This is for all those who were interested on my Insta-story in making this necklace for themselves:
It all started when I read an article about Busy Phillips’ rise on Instagram as the every-girl best friend, and so naturally I was curious to see what all the hoop-la was about. So I began to follow her too and I slowly became hooked on her Instagram stories. And this led me to Irene Neuwirth’s opal beaded necklaces like this one and this one, which Busy rocks on a daily basis (and seeing as she’s friends with Irene, she sometimes promotes them too). I was intrigued, but when I looked up the prices I could not believe my eyes (I felt like my eyes literally leapt out of their sockets, lol). These necklaces range from $5k-$11,000!! For something that looks like sweet candy necklaces, they sure do cost a lot! So forget it, I’ll never buy one. But I figured they can’t be that hard to make, and you know what? I was right!
So in general, opals are not cheap. But I found some of the best prices on Etsy by buying directly from suppliers in India. I purchased these green opal beads from this seller here. I purchased them for about $69 and there was an added shipping of $5 (they sometimes hike up the price but I’ve seen it stay at this “sale” price for weeks at a time so don’t purchase these beads for anything more than $70!). They came well packaged and delivery was quite quick, especially considering they were coming form halfway around the world. The quality was pretty good with some crap beads but the bulk of them were quite nice. These beads are about 3-5mm so they’re on the smaller side, which worked for me. But if you want larger beads, they have those too (they just cost a bit more). Since I wanted my necklace to be shorter than 16 inches, I was able to eliminate the crap beads and some small nice beads and still come out with a 15” necklace using only the best beads. Also since the knots add length to the necklace, your final product will be longer than the 16” if you do use all but the few crap beads.
For my second necklace, I decided to try a different seller (also from India) and I got these white opals here. I got a 16 inch strand for $80 and again “on sale” but that seems to be the normal price. I can’t yet verify the quality of the beads but they seem to have really good ratings on Etsy. I’ll update this post once I get my shipment.
The Silk Thread:
Following a Youtube tutorial (which I posted below), I purchased high-quality silk thread from this shop meant for beading and stringing pearls. This thread is great because it comes with it’s own needle and there’s enough thread to make 2 necklaces. I purchased the No. 1 size (0.35mm cord size) because you want to make sure the thread can fit through the bead (which for these opals from India are 0.4mm). And make sure your string matches your beads for a more seamless look.
The clasp and french wire:
I bought my sterling silver clasp from this Etsy seller, and found the quality to be so-so. If you’re only planning to make one necklace and thus only need one clasp, I think it’s a good price. There was nothing wrong with the function of the clasp, but it was slightly tarnished (which a silver polish cloth should fix). For my second (and third necklaces, yea I’m getting a bit ambitious) I bought clasps from this Etsy seller. Their clasps look nicer and cost only slightly more, but since they’re coming from Canada the shipping is more and thus the overall price is higher than the Florida seller. I’ll update this post about their quality when I get them.
You will also need french wire (explained in the video below) to cover where the clasps connect to the string of beads. I purchased mine here. And you want to get the thinnest silver one for this necklace.
So the two other things the video recommends getting is a pair of thin tipped tweezers and this glue to ensure your necklace will never unravel. I definitely recommend getting the tweezers since regular tweezers won’t cut it.
And here is this great video where I learned how to make this necklace:
And that’s it! It took me about 2 hours start to finish. I can’t wait to make my white opal necklace (maybe make it long like Busy’s?) and I also got material for another aquamarine necklace (my birthstone). I’ll take pictures and post them here when I’m done.
Total, my necklace came out to about $95 with some start-up costs. So it wasn’t exactly cheap, but at the same time it’s waaaaay below that several thousand dollar starting price of Irene Neuwirth’s versions so it’s worth it in my book. Plus the next one will be a lot less since I already have some of the materials (french wire, the tweezers, and glue). Anyway if you decide to make this necklace I would love to see your versions so please send pics through email or Instagram!