I just introduced a new jewelry making video showing how to make a torsade necklace.
Torsade is a french word, the "tors" part meaning twisted.
A torsade was a decoration that emerged in the 19th century as a twisted ribbon or chord that was used primarily to decorate hats.
The word is now used to describe decorative things that have some kind of twisted motif.
In this necklace design I primarily used 4mm swarovski pearls, but you will notice that the necklace "sparkles" a little more than usual.
That's because I use a sneaky little trick where I also mix a few swarovski crystal beads in with the pearls. You can't really tell unless you look at the necklace up close, but I really like the effect it has on the necklace.
When you mix in the swarovski crystal beads the key is to make sure that the beads are a similar color to the pearls.
In terms of the colors of the pearls, you can try different things but my approach was simply to have one strand be a strong color, one strand be a weak color, and one strand be something in between.
You can vary your color selection to create very different looks. You will notice in the picture above that one necklace with the golden color pearls would look very nice with an autumn outfit, while the other that uses the white and light blue pearls has more of a spring and summer feel to it.
Why did I choose only three strands?
You can do more than three, but when you twist the necklace into a torsade it will start to look very bulky if you go much beyond three strands.
Also, when possible I like to create jewelry pieces that have multiple functions. With this necklace you can choose not to twist it into a torsade shape and instead just wear it as a three strand necklace. I think if you had more than three strands in that situation it would start to look too busy, so three seemed just right for my personal preference.
I learned with this necklace that one of the keys to the torsade is to use a magnetic clasp. Once you twist the necklace into the torsade shape by holding one end of the necklace and twisting the other end, I noticed when I used a clasp that was not a magnetic clasp that the twist sometimes came out after time passed. This doesn't seem to happen with the magnetic clasp so I recommend using one.
There a large variety of magnetic clasps, but if you are looking for some very interesting designs I recommend you check out a company called Clasp On-Clasp Off.
I found them at the Bead Fest show in Philadelphia and they have some wonderful magnetic clasp designs as well as many other clasps.
Also, as I'm sure you can guess, it is very easy to add a torsade bracelet and make a necklace bracelet set by just shortening the length of three strands you create.