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Some time ago I saw this mass-produced necklace in a costume jewellery shop, which attracted my attention. The necklace itself was rather boring, but it had a pendant dangle made out of a cross and drop. What interested me was the cross, which had been made in a way unlike the bead crosses I had seen before. It didn't take long time until I understood how it was made. This link or connector is made in a very simple, but attractive, way. Once you learn how to make them, they can be made very quickly.
The original link only used round beads, but using the basic method, you can make links out of bicones, ovals, drops, hearts or any other suitable bead shape you like. For a Christian cross, add a bead or more to one side to get the right proportions.
Supplies for one link:
4-5 round beads, not too small
1 chaton montée (mounted crystal, crystal in setting, preset crystal)
Tools: wire cutter, round-nose pliers, chain-nose pliers
Chaton montees comes in several sizes. Choose a size of montée and beads that are proportional to each other. In this tutorial, I will use 6 mm beads and 6 mm montée. Also make sure to buy chaton montees and not rose montees as the channels in the later make them useless in this case. The metal setting must have intersecting, not parallel, holes -- the latter is often the case with larger montees.
When it comes to different styles, I especially like the vintage montees as seen in the amethyst and pink link: its shape supports the beads in a different way, making it less prone to end up a bit "floppy". My montée from American shop Jan's Jewels (There called "fancy preset").
For this project you can use soft or half-hard headpins. Soft headpins are the easiest to work with, but will require wrapped loops. Harder headpins are trickier to slide through the holes at an angle, but keep their shape better so that only a simple loop is needed. Choose which one you prefer. Don't know how to make loops? You will find many free instructions online. If you prefer "moving pictures", see the following YouTube videos (among many): Simple loop and Wrapped loop. A video says more than a thousand pictures sometimes.
1. Begin by putting a bead on the headpin. Push the pin through one of the holes in the crystal setting. Angle the pin so it will exit through the hole on the adjacent side. If using stiff headpins: bend the pin slightly into a curve before pushing it through the montée.
2. Push the bead towards the crystal and bend the headpin so the bead sits straight below the hole and the wire points straight out from the hole i exited.
5. Repeat steps 1 and 2. Make sure that you get the loops opposite each other. That is, begin by pushing the bead and headpin through the hole opposite the hole you began pushing the first headpin through.
This link can be used as a connector or a part of a pendant, as seen in the examples below. Don't forget to experiment with different types of beads, as seen in the initial photo above.