A trip to Michaels, a crochet hook, a peek at youtube and ravelry: violà! instant necklace. It took a couple of hours, start to finish. Much faster than the socks I’d been planning.
ETA: I used 26-gauge wire — not sterling silver, which I hope won’t be an issue for the recipient — and a size F/5 – 3.75mm crochet hook. Which is the only size hook I own, so that was an easy decision. I didn’t worry much about making my stitches even, figuring any sloppiness could be interpreted as a design element. Working with the wire wasn’t too bad, once I got the hang of it, but my hands are definitely tired. In other words, I don’t think I’ll go into production or turn to wire as my medium of choice in future.
All in all, though, not bad for $30 in supplies (of which I still have quite a bit left over) and an hour or two spent with a hook and some beads.