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 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]

2 Responses to Vintage Costume Jewelry Necklace – Redoux

  • tanya says:

    I have some vintage beads and such and I was just wondering if you know where I can go online to find out where my beads came from, how old they are, and how much they are worth? This way if I sell them in loose lots or create jewelry out of them, I am not overcharging my customers, or undercharging for my art peices:)

    Any info you can provide would help greatly.

    By the way, I love your site and the jewelry you create with vintage beads. I am looking into grabbing up more from vintage lots on ebay:)


  • Gail says:

    Hi Tanya,

    Good question! Not to mention a difficult question, but let’s take a look at where you might take a look.

    First, when creating your own jewelry, the history of the beads is what contributes greatly to its selling price. If you know for sure the beads are from the 50’s or 60’s (or even 70’s), that helps. Sometimes that’s hard to do, though, if you are buying beads loose.

    Sometimes you can find signed vintage bead necklaces that are unrepairable. I’ve seen some bead necklaces where the clasp (where it was signed) was so badly damaged as to be unusable (unless you were a whiz at soldering). Those beads are “ripe for the picking” so to speak, and you can date them far more accurately.

    The next question is what kinds of beads do you have? Faux pearls are ubiquitous, so the cost per bead is pretty low. Vintage Swarovski can be more expensive. You can try a google search — here’s one for vintage Swarovski beads:

    Thanks so very much for your kind words as to my site and jewelry — I appreciate it! I hope you continue to have fun with your vintage beads and creations! 🙂


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