Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Is hand-knotting pearls a dying art?

I had no idea how much interest there would be in simple strands of hand-knotted pearls until I uploaded a few to my Etsy shop. I'll admit, despite having worked in marketing for a few years of my writing career, I am positively awful at marketing myself. So, as you can well imagine, there has been little of me marketing these pearl strands I've listed. But, this leads me to the question, are there so few pearl-knotters out there that my pearl strands have received a seemingly over-abundance of attention without much effort on my part? I may never really find out the answer to that question, but if there are few of us left, I'll keep on knotting.

Knotted mauve & white button pearls

Yesterday, I completed knotting a new strand of pearls--ones I bought a couple of years ago, but just never got around to stringing. I knotted a double strand of gorgeous grey, cultured akoya pearls. I would say the toughest part about pearl knotting is making sure the end knots that hold the bead tips (those little metal things that attach to the clasp or rings that attach to the clasp) are strong and large enough to keep them from slipping off the ends of the necklace. Early on in my knotting adventures, I worried about the strength of my knots, and yet I have made and worn many of my own pearl necklaces for years, and not a single one has come apart yet. Only this has given me the confidence to sell them.

I've always found knotting pearls to be a very relaxing task, much like chainmaille. Both are pretty tedious hobbies, but for me, they are as rewarding as anything else I do. Sure, I also am known to spend hours writing web site source code, but I'm just ask likely to be found hovering over my work bench in my office, knotting a strand of pearls or weaving a new piece of chainmaille. I frequently bounce between my hobbies, usually when an idea strikes me for any one of them.

If there really are so few pearl knotters left; if the task has been relegated to workers in pearl farm countries like China who make low wages, I'll still keep doing it. There's something to be said for the phrase "handmade in the USA" to me!