Show Off Your Lampwork Glass Bead Collection (Finally) with a Handmade Wire Necklace

When the weather (finally) starts getting warmer, like it (finally) is now, I switch into my "summer uniform" of a skirt, a T-shirt, and sandals. Such a simple wardrobe leaves lots of room for fun accessories, and I especially love wearing fun necklaces this time of year.

  lampwork glass bead and wire necklace by Cassie Donlen
Cassie Donlen's Slink-a-Dink Necklace

Some jewelry making friends and I are always talking about the fact that we never wear our beloved lampwork glass beads, and last year I got the big idea to (finally) make something with my beloved collection, so that I could wear them and enjoy them. They're also fun conversation starters and make an interesting, eclectic piece of jewelry when combined. So I whipped up a simple necklace with the glass beads on wrapped wire with short lengths of chain in between.

Yeah, that didn't work at all. All those beads together were kind of heavy–too heavy for the simple chain-and-jump-ring contraption I devised for them. Granted, it was a last-minute idea just a few hours before an event I wanted to wear the necklace to, so I didn't put enough thought into it. But since then, I've reconsidered, thanks to a project we first shared a few years ago by Cassie Donlen. Cassie uses sturdy 12-gauge wire to make simple loops for her necklace, which provides the glass beads the support they need. Why didn't I think of that? Here's how to make the glass-bead segments of Cassie's necklace, which you can combine with chain or wire swirls of your choice to create your own necklace, just in time to show off your lampwork glass beads this year (finally).

The complete project is in the June/July 2011 issue of Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry.


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