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  1. #1
    bcamacho
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    Default Where can I source silk thread for pearls?

    I have learned how to string pearls/beads etc. and make fun little pretty necklaces for myself.
    I would like to string my necklaces using silk thread just to make them that bit extra special, especially when I make them as gifts. But I can not source this thread anywhere. There seems to be some big secret around this thread. Those that teach stringing/beading use nylon thread of varying quality and say they have no idea where to find the nice thread. The jewelers that will restring pearls and make the high quality necklaces with Southsea pearls will not sell it and will not divulge their source.
    I had a "reputable" jeweler tell me today that they don't even know themselves where it comes from as they have someone "procure" it for them when this mystery person travels to Japan.
    I am willing to pay for it and know it will be expensive so...
    First why all the secrecy?
    And where can one get silk thread for pearling?

    Many thanks in advance
    BC

  2. #2
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Here is some silk thread from Artbeads, one of my favorites for good prices and no shipping costs
    http://www.artbeads.com/searchresult...xt=silk+thread

    and of course, a great supply house, /fire Mountain beads. In this case Artbeads has the better deal.http://www.firemountaingems.com/shop...ORDGUDEBRODMHW

    Also try googling silk bead thread or punch it into Froogle:
    this is the page of results I got. Lot of BIG spools from ebay for 12.95
    http://froogle.google.com/froogle?q=...=1&sa=N&tab=wf

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    I would also suggest 'Bella's Findings House' in Los Angeles. They have stringing services as well so they know what you need. Silk, nylon, and combo threads as well as needles are available.
    213-627-4840

  4. #4
    himal
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    Hi
    Silk thread is very difficult to find in Hong Kong but instead many of the supplier recommended to use Polyster thread for pearl stringing.

    Will there be any difference in using polyster thread in place of silk??
    Is polyster thread less durable and inferior than silk?

    Thanks
    himal

  5. #5
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    I am surprised you can't find silk thread in HK.

    With the caveat that I haven't used nylon or polyester thread for pearls alone, I have used it for other beads, for beads mixed with pearls, and for mini-macrame jewelry. I believe I have even posted on this subject before, a long time ago.

    I like nylon thread. It does not stretch. Body oils and dirt get on the surface, but are not absorbed as deeply as silk so beads can be rinsed off. It knots easily and holds the knots perfectly. You can melt the ends of the knots so glue is not needed.

    I just restrung a strand I made in 1969 for a friend who has kept and worn it all these years until it broke. The thread looked black. The beads, including 6 long coral and 3-4 pearls looked crusty. I swooshed the whole thing in warm water with 1 drop of clear shampoo and the thread came out almost white! I do believe silk thread would have rotted far sooner under that kind of wear. (The coral and pearls came out alright, a calculated risk on my part, but I am not recommending this wash method for pearl jewelry!)

    Go ahead and try it. I venture that the only people who will notice the composition of the thread are people with loupes. I would mention it as part of any sales info.

  6. #6
    pearltime
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    Consumers think silk is better.

  7. #7
    missmouse
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    Consumers think silk is better
    so that is it? (not that consumer perception is a small thing....)

    no other benefits of using silk thread?

    erin

  8. #8
    Bernadette
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    The advantage of a "natural" threading material (such as silk) is that dirt dust and other abrasive materials tend not to "Embed" themselves into the thread surface.

    Synthetics - as a general comment - tend to accumulate abrasive material upon their surface and this can then become a crude form of "Rod saw" which over time enlarges\distorts the hole within the pearl. (Theres a very good reason why nylon is used in polishing mops for Gold Silver etc in the jewellery trade)

    My personal opinion of Nylon as a material for threading Pearls is that it would be one of my last choices amongst the synthetics (well okay - just before Tigertail - softflex and stretch magic - cough gasp choke )

    Regards
    Bernadette

  9. #9
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
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    Nothing drapes better than silk. There is no comparison. I have noticed the high end stores use "Pearl-silk" from Rio Grande which is their own brand of synthetic thread. I've never tried it. Maybe someone out there has. Personally, I'm a silk gal all the way.

  10. #10
    Satine De La Courcel
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    Hi all,

    I just got my Silk from Fire Mountain gems and I love it!!! There is also Abeada.com but that is wholesale only and you have to prove you are a company. Theyare very nice on the phone I have yet to cross over to Detroit to visit them.

