Chapter 6

Knotting has a whole chapter in Pearls A Practical Guide Recommended technique and other techniques, why French wire is used, what sort of thread to use and what to do when it all goes wrong.

Knotting a strand of natural colour freshwater pearls

Pearls for knotting usually come in a pre-arranged strand which is around 40cm long. This will make one fairly short necklace – many retailers add in a few more pearls to lengthen the necklace for larger western necks as necessary. It’s also fine to re-arrange the pearls if you feel the order is wrong in terms of colour or size

If you are assembling a necklace or bracelet from loose single pearls you might use one of these beading trays. Personally I had my carpenter rout a deep groove in my work bench and that has always worked really well for me.

An added advantage is that I am forced to work on only one piece at a time. I’ve seem work benches where the boards are stacked up line planes waiting to land wtih half planned and put aside pieces.

You can see groove in my workbench in the top video Knotting pearls while use of a board is shown in the Romana videos


Knotting pearls

This is how we knot pearls usually at Pearlescence. It works for us
Here’s Michael, boss of possibly the biggest and best freshwater pearl wholesale company in Hong Kong (one of my favourites anyway) putting together a multicoloured huge metallic shiny drop nucleated pearl necklace (which you can see being knotted up by one of his skilled staff in the two videos below.

But there are an astonishing number of different methods. Every one is valid. I reckon that every knotter has their own method. There are a few basics but within the basic method there are so many variants. Note also that this lady, who knots every day, gets a horrendous snarl. It happens to every one of us!

I was sitting in a wholesalers office in Hong Kong one day, selecting pearls for stock. The owner of the company, Michael, produced this bag of stunning pearls which were white with a faint gold blush, round and, as you can see, wonderfully metallic lustered.

As he worked on making a necklace, selecting every single pearl with skill and care, I rapidly fell in love. This was to be my first and only white round pearl necklace. I still adore it. Natural white pearls, in any type, are so special.

If you put the sound on you can hear me falling in love!

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Here’s the finished necklace

And here I am wearing it – and the matched earrings. It’s so beautiful.

Stringing soufflé pearls

Soufflé pearls are hollow and a total ******* to assemble by knotting. Easy to put in the first hole but then, with just space, the tip of the needle usually refuses to go anywhere near the opposite hole. We found that holding the pearl vertically and dropping it down onto the needle works more often than holding it horizontally and poke-and-wiggle.

Making a simple stretchy pearl bracelet