Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Redesigning and Updating a Vintage Necklace

I've decided to share the process I sometimes go through when redesigning a broken piece of jewelry.

To the left is a necklace that was broken. I loved the color combination with the soft buttery colored pearls, the golds and the browns and even the faceted jewels in the original. The shorter two-strand necklace seemed dated to me and I wanted more strands and longer strands.

The first thing I did was pull some of my other beads, both old and new, that I felt would coordinate with the original without taking away the vintage feel of the original necklace. I didn't want the added beads to stand out, but rather wanted them to look as though they could have been part of the original.

I then started developing bead combinations using the various beads, adding spacer beads and creating separate sections onto wire that would later be connected. That is one of the best ways I have found to stretch the few beads that you want to be the main color focus of the piece.

I laid the sections out on my beading cloth and moved the sections around until I was pleased with the layout of the design. I wanted some of the buttery pearls on each strand and wanted the other colors to be carried throughout the entire necklace as well. When I was satisfied with the design I connected the sections and added some chain so it would lay flatter on the neck area and not be bulky under a jacket.

Finally I attached the clasp. This is the final long, multi-strand necklace. I had set back a couple of the pearls to turn into coordinating earrings. This necklace will work great with a jacket or over a sweater or blouse. It has turned out to be one of my favorites.

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