No matter what a piece is strung with, it will eventually break. Yes, even wire. When your piece breaks, it can be repaired. Necklaces can also be transformed into bracelets and a matching pair of earrings.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when getting your piece restrung. The first question people usually have, “Should I get it restrung even though it has lasted this long?” Yes. Maybe I should type it YES. If it is an heirloom, do it ASAP. You have no idea what condition the thread is in. Body oils and cosmetics degrade thread quickly, particularly natural fibers like silk. My general rule for frequency of restringing is every 1-2 years if you wear it a lot and every 4-5 years if you don’t. If your piece shows any signs of “wear” such as frayed thread or the things pictured below, it should be restrung.
If you have a multi-strand necklace, all strands should be restrung
One strand has already broken, or shows signs of wear, the others are highly likely to break at any time. Don’t take the risk. Get all of the strands restrung.
I prefer to use nylon or polyethylene thread. The choice of stringing material depends on the beads. Traditionalists use silk thread for pearls. However, many of us have found that the strand restrung with nylon or polyethylene thread will have the same look and drape as silk, but lasts longer and does not stain as easily.
The nylon thread is used for beads that don’t have sharp edges and works very well in complex beading patterns. The only drawback: I can sew through it. If I need to take out stitches and I’ve sewn through it, forget it. I have to cut it or let the pattern (mistake) stay as is.
The polyethylene thread is used for beads that have sharp edges, such as crystal, gemstones, metal, and some glass beads. It’s also good in complex beading patterns. I like it because it can’t be sewn through. That’s important in complex beading patterns where I’m weaving through a bead multiple times.
There is no such thing as “double knotted”. Clients do ask for this. In stringing, tying a second knot does not add strength to the stringing material. It doesn’t help “loose” beads. If the bead has a large hole, then the stringing material should be chosen to accommodate that hole so the bead doesn’t wobble or slip, rather than tying large knots.
Wire is used for simple stringing. Complex bead weaving patterns cannot be done with wire. Wire also cannot be knotted. There are special beads, crimp beads, and other findings that are used to fasten and end pieces strung with wire. Wire works well with crystal and glass beads and can be used with certain gemstone beads (if they are hard enough). The main issue with wire is that it can act like a saw and cut through a bead. That is one reason it is not used with pearls. Pearls are very soft, and wire could slice right through them. The other reason is that metal, even gold, will cause the pearl to discolor.
Knotted vs. unknotted
Both knotted and unknotted necklaces will come back to you shorter after restringing, even if you have all the beads. Thread will stretch, and chances are by the time it broke, the thread had stretched. The new thread will not be stretched and so your necklace will be shorter.
Unknotted necklaces that you ask to be knotted come back to you longer. The knots take up space. That is part of their purpose: equally space the beads so that they don’t rub one another. If you have fifty beads, I add 52 knots and your necklace is longer. The other purpose of knotting is to keep beads together should the thread break. One break means only one bead comes off of the necklace and usually you can catch the remaining strand and find one bead. If you take care of your necklaces, and restring “preemptively”, knotting really isn’t necessary unless the beads are pearls.
Getting a beaded necklace restrung is not expensive. Getting pearls restrung usually costs about three times more. This is mostly due to the knots in the pearl necklace. The only other reason I can see is that for pearls and gemstones the restringer should be insured. This way if they lose these precious beads they have the funds to replace them.
Well, that’s the basics for restringing. If you have questions, please ask in the comments section below. If you need beads restrung, please visit my website http://www.cbeadedesigns.com/home/restringing or make a request in the comments section below.