    When I teach my 16th C pearl necklaces and bracelets ( really its a basic pearl stringing class for a necklace or bracelet) I use nylon thread but I look for good quality and its cheap. I am able to keep my class cost down. Pearls sem to be getgin more expensice all teh time even the poor quality ones.....

    Frankly those who tend to play in the histoprical re-enactment current middle ages realms are always looking for the best deal they can..... Its already an expensive hobby.

    cheers
    Ash

  11. #11
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Well, I am just a lowly beader.
    If I were stringing and knotting gem quality pearls, I might reconsider using silk. Actually I have good sized spools of silk in white and black from Bella Findings, but I am always looking for alternatives, too.

    Since so many of my creations are made from low grade commercial quality pearls and cheap gemstones, I don't stand on ceremony for silk, but use what I can get inexpensively. I found that even the best pre-stretched silk keeps on stretching with the weight of klonk-sized (12mm and up) pearls. So, I am expert with tiger tail and crimp beads, too as well as various other threads. I have a nice collection of klonks strung on 19 strand wire and crimped. If I want the silk knot look, I can thread the silk in with the wire and knot around the wire between each bead.

    But

    Lately I have found Power Pro fishing line made out of spectra. It is the best I have found for klonks so far. It comes as Power Pro beading thread in 25m spools and in fishing line in 150, 300 yards, and longer sizes, in white, mossgreen and a couple of other colors. The moss green is dark and neutral. The 20 lb weight is sized for most CFWP over 5mm. I needle with a doubled thread will double back again, through the end pearls fairly easily. In the body of the necklace, it will withstand 40 lbs of yank and that is the best I ever used. Also the Spectra does not cut easily so sharp ended gemstones like garnet beads do not cut it, nor can ordinary scissors cut it. For some reason Fiskars child's scissors work just fine for less than $5-7. It comes in 6lb. Extra fine, 10, lb, fine 15 lb, med fine 20 lb. medium, 30lb for larger beads.

    I use it exactly like silk. It feels different in my hands, but knots easily and knots slide easily. I use the two thread method and after I do the knot, I separate the strands and pull apart until the knot is as tight as I want it.

    This thread almost makes knotting almost infallible. I can't tell the difference in drape between the power pro and silk. That is to say the power pro drapes wonderfully. I don't need to wax it either, but I have yet to get a knot anywhere but where I want it. This stuff is the best I have used for tangle-free too. I have wound it up and and it hasn't tangled yet when I unwind it. I have been through about 60 meters so far and I'm reknotting everything in sight.

    With this stuff I can sit and knot the longest strand with no awl or tweezers with a fingerknot method that never puts the strand down or picks up an instrument ie tweezers or awl. Sheer bliss!
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  12. #12
    jerin
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    Default Usin Power Pro instead of Silk

    Hi Caitlin,

    as soon as I can get my hands on the Power Pro, I am going to restring one of my necklaces with the larger pearls to see how it is for working and how it drapes. It sounds just wonderful and if You have strung 60 meters already, that should be quite enough for itīs commendation!

  13. #13
    Satine De La Courcel
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    Hi Caitlyn,

    There are times I can and times I can not tell the difference in drape. however I think its the medium used, Quality iof the medium and frequency in knots.. But that is my Opinion....

    I also really feel taht it is personal preference for stringing medium. well at least for us lowly beaders anyway..

    Cheers
    Ash

  14. #14
    pattye
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    Hi Caitlin! Ash! and All!

    Thanks for all the great shopping tips. It was fun to go looking--sign up for store newsletters, got the thread zap ordered too.

    Can't wait for the power pro to get here! Caitlin,I totally trust your judgement with all the beading and knotting you have done. Just wish I lived close enough to take lessons from you! Because the power pro doesn't stretch, do you make the knots a little less tight against the pearl since you don't have to allow for stretch?

    Silk threads were used centuries ago to embroider on the emperors' garments, and being strong, no doubt were natural to use when pearls came along. (So long before the synthetic threads.)

    Pattye
    so many pearls, so little time

  15. #15
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
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    I'm so glad you're having fun with knotting! And you will love the thread zapper. I learned knotting at my grandmother's knee and was much too young to appreciate her talent. For me, it's almost a zen experience, placing lovely little pearls close to their cousins and they allow me to wear their beauty. It's an honor to be able to care for and string them.