Monthly Archives: December 2008

Bling in the New Year!

Well, it's New Year's Eve day, and the end of 2008.  High time to plan how to bling in the New Year!

As you know, I've been doing some collecting of costume jewelry, as well as doing a redux on pieces.  My latest acquisitions have been some crystal necklaces, probably from the late 60's through the 70's.  Or, they could even be newer, but based on the materials used, I'd say probably late 70's.

I took apart these necklaces for three reasons.  One, they aren't Swarovski -- crystal, yes; Swarovski, no.  But the AB beads sure are pretty!

Second, they weren't strung as well as they could have been; way too tight, so they didn't hang right.

The last reason were the clasps, which were really nice.  The clasps would be lovely in a re-done piece!  All three included chatons, one of them with AB chatons.

So I've got plenty of materials to work with in 2009!  (I won't talk at the moment about all the other bead necklaces I've disassembled lately....)

Finding the Bling

I've been watching the ebay auctions for costume jewelry, as well as haunting some flea markets.  Some days I find all kinds of treasures; some days I am empty-handed.  But I've since gotten over buying just any "bling" -- I wait until something jumps up and screams in my face, "Bring me home!"

Sometimes the pieces just need to be taken apart for a redux, like the crystal necklaces I just disassembled.  Some pieces stay whole, like some brooches I recently bought.

And hey, I found a great way to use my Christmas Tree pins!  OK, I'm a little late this year in telling you, but it's something you can do year-round.

One of my pins is large and heavy, and kept flopping when I wore it.  The pinback itself is vertical, so I had the idea to pin it onto a necklace (in my case, a vintage faux pearl necklace).  The pin hung there wonderfully!  So now I know what to do with the large Christmas Tree pins next year.  And what I can do with large brooches all year long.

Bling in the New Year!

So let's make a deal here; resolve to bring some bling into 2009.  Whether your bling style is modest or in-your-face, there's a place for it in all our lives.  Something sparkly to liven up our dull days, and pretty, to look at when we are stressed.

At any rate, here are some [nmslink:vintage crystal beads, vintage crystal beads] to consider, for starting your own vintage "bling" redux collection (below are just a few examples). 

Oh, and Happy New Year!

[nms:vintage crystal beads,7,0,5]

Vintage Costume Jewelry Necklace – Redoux

OK, I took a little detour from my previous post, where I talked about what I planned to do with memory wire toe rings and vintage jewelry.  I prepared some Christmas bracelets for my friends using memory wire, then decided it was time to try my hand at vintage jewelry redoux, making a necklace.  So let's take a look at the overall process.

(Yes, I do have a photo, but read what I did before you look at it...at the bottom of the post.)

Dismantling the Old Jewelry

The first step in the process is dismantling the old necklaces.  I chose some vintage faux pearl and bead necklaces that weren't signed (except for the one marked "Hong Kong") and took them apart.

The faux pearls were different colors; some white, some cream.  So I put these two in different plastic bags (plastic sandwich bags if you must know) to see how much of each color I had.

I also snipped off and undid the clasps.  Actually, only one clasp from the four necklaces was worth keeping, so that was the one I used.  But there were some goldtone findings (bead caps, small rondells) from one necklace I kept -- they went into another small baggie.

Picking the Vintage Costume Jewelry Components

I had an idea of what I wanted, so I went rummaging around in my other vintage costume jewelry for the focal component of the necklace.  Ah hah!  Something I had found at one of my flea market finds; it would be perfect for the focal.

The focal had some marcasite-look to it, so I had to then look around in my sterling findings for some rondells that would match the look.  At this point, I don't have enough vintage rondells in the antiques silver color I needed, so I had to dip into less vintage findings.  Although I will say, the findings I used were pretty much at least 6 years old...  😉

Adding Newer Pearls as Necessary

I mentioned that I had to add some sterling from my own non-vintage stock, and I had to do the same for the faux pearls.  I just didn't have enough of the white vintage faux pearls to make the double-strand necklace, so I improvised.  I had some white faux pearls I bought around 6 years ago, so I used those as fillers where necessary.

