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Making a wrapped paua necklace

I love doing bead embroidery, but it’s always somewhat frustrating to realize that I can’t really share detailed tutorials with you for how to make them. In the materials list below, I listed all the types of beads that I used, but I didn’t list how many. It’s absolutely impossible to guess how many anyone else will need since it depends upon your personal aesthetic and the size of your central pendant. So, pick your piece of paua, and let’s get going!


Necklace strand:
.019" (medium) softflex beading wire
Amazonite rondelles
6 mm lavender amethyst rounds
4 mm amazonite rounds
Sterling silver figure 8 chain
Sterling silver S-hook with 2 rings
Sterling silver crimp covers
Sterling silver tube bail
Sterling silver jump ring
Sterling silver daisy spacers
Sterling silver head pin

Piece of ultrasuede
Two-part epoxy resin
Freeform polished paua shell piece
20 gauge colored craft wire
Nymo thread, size O
White crystal seed beads in size 8/0 and 11/0
Freshwater pearls, rice and potato shaped
4 mm amethyst rounds
Small lavender lucite flowers
Small sterling silver sand dollar charm

Flat and round nose pliers
Wire cutters
Measuring tape
Sharpie pen
Beading needles

1. Wrap the paua shell in colored craft wire (sterling silver or gold if you prefer), starting from the bottom. I made a spiral and then wrapped upward, ending my wire in the back near the top. You do not have to anchor the wire at the top; merely cut it off flush.

2. Cut out a piece of ultra suede about 1/8 inch wider than the edges of your shell, and covering only the top half. Smear the back of the shell with epoxy where it will be covered, making sure you cover the cut end of the wire. Let the fabric dry in place.

3. Stitch size 8/0 seed beads along the edge of the ultra suede with the holes pointing up. Stitch one of the silver rings from your S-hook and rings to the top of the ultra suede, tucked under the top of the shell.

4. Bring your thread from the back up through each of the seed beads that you've stitched along the edge. Create stacks of size 11/0 seed beads, and stacks that are topped with accent beads like the pearls and Lucite flowers.

5. Cut another piece of ultra suede the same size as the first, and glue it in place over the backing to hide all the threads. Cover the raw edges with seed beads if you wish, and stitch an additional picot stitch between every two beads. This adds a lovely ruffle to the edge and helps to make the embroidered part look fuller.

6. Create a necklace strand using beading wire and the beads of your choice. I made mine a slightly graduated strand, moving from 4mm to 6mm beads. String a slide bail with a loop in the middle of the strand, and finish the ends as shown: using crimps and crimp covers, attach one end to the remaining ring of the S hook set, and attach the other end to the chain. Make a small dangle on a head pin and wrap a loop around the other end of the chain.

7. Use a jump ring to attach the top loop of the pendant to the loop on the bail.


Copyright 2009 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Kate said…
Beautiful piece! Thank you for the tutorial.
Cyndi L said…
You're very welcome, Kate :-)
Anonymous said…
this is a truly beautiful piece of jewelry thank you for sharing it cant wait to make it Suzie
Unknown said…
Absolutely stunning!! I'm so in love!! Lol. Thank you so much for sharing! Where do I go to find a piece of polished Paua this size?
Cyndi L said…
Thank you, Andrea! I think I got this piece on vacation at a seaside tourist shop, but Fire Mountain Gems, Rings & Things, and other full service catalogs should have something similar :-)
Unknown said…
So beautiful. Thank you
Cyndi L said…
Thank you so much!