There’s a very well known proverb that says that if you give a man a fish, you’ll feed him for a day, but if you teach a man how to fish, you’ll feed him for a lifetime. Just as all proverbs, this one has a point that’s wide enough to be applied to many situations - knowledge is the best gift that can be given. If you apply this to beads, it would be a better idea to give someone a beginner's set for beading than an already made piece of jewelry, like a necklace. So, if you like this idea, let’s see which items should be in that beginner’s set.
There are three basic ingredients to a bead necklace. There are the beads, there’s the string the beads are threaded onto, and there are the clasps that are used to hold the ends of the string together. We’ll start with the beads.
You’ll find beads of many shapes, colors, and sizes in any bead shop. However, you should keep in mind that the really small ones, the seed beads, can be really tricky to thread. Plus, because of their size, the person for whom you’re getting the beads will need to string a lot of them to make a necklace that can actually be worn, which can be time consuming and maybe even boring to a novice. So, while choosing beads of a few different shapes and colors is a good idea, it might be helpful to avoid beads that are smaller than a quarter of an inch in diameter.
For the string, you’ll also have a number of choices - nylon strings, metal wire, even leather and rubber. Since it’s a beginner's kit, nylon string would be the best choice. It’s easy to work with and handle without using any tools, but you should take note that it might happen that the diameter of the hole in the bead is smaller than the diameter of the string. So, when buying strings and beads, make sure that everything fits.
Clasps range from the simple lobster claw clasps, to the very delicate and decorated clasps which can be, on their own, a beautiful detail on a necklace. The choice is yours, but the cheapest and simplest are the lobster claw clasps, which does make them a better choice for a beginner’s kit.
Making jewelry from beads can be a nice pastime or a great business, depending on how much time and talent are invested in it. Still, just as every trip begins with a single step, so does a lifetime of beading begin with a single piece of jewelry. And sure, in time, many tools that make the process easier and faster can get involved, but for the beginning, a simple beginner’s kit might be all that’s need to start things up.