Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Restoration/re-purposing an old family necklace

Hillary wanted to share with you the process that she went through to revive a broken crystal necklace:

A while back, my aunt sent me a bag full of family jewelry with little notes about whose it was and what she thought I should do with it. In the bag was this:

Her suggestion was that I re-string it and give it to my mom.

I contemplated simply re-stringing it or at least creating something somewhat true to the era. Ultimately I decided to go with more modern styling because my mother is always highly complimentary of the pieces she gets from me, which are generally more contemporary, and she always says how much she likes my wire-wrapping work. I realize that in many families this would be considered blasphemy, but in mine, the focus has always been on doing things your own way, and everyone seems to enjoy my style. Not to mention, if anyone in my family would prefer something different than what I've created, I can always undo it and re-string it--that's the great thing about jewelry.

There aren't any photos of the work in progress because I take my own photos and I generally don't stop once I start on a piece of jewelry--I sit down with it and don't get up until it's finished. However, I will explain a little bit about what I did:

I strung the crystals on 49 strand jewelry wire and then added a sterling drop chain with a wire wrapped pendant on it.

The pendant was carefully hand-wrapped by me in sterling silver. It is one of the larger crystals from the original necklace. In fact, all beads used in this piece were from the original necklace.

As you can see below, I made a toggle clasp assembly with the crystals rather than using a regular clasp. I originally did this because I didn't have any sterling silver clasps, but in the end, I think it made the necklace look much more elegant.

I made a pair of matching earrings by attaching crystals to surgical steel ear wires. I decided to keep the earrings simple since the necklace itself was large and elaborate.

This was a fun project that kept me up much later than I intended to let it. When I give it to my mother, I will try to get some pictures of her with it and let you know what she thought. Also, when I was done, there was one medium sized crystal left, so it might become a necklace for me if my family is agreeable. If I make that, I'll post it here, too.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this project as much as I enjoyed making it.

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