This article was 1st published in the October 1998 issue of Lapidary Journal in the Jewelry Journal section.
Beaded Bezel Cabochon
by Ann Brodrick
Cabochon, any size round or oval
*Scrap of soft leather large enough to put cabochon on and still hold comfortably in your hands while you work
*Tube of bronze matte Delica seed beads
*Tube of dark cream matte Delica seed beads
*Size 11 sharp leather needle
This variation on the tubular peyote technique creates a beaded bezel that will not only hold a cabochon securely but also will add beauty to whatever type of cab you choose: stone, glass or porcelain. The piece can then be embellished with fringe or accent beads and turned into a pin or necklace. Or as an alternative, you can apply the cabochon directly to a leather pouch or jacket, choosing colors that will highlight your central piece. To make this piece, knowledge of the tubular peyote technique is necessary.
Apply a very small amount of glue to the center back of the cabochon, and place it onto the center of your leather scrap. This holds the cab in place as you work. Try to avoid letting the glue seep out the sides, as this can make it difficult to pass your needle through once the glue has dried.
Thread your needle with an arm's length of beading thread, then knot the end. While holding the cab and leather firmly between your thumb and forefinger, push the needle up through the leather using the edge of the cab as your guide. Pick up a bronze bead on your needle and run the needle back down through the leather, securing the bead in place. Bring the needle back up along the side of the first bead and continue adding the bronze beads one by one until you've worked your way around the perimeter of the cabochon with an even number of beads. This is the base row. Bring the needle back up through the leather, and angle it in through one of the beads in the first row. Starting with this bead, run your needle in a circle through all of them. Using a firm but gentle tug, pull the thread tight. This will draw the beads close to the cabochon and help straighten out any crooked beads.
Choose where you want to start the second row, and bring the thread up through that bead. With this row, you will begin using the tubular peyote technique. Pick up a cream bead on your needle, skip one bead in the base row, and come down through the next bead. Continue this way using the cream beads until you've come back to where you started, keeping an even tension as you go.
For the third row, alternate the colors you use between bronze and cream. The beads in this row have a tendency to stand up, so as you apply tension with the thread, press down gently on the beads to flatten them against the surface of the cab. In the fourth row, use only bronze-colored beads.
The fifth row is the last. Come out at a bronze bead of row 4 that touches a cream bead of row 3. Pick up a new bronze bead and go through the row 4 bronze bead on the other side of the cream bead. Instead of adding another bead at this point, pass the needle down through the bronze bead in row 3 and come back up through the bronze bead in row 4. Pick up another new bronze bead and continue in this way until you come back to where you started. Working in this manner (adding a bead and then skipping the place where a bead would normally be added) creates points in the design. After placing the last bead, weave the thread down through the bead rows and through the leather. Make a knot and cut the excess thread.
Carefully trim the leather around the piece. Make sure that you don't cut the thread in your base row. Create the neck chain as desired.*
Copyright Ann Brodrick