprings and clasp loops on one end, and allow for this measurement on the opposite end with the bead stoppers. Hold up to neck to test strand length and adjust accordingly to your desired fit. String through bead tips, knot and attach to the opposite end of the clasp.
Tying the bow
Tie a simple bow (the same bow you use to tie your shoes) on one side of the necklace between your collarbone and your ear. Bows can be tied directly onto strands or tied separately and attached to the necklace with beading thread.
For pearl necklaces with three or more strands, tie the bow onto the top two strands only, to prevent bow from sliding. For large gemstone nugget necklaces, tie your bow separately and attach a large jumpring to the back of the bow. String both necklace strands through the jumpring before knotting through the bead tip. This will create the illusion of being tied without the risk of loosening or coming untied from the weight of the beads.