Prayer Bead Influenced Necklace
By Carmi Cimicata for John Bead Corp and Perles Et Cetera Magazine
This step by step appears in French in the Summer 2017 issue.
This necklace could be the biggest impact piece you will create this year with absolutely no tools. It features aromatic wood beads and metal patina components. It also has a unique bead as a focal which is called a guru bead.
The length of the necklace is an individual choice but I wanted mine to truly stand out so I made it very long.
You may be hearing a lot about mala necklaces this year. The mala bead necklace is based on traditional Buddhist prayer beads. “Malas are used for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name or names of a deity. Malas are typically made with 18, 27, 54 or 108 beads. A decorative tassel is often attached to the beads, flanked by talismans or amulets depending on one’s local tradition.” Via Wikipedia
Since Mala bead necklaces are considered a Buddhist rosary I wanted to acknowledge that I was aware that these necklaces have spiritual importance to many people. The necklaces I am making are influenced by the symmetry in the traditional mala necklace. I have gone out of my way to create a necklace with an even number of beads that is not a real mala.
I used a long bead board to set up my project. This took me the most time as I added and removed different sizes. John Bead Corp just added an aromatic bead collection to their catalog. These beads are available in sandalwood and cedarwood in all the classic bead sizes; 6,8,10,12,15,20mm. I choose to design with sandalwood. I also choose a strand of Buddha heads to add interest.
You’ll notice in the middle of the board a single wood bead and cap. That is the “GURU” bead. It is a three holed bead used with a tower bead. These two will be joined together to make the exact centre of the necklace a perfect place to attach a dangle and tassel.
My necklace was strung using just one strand of silk beading cord. The needle is already attached to the thread making this necklace an easy one to finish in less than 30 minutes.
I strung the first half of the necklace and then stopped to gather what I needed for the guru bead addition.
The guru bead is actually two components. The round bead has three holes and you need to be sure you are stringing your cord through the right holes so that it will sit properly in the necklace. You have to get your needle and thread through one half of the bead to start. (see picture) The needle bends like wire so I could send it through the curves in the bead.
Then you string through the tower bead and pendant.
You do everything a second time by going back up through the tower bead, then through the other side of the three-holed guru bead. It looks so nice when you pull your thread and then add you second side of beads. I’ll be honest though. The guru bead is not easy to string the first time. You must be patient when pushing your needle through the curved sections in the three-hole bead.
After adding all the beads to the necklace you simply tie a good knot. I even added a little glue to keep the knot extra secure.
My last step was to add a tassel. You have so many options when it comes to adding embellishments. No doubt I will switch the tassel to something else later this summer.
All beads and components from John Bead Corp.
- Carved Buddha Head Strand – 286013060
- Wood Beads – Sandalwood Round 20mm, 18mm, 12mm
286013003-00, 286013005-00, 286013006-00
- Metal Hand Link Patina – 26040021
- Metal Beads with Patina 8mm – 28838008
- Metal Beads with Patina 6mm – 28838007
- Metal Cones with Patina – 28838003
- Guru Bead – Sandalwood Round 20mm – 286013016-00
- Bead Board Long (21×8) – 74530130
- Silk Bead Cord with Needle .8m Black – 74422068-00
- Tassel (from Home Dec department)