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Last Updated on March 2, 2022 by Katherine
No doubt you’ve seen a waterfall necklace before, they’re easy to find with a simple search on Etsy and they are quite distinctive. I call them waterfall necklaces because the bead strings resemble a flow of water as they spill downward from the single chain around the wearer’s neck. They can be intricate or straightforward in their design. Some will have crystal beads, some will use scads of seed bead strands, and others will even use gemstones.
I am going to show you how to make a simple 7 stranded waterfall necklace, using gold findings and pearl beads.
I love this necklace style because it gave me some more practice with making jewelry loops with eye pins and headpins! This tutorial is perfect for you if you want to work on your wire looping technique. Before you know it, you’ll be a complete pro at making them!
You don’t need a ton of supplies to complete this project either, a handful of eye and headpins, jewelry chain with a lobster clasp, pearls, and some pliers and you can have your very own waterfall necklace in about an hour! You can also complete this craft for around $20 if you have your jewelry pliers from previous projects as well.
Ready to dive in? Let’s get started!
What You Will Need:
- Sketch of your project (or lay out your waterfall “pieces” on your work surface);
- Two sizes/colors of pearl beads;
- Eye pins;
- Jewelry chain;
- Lobster clasp;
- Round-nose pliers (Learn more about pliers here);
- Wire cutters; and,
- Optional: Chain nose pliers to help with gripping your work.
Note: For your jewelry findings, or the metal bits, you’ll want to pick the same color for all. So all gold, all silver, or all bronze (and so on).
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Sketch or Lay Out Your Project
This necklace calls for seven “chains” of pearls, so I recommend laying out the sequence of pearls on your work surface or drawing a sketch so you can keep track of what you need to do for each of your pearl chains.
I rarely freehand a project and I never recommend that you do, because it can be quite easy to wind up off track!
Create Your Pearl Chains
Once you have your project firmly set in your head, it’s time to make your pearl chains or the pieces of your waterfall!
I started with creating the bottom pieces of the waterfall, using a headpin.
I experimented a little with creating some extra wire work on the loop. It didn’t work how I wanted it. Next time I will stick with a standard loop!
Once I had the headpins set up and looped off, begin looping off your eye pins as well (for a super helpful video tutorial, I recommend checking out Lily-Tree’s Basic Wire Loops: 5 Secrets for Success). If you don’t have a plastic cut out as described in the video, you can try a cardboard one. I find I’m also able to use my finger as a guide. When holding your bead, cut your wire just past your pointer finger, as seen below.
Once I had each pearl looped onto its individual head or eye pin, I worked to connect them all in the sequence to create the waterfall pieces. The largest segment I had was 5 pearls of alternating colors. Each chain reduces by one pearl as it goes left or right. You should have 7 chains when finished.
Getting Your Chain Ready
Once you have the pieces of your waterfall ready, it’s time to prep a chain for them. You can simply attach the top eye pin to the chain or use a jump ring to connect them. I connected everything right on the chain.
I had a length of gold chain, so I measured out how much I’d need on myself. Once I had that, I cut the excess wire and used my chain nose pliers to attach a lobster claw and jump ring to each side of the chain.
You’ll want to find the middle of your chain (or close) and attach the longest strand there. Then you want to connect the sizes in sequential order, eyeballing a suitable length between the chain links, usually about 5-6 links.
If the chain isn’t quite center, it’s okay, the weight of the pearls should keep the necklace appearing center, it’s just your clasp in the back may be slightly to the right or left.
Once you have connected all your waterfall pieces, your necklace is ready to wear!!
One of the best pieces of statement jewelry is a waterfall necklace. They are always stunning and I love seeing the different styles that add just that extra touch of personality to them. I love how the gold pieces and the pearls combined in this project for a stunning, yet simple necklace that will draw comments and attention.
You can easily expand this necklace with more pearl chains or change the look by picking some crystal style beads or opting for silver findings instead of gold. Another interesting idea to try is to vary the lengths of your pearl pieces, instead of a graduated shortening with the tallest one in the middle. The possibilities are completely endless when you customize your own necklaces!
This style is simple to dress up or down, just pick different beads or choose “rustic” style findings like antique silver.
I’d love to hear all about your waterfall necklace projects or any of your questions in the comment down below. Also, please share this content on your favorite social media platform using one of the share buttons or Pin it to Pinterest!
Until next time, stay crafty, my friends!!