So many beautiful stones end up set in metal settings with closed backs that don’t let light refract through them. Less light traveling through a stone means less sparkle. I set this stone with a little simple beadwork around the edge to show off as much of that intense glitter as possible.
Supplies and Equipment:
– a cut stone – transparent and with a pointed back is best, at least 25mm/1inch in the long direction
– seed beads – the smaller the better, these are size 15˚ and worked well
– a beading needle – this is size 10
– OO nymo beading thread in a color to match your beads or white and a marker to match your beads (you can use your preferred very thin beading thread if you would rather)
– masking tape
Be forewarned, this is not an easy project. It is, absolutely, something you can do, but it might take a couple tries to get it right. Fortunately, all you’ll be throwing away is thread if you have to re-do it.
My version of retail therapy is going onto ebay and looking for extravagant stone pieces in auctions that are about to end. With good timing you can find a steal on a really gorgeous piece like this. It’s just quartz crystal with a titanium coating for sparkle, but it was about $3 so that’s good enough for me!
When choosing a stone look for something that is at least 25mm/1 inch in size, and round, oval or teardrop shaped. Squares, rectangles and concave edges won’t work with this method.
Cut thin strips of masking tape and stick them around the edges until you have taped the exact edge length of the stone. You could just measure this if you’d rather, but try not to blurt out too many obscenities if there are children around.
Remove the tape and flatten it.
Thread your needle with the longest (doubled) strand you feel you can work with. It’s better if you can do this with one strand.
String on enough seed beads to match the length of the tape.
Go back through all the beads you just strung to make them into a loop. Do your best to not stitch through the thread.
Pull it up snugly. The beads in this loop will be on the edge of the stone. You’ll now add two more rows – one on each side – that are a little shorter to grip the stone.
Thread a bead onto the needle.
You can see the thread between two beads on the original loop. Stitch again through the last bead in the first loop and through the one next to it.
When you pull up your thread there will be a bead aligned directly next to one of the beads in the first loop. Keep adding a single bead next to an original loop bead all the way around until you arrive at the end – leave one bead.
It will look like this.
Run the needle back through all of the beads you just added and pull it up tightly, then run the needle through all of them again. I don’t usually specify “tightly” but it is important here. Pull on the thread, not the needle. Too much pressure on the tiny beading needle can bread the eye.
Stitch from the beads you just ran the needle through into the one “left out” bead from that original row. That’s going at the top (this is the same for teadrops, circles, ovals, etc.) This is the time to add a loop to it for hanging later.
String on 7 beads and go through that original left out bead again. Run the needle through this another time or two for extra strength.
Now repeat that first part – adding one bead next to each bead in that original loop – again. And, as before, skip that one bead at the top.
Again, as before, run the needle through all those new beads you just added. In a perfect world you set the stone into the ring and tighten up this row of beads to hold it.
In reality, I had to tighten this up pretty well, carefully wiggle the stone into place, then stitch through the edge row again. After that, I stitched across and ran the needle through the first added row again. As I went back and forth running the needle through the edge I was able to tighten the beads around the stone very securely.
The view from the front.
The view from the back.
When you run out of thread or the beads won’t let you stitch through them anymore cut your threads down neatly. Color in any threads that show with the sharpie (if your thread didn’t match.)
If the beadwork ended up too big start over with fewer beads. If it’s too small start over with more beads. Starting over is a bummer, but almost always do a better job the second time I try!
Put a jump ring through the loop at the top and hang it from a chain. I’m kind of thinking about switching my chain to a strand of matching black seed beads, though.