4 Ideas for Necklace Extensions

How do you deal with a necklace design that's perfect but too short?

Like most of you, when I design a new necklace I make it to my favorite length. I happen to prefer 16" necklaces because the focal bead sits just perfectly above my “Great Plains.” But if I’m making a necklace as a gift or to teach, I need to be sure that women of all different shapes and sizes can wear it. Not everyone’s got the Great Plains. Actually, most women I hang around with are more the, well…Grand Teton variety. So I usually make my necklace designs so they can easily be extended, either by the person that’s making it or by the person that’s receiving it.

Here are 4 ways to extend the length of a necklace:


Lisa Kan's
Autumn Bouquet

Jennifer Van Benschoten's 
Back to Byzantium
1. Add more beadwork. If you’re stitching a beadwoven necklace, simply extend the strap or rope design to your desired length with the same or a different type of beaded strap. If the rope is too plain, incorporate other beads or embellishments to jazz it up a bit. Check out stitched necklaces like Lisa Kan’s Autumn Bouquet and Jennifer Van Benschoten’s Back to Byzantium to see the type of necklaces I’m talking about. See how they could easily be extended at the ends?

2. String extensions
. You can easily transition from stitched beadwork to strung beads, like my example here. Just crimp a short length of flexible beading wire to one end of one strap, string enough beads to reach the back center of your neck, and crimp on half of the clasp. Do the same with the other side and you’re golden.

Jean Campbell's
Fiori Necklace

Julia Zaccaria’s
Delicious Donuts

Lindsay Burke's
From the East
3. Attach extender chain. This is the simplest way to lengthen a necklace, as I’ve done with my Fiori Necklace. Just add a chain to one end of the strap and a lobster clasp to the other end. For some extra pizzazz, hang a little dangle at the end of the chain that incorporates a bead from the main necklace. You can also see this technique in Delicious Donuts by Julia Zaccaria and  From the East by Lindsay Burke.

Anne Timmons' 
Freshwater Pearl
Bridal Set

Katie Hacker's 
Great Lengths Necklace
and Bracelet


4. Use a detachable extension. Use a bracelet with the same type of clasp and beads as your necklace to act as an extension. Just attach the bracelet clasp ends to their corresponding necklace clasp ends, and voilà! That’s at least 7" of extra length. Necklace/bracelet sets like Anne Timmons’ Freshwater Pearl Bridal Set and Katie Hacker’s Great Lengths Necklace and Bracelet work well for this concept.
Do you have other ideas for extending necklaces, or, for that matter, shortening them?
Please share them here and on the Beading Daily forums!

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