Gudebrod - Silk Thread

Jul 22, 2008

I'm very sad since I learned today that the Gudebrod Company put a hold on manufactoring their silk thread called 'Champion' the one that most pearl and bead restringer use. Especially the most common sizes of thread like 'E' of 'F' are totally out of stock, not to be get anywhere even by the big jewelry suppie companies. I called the company my self and they comfirmed that they put the production on hold until the end of july. It is allready a lack of it since about three month. It cause all of a big loss.

Anyway, my question to all readers please help. Do you now any other company that manufactores also silk thread like Gudebrod in the above sizes. Any info would be highly appriciated.
I sympathise with not being able to get your favourite material - its like not having your own tools to work with - anything else is not quite the same and just doesn't feel "right"

I don't use silk myself - but google came up with this supplier for silk threads and I know YLI to be a good product amongst the fly fisher's - or more correctly those who make the flies :)

I just bought some Gudebrod Champion silk thread last weekend from Jemco. I have not checked their website as I meet them at jewelry shows, but if you haven't already asked them you might give them a call.

Good luck!
Sarah, you are the BEST!!!!

Darn, Bernadette, I missed yr post; you're the best, too, for taking the time to help. I took a look at the site you recommended. There are wonderful colors, and big cones!
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Reason for Shortage?

Reason for Shortage?

Hi PGers, I have been doing tons of stringing and in ordering spools have had vendors tell me about the terrible shortage, lady at Beadalon said they are losing sales from not having silk spools, she didn't give a reason but said that it was a World Wide thing and didn't know when it would be resolved. Does anyone know what has caused this shortage? I have been able to find some colors, but the most common size E and F in black and white are hard to find.

Hi Darla
After many years of using silk to string and knot pearls, I made a 36 inch of huge 16mm cultured freshwater pearls (I named it the "Lumps of Coal necklace, because huge size and (sort of) dodecahedron-shapes were the only positive points- It was about like coal in its luster) Anyway. I stretched the silk wet, let it dry and used two strands, but as after I wore it a couple of hours, it stretched out more.

I went on a campaign to find a better beading thread. I tried all the natural ones first. Then I saw an ad for Power Pro thread. I researched it thoroughly online and bought a hundred yards of white and of moss green. (the yellow and red are not color fast). I loved the tiny neat knots and the thread could stand up to 60 lbs of pull for a largish size. So I put the LoC on the moss green thread endless style and it hasn't stretched a bit ever since.

Even though it is a bit rough on the hands, I still prefer it to other threads- there are quite a few reviews of it here. I wanted black, also so I found a very similar thread from beadalon. It is almost as strong as Powerpro, it is silky in texture and may need a tiny bit of wax, but it comes in black.

Since then, others on this forum have mentioned other polyester type threads. Bernadette uses the local AU thread - kaycee and it comes in lots of colors.

Sarah of Kojima uses a Japanese poly-thread. It's all archived over here. Honestly, I am the all-natural everything type, but after decades of using silk, I switched to a poly-thread because they make a longer lasting knot job that won't stretch when wet. Also, not being natural, they don't soak up skin cells and oils the way silk does. In fact you can wash the pearls if they get dirty and hang them up to dry.

So, for black and white, I hope you experiment a little. The best poly threads are woven into little cylinders which compress to make tiny, very neat, knots.
Hi Caitlin,
I have read through most of the post about stringing and about power pro my problem is that I am going to be selling these strands and I need to follow the industry standard (what everybody else does that sells retail)
and that is silk, doubled, knotted between pearls. What beadalon thread are you referring to? I guess I can email Sarah and see where she gets her thread, I have bought some strands of very unusual pearls from her, but they were temporarily strung. I have bought some made up necklaces from Care Ehret and I can tell they are on power pro, but she uses gold spacers and does not knot between her pearls. I looked at the Power Pro at Walmart, but is looks very rough. Don't the knots slip like other monofilament? Do any of the "big boys" use anything other than silk?
I ask when I was in Hong Kong, some of the bigger pearl dealers and they said to use silk only. Also didn't recommend any of the packaged pearl wipes. I was just curious about what could cause the silk shortage and if this is something that happens from time to time.
I know in working with it that the different colors all have different characteristics, not sure why. The black seems to fray more. I do like being able to get the different colors to coordinate with the color of the pearls, I did read about Mrs.Z using a permanent marker to dye her Power Pro, but I am afraid to try this since I will be selling the pearls.
Yes it would be nice to have something that doesn't stretch, is stronger and can be handled when wet. I read somewhere that Jeremy said that some of the silk thread has nylon in it. Not sure about Gudebrod. Thought it was 100% silk. I met a local lady that uses beadalon and then adds one strand of silk and knots between pearls, she does it on a straight board, but uses bead clamps at the ends. I need for my strands to look professional, I have seen your work and it is beautiful.
I am getting better the more I do and reading here and learning the tricks of the trade. I ordered Henrietta's book and DVD and have watched the U tube video links that Jeremy put up, very helpful. But as many have said, practice, practice....