One day I will have enough of the various vintage pearl/bead colors to make what I envision without using not-quite-vintage parts as fillers, but for now, well, I do what I have to do.  And meanwhile I search ebay for the vintage beads and findings I want and need.

Vintage Costume Jewelry Redoux Necklace

Vintage Costume Jewelry Redoux Necklace

Finishing it Off

Now it was a matter of attaching the necklace to the vintage clasp.  When originally taking apart the clasp, I noted that the old construction used bead tips, so that's what I figured I'd use for this construction.  And it worked out beautifully! 

And that's something I want to mention -- look at how the vintage necklace was constructed, before you take it apart.  Does it use bead tips?  If not, how is it attached to the clasp?  Are there any unusual construction techniques used to make it a little different?

So now you see my vintage costume jewelry necklace, redoux style.

Finding Your Own Vintage Beads, Components and Findings

I like perusing ebay for my vintage costume jewelry beads, components and findings.  So here's a [nmslink:vintage jewelry lot, larger list of vintage beads and such] to redoux.  And below is a small sample of what you can see available.

Happy hunting!

[nms:vintage jewelry lot,7,0,5]

Christmas Earrings, Coraling Stitch

Seed Bead Jewelry Earrings, Coraling Stitch

Seed Bead Jewelry Earrings, Coraling Stitch

I just got in a findings order, and I decided to play around with what I got.  One of the items I received was an accident; the bag was labeled correctly, but the wrong findings were included!  Fortunately, when I called Customer Service, they sent me out the right item and said to go ahead and keep what I have (whoopee!).

So, after getting together my seed beads, some Fireline and the earring findings, I set to work making some green, gold and red earrings, using the coraling stitch.

Now I've mentioned the coraling before, and it's basically a type of kinked fringe.  I thought it would work beautifully with the domed earring findings that I got by accident.

So here are the tools I used:

  • Domed earring findings, with perforations
  • Fireline, 6 lb, smoke color
  • Seed beads, size 11, in green, gold and red
Domed Earring Findings

Domed Earring Findings

From that point, I just stitched up through the perforations on the earring findings.  I put 2 strands of the coraling through each perforation.  I started out with mostlu green on the top, then added more gold as I worked downward, added red to the gold and then mostly red.

Each earring took me about an hour to accomplish.  It was a fun way to spend a couple of hours to make some holiday earrings that are definitely different from what you normally see.

So, what else will I make?  I have some ideas as to what else I can do with these findings (I got 10 pair), although I don't know for sure that I will include seed beads, mainly because the perforations are farther apart than I'd like for using the seed beads.

I got something else that I normally would not order, for an experiment -- memory wire toe rings.  Now I don't wear toe rings, nor do I wear rings in general (aside from my wedding ring).  But I had an idea that I just had to try.

Here is a hint; it uses vintage beads, but in a way that's definitely not vintage!

So while I go and experiement with my memory wire, I'll let you check out [nmslink:vintage jewelry lot, some vintage beads and redoux findings].  Who knows where your next jewelry inspiration will come from!

[nms:vintage jewelry lot,7,0.5]

Peyote Tube Bracelets

Here are the bracelets that I mentioned in my previous post.  I don't know what I did to deserve two of them, but they are gorgeous!  And much prettier in person; I couldn't get a photo good enough to show them in their true splendor.

Peyote Tube Bracelets, Made by Jennie

Peyote Tube Bracelets, Made by Jennie

Jennie says that she got the idea and instructions from an issue of Bead&Button magazine.  Each one of the vertical bars are actually peyote tubes, each made individually.  Then, once enough tubes were made, they were joined together.

The toggle clasp was also a narrow peyote tube, and I am surprised at how firm it is (every time I've tried a toggle clasp like this, I've been less than successful).

I'd call this eye candy for the day!  So once again Jennie, thanks so much for the lovely bracelets.