The Zulu are a large ethnic group in South Africa that is full of rich history and strong tradition. The Zulu culture has taken many of its important values and worked them into the beautiful beaded jewelry.
Zulu beadwork is full of hidden meaning and tradition that is not typically understood by the casual admirer. Zulu necklaces are worn to convey information about the wearer. For example, a Zulu necklace can communicate if a wearer is looking for a mate, what family the wearer has and where the wearer is from. Every Zulu necklace has some degree of romanticism attached to it. For this reason, it is not considered appropriate to accept a necklace from a close family member. There is also significant variety in the intricacy of the jewelry. Some necklaces are quite plain and others are very complicated. A simple Zulu bead necklace is easy to make and a beautiful addition to a jewelry collection.
Make a Zulu Bead Necklace
Cut a length of beading wire that is approximately 20 inches long. String one crimp bead onto the wire and position it almost at one end of the wire. String one jump ring onto the same end of the wire. There will now be one crimp bead and one jump ring at the end of the beading wire with approximately 1 inch of excess wire extending beyond these two items.
Using the needle nose pliers, take the short end of the wire and thread it back through the crimp bead. This secures the jump ring onto the wire. The crimp bead now has two wires going through it. To finish this end, use the crimp pliers to tightly squeeze the crimp bead around the two wires that pass through it. This makes a tight end to the necklace.
The necklace is now ready to be strung.
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String the beads in an order that is pleasing to the eye. Continue stringing until the necklace is the desired length. Leave at least 2 inches of bead wire free for finishing the necklace.
The necklace is now ready to be finished.
String the remaining crimp bead onto the necklace. Next, string the remaining jump bead onto the necklace. Finish this end of the necklace in the same way that the first end was finished.
Use the needle-nose pliers to gently separate one of the jump rings. When the jump ring is opened enough, slip one half of the closure clasp onto the jump ring and use the pliers to close the jump ring again.
Repeat this same process with the other half of the closure clasp and the remaining jump ring on the other side of the necklace.
Check all parts of the necklace to make sure everything is tight and secure.