Well, obviously, you have thought through this and done your homework. If black and white silk are in great shortage, then the industry standard can't be met. Our friend knotty panda uses silk sewing thread- like button hole thread. The brand is YLI and many thread/quilting shops carry it.

Did you try Bella house of FindingS? They are online and I used to buy silk in big spools from them. They could have a stash of it still.

We have a couple of world class knotters here and Bernadette is one of them, she even knows Paspaley's secrets (but won't tell) I wonder if they use silk...but I can tell you many "small" one on one designers prefer other thread than silk.
The Beadalon thread is called "Dandyline".

Do you intend to mass produce pearls? Even many of the knotted pearls out of China are on nylon or polyester nowadays. There is a definite trend away from silk, IMHO. Silk needs to be restrung, some say yearly. I have restrung many filthy silk strung pearls. People don't get them restrung every year. It can be quite expensive to restring pearls. Knotty, for instance, charges a $100 "set up" fee ( I think it includes tea and conversation) and adds in a per inch price for the actual knots. That's pretty much top of the line prices.

I am always thinking frugal and generally charge about $20 for a bracelet. But I only charge friends about $20 each for necklaces, especially when I do multiple strands at a time. I always ask and always receive permission to try a better stringing material than silk and no one has turned me down yet. When I am on a roll I can do 3-4 necklaces in an hour. Even at my prices, that is $60-$80 an hour.

My point is don't worry about your threading material, just use the best one you can find for knotting.
Knotty, for instance, charges a $100 "set up" fee ( I think it includes tea and conversation) and adds in a per inch price for the actual knots. That's pretty much top of the line prices.

Knotty who? Not Knotty me! has lots of spools of silk that show available. If they're having a shortage, I don't know of it. I think natural fiber blends knot nicely especially if you're not a glue person.
Hi knotty
I was hoping you'd show up. We have a post on here, or maybe it was an email where you said that. I remember thinking at the time that you got the highest prices of anyone I know. You know I hang on your every word........;)

OK problem solved- Strachura it is. I also remember you saying you used the YLI thread. Did you switch?
Hi ,

Thanks for the link Knotty, what size reference do they use? I am only familiar with the alphabetic sizing, so wouldn't know what size corresponds in weight. I was wondering what people charge for restringing and cleaning. I have had a few local jewelers ask if I was going to restring for others. I asked one jeweler what he charged his clients and he said $7.00 an inch. Of course, what I am learning is the smaller pearls take longer, I have been making up some strands of 5.5 to 6mm in a 14" for young ladies and they take longer to strand and will be the cheapest strands. I am just not sure if you advertise pearls and can't say that they are strung on silk what the public will do. I have learned from another business that I am in that it is best to do what the top sellers are doing. I should have paid more attention to finished strands in Hong Kong, I only looked at the temporary strung strands, some of my purchases, mostly the more expensive ones, were on a coated wire. I did buy one double strand of golden akoyas that had a clasp on it and I thought it was power pro until I took it apart and it looked like silk, but I restrung it because it was not knotted between pearls. The other problem I had was the Chinese do not use the same marks on clasps to denote gold, plating, etc.

Caitlin, I've been wondering about something. When I read that the synthetics make neat tiny knots, I think "but won't the beads slip over the knots, then?"

Is it that you mean "tiny knots" relative to the 'fishing line' old-fashioned synthetics? Otherwise, I don't get the advantage to the knots being tiny...

The smallest charge for re-stringing I've ever been quoted was $25, and that was maaaaaaaany years ago, when $25 not insignificant. That's one of the reasons I got started on this pearl journey.

I have a follow-up question on the synthetic threads- when you said "hang them up to dry" did you mean hang them up to dry only? I don't remember reading that you store your pearls hanging...
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Small knots or bigger ones are a personal preference. I like the small ones. They are so clean and simple looking.

power pro comes in a number of sizes. The correct size thread will give you tight knots that the pearls do not slip over. When in doubt I test pearl size for a thread by passing it through a pearl and knot it and try to pull the pearl over it. If it goes over a bigger size thread is called for --or you can do double knots. That is where you pass the pearls through the open loop twice before pulling it tight. Note: a double knot does not make the thread any stronger or the pearl more secure. It is just a preference, unless your thread is too small for the holes, then a double knot is one solution. I also find that using a double thread with power pro, you can slide the knot tight, even if it starts 6 inches away- or 12. Waxed and esp unwaxed silk sometimes can knot too tight to slide in place, so one has to use an awl or something to pick the knot loose and pull it tight.

$25 for a strand? That is a pretty good price. Knotting is really so easy, everyone with a few strands should learn it and can learn it. Hisano will be demonstrating her method for us at the ICPGC (International Consequential Pearl-Guide Convention), otherwise known as "the Ruckus"
HI knotty
I found the post: LINK
Dear Michael: Hello and welcome to the wonderful world of knotting! I charge an initial set-up fee of $45. That includes prepping the thread, covers my findings and tools, gives the little pearls a gentle cleaning, individually cutting the pearls and laying them out on the beadboard in proper sequence, cleaning the end pearls of glue if I can safely, and inspecting the clasp. Prices here in Florida can go from $1 a knot to $3-$7 per inch. After my set-up fee, I charge $1/knot. Any redesigning is extra. I don't know how that would equate to your economy and market. It's a guideline and you can adjust for your market. P.S. If you adjust up, let me know and I'll move!
I see the set up cost is actually $45, then $1 per knot. Darn, I was hoping you got more. That means 38 knots plus the set up fee comes to about $83 for an average size pearl necklace. I exaggerated the amount in my memory, but you got to admit, that is about the highest fee for knotting pearls of anyone I currently know. I feel confident that Bernadette's price is not that high- It would add too much to the small designers' prices, But I sure would like a ball park figure.
To reiterate what Sarah (kojimapearl) said above, still has a quite a selection of Gudebrod spools in stock, black and other colors.
Gudebrod is over

Gudebrod is over

I'm just confirming what I suspected when I wrote my first post on this subject that gudebrod just layed off all their workers and closed their doors for now. I'm really sad about it and hope it is thruh that they are trying to reopen as soon as possible.:mad: Lets hope for the best.
Hard to find replacement

Hard to find replacement

Yes, I called the other day and it took forever to get someone to answer. It was a gentleman and he sounded like he might be management. He told me they are having some financial problems and are hoping to get a loan to keep operating, he said they are still making their synthetic threads, but they need large sum to order silk for the silk threads. He also said there is still stock available in colors, just not white. I have tried the spooled Griffin, but it is not as white or soft and has a definite twist to it, does not wax as well. The gentleman at Gudebrod said that nothing else really replaces silk for pearls, he mentioned something about memory and stretch. Said anything else will not lay the same. I was wondering where the Chinese get their silk for beading. I tried to contact one of my suppliers, but she hasn't emailed me yet. I wouldn't know if you could trust the label. I have ordered from several suppliers only to have it back ordered, or a substitute sent. One supplier said that one of the other silk threads (wouldn't give the name) was breaking and they quit sending it out. I noticed that Fire Mountain does not even offer any silk on spools in the new catalog. It is really hard to believe that Gudebrod and Griffin are the only source for silk beading thread.

Griffind versas Gudebrod

Griffind versas Gudebrod

Hi Darla,

You are an the ball. Griifin is not as fine as the Gudebrod ones. But I must say that after you restring the pearls you can't really see the diffrence so much. But I must say that the Griffin thread is mighty strong and after restringing with it I think you won't see your customers back so fast because it won't rip so fast:).

Also I asked a while ago my chiniese supplier as well and he told me they only use nylon because silk is too expenseve. But I did find one supplier oversees that had silk but the sizes start like an 'FF' if I could remember correctly and the quantity was enormes.

But what gives me some hope is that I hd not seen anywhere that Gudebrod had filed bankrupsy so maybe soon they will restart there production.


I kinda thought that the Chinese used something other than silk, it doesn't look the same. I have not tried nylon, I did try the Pearl Silk which is polyester(not labeled had to call) from Rio Grande and I did not like the way it worked, really wanted to twist and bunch up when pulling through the Freshwaters. The gentleman at Gudebrod did tell me that they did not want to file for bankruptcy because of all the problems it would cause and also said that he did not want a loan from a foreign source. They sound like they are really trying, said they have been in business very long and I think it is a family business. He sounded optimistic and hoped to have the silk production up within a month.
If anyone finds a source for silk similar to Gudebrod size E in white please let us know.