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Monday, January 30, 2012

A Return To Romance Necklace Tutorial

Over the weekend I  created not one, but two necklaces that made me really, really happy. I thought this tutorial would be the perfect way to kick off the annual DTA Valentine extravaganza.

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First, I have to tell you a story. See the well groomed people in the photo below? My Aunt Jan is on the upper left, my mom is on the right, followed by Papa Jack and Grandma Mary. Now my Grandma had beautiful taste. She was ALWAYS put together perfectly even when she was just going to the grocery store. She loved to have matching shoes, purses, and jewelry. Oh the jewelry.


When my grandmother passed away I was the only one with any interest in her costume jewelry. Her jewelry box was like the faux spectacular version of Ali Baba’s cave.

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Rhinestones and pearls galore! In every color and length imaginable.

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Sadly they have since sat in my jewelry box for the past 13 years barely worn. I have been making the family do a drastic purge of everything they don’t use. It seemed only fitting that I apply the same rules to myself. But I COULD NOT bring myself to part with the gems so I decided to give them a makeover so that I would actually wear them.

I took stock of all the bits of leftover chain I had from previous projects like the recent medicine cabinet makeover.

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To get the length I needed I had to combine a few chains together with “O” rings.

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Then I went to Joann’s to fill in a few gaps and found that their jewelry making supplies were 40% off. Oh Happy Day!

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I laid out several different patterns until I found a layout I liked.

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The same scenario occurred with the pink.

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I attached the strands via another “O” ring to the bar set closure.

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Here is the finished look of the other bar set with lobster clasp.

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It looked good sitting in a dish.

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It looked good with jeans and a T shirt…

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…as well as a fancy lace top.

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But the best part is that Grandma Mary’s gems are back in action.

Have you updated a family heirloom?



Nancy's Notes said...

Oh my goodness, that is a just gorgeous! Your grandmother would be so proud that you are wearing her jewels and what a cherished piece to have! Wonderful transformation!

Carol at Serendipity said...

Just lovely!

April said...

Stunning! The pink is just marvelous!

Jen said...

So pretty! And what a wonderful way to update family treasures for modern use. I love the mixing of various strands.

Have a great Monday!

Stitchfork said...

Great idea! I have a box full of these baubles too just sitting in my closet....
xo Cathy

Jeannine said...

This is the perfect way to update jewelry without completely changing it. I will probably do this to my MIL's jewelry she gave my daughter. So useful, Thanks!

Linda said...

Gorgeous, Laura! :)

I have no family heirlooms other than our family history which I hold dear.

Love, Linda

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Beautiful pieces, Laura! I like how you've combined them. I think it's great that you've remade them into something you will wear and can think of your Grandma when you do.

DREAMS ON 34th STREET ~ French Bread & Family said...

Tres Chic, my brilliant friend!

Karena said...

Laura I absolutely love that you are using your special heirloom pieces so filled with memories!

The pink strands are just perfect together!

Art by Karena

Lady Dorothy said...


Just this past Saturday, I "inherited" a little box of my MIL's jewelry. This is great inspiration for those pieces -- which look a great deal like yours. Thank you.

The Boston Lady said...

No I have not, but I am glad you did and shared this with us! Beautiful! Ann

Miss Sandy said...


I wore one of my grandmothers layered vintage pearl necklaces in my daughters wedding. I used some of them to decorate a lamp shade in my studio, it sparkles!

Jill Elaine said...

Oh how beautiful! I would wear them too! You put some stuff like that on etsy and it will be snapped up in a heartbeat!

Lorrie said...

Such pretty pieces you've created. Your grandmother would be so proud of you and pleased to see you wearing her gems.

cityfarmer said...

truly inspirational ... filled with love and memories

Priscilla said...

How very clever of you!

Auntie Em said...

What a wonderful way to honour your grandmother by making sure her lovely jewelery goes on being cherished and admired. Your multi-strand necklaces are lovely. And there is something so sweet about a t-shirt(and even jeans) and pearls.
BTW, your Mom is soo pretty and looks as though you channeled your awesome sense of style down through your materal links! :)

Thanks for the tutorial! :)

Petite Michelle Louise said...

lovely...sentimental..and SWEET! I am soo going to make some of these! How special! TFS!

Gail said...

I bet your Grandmother is smiling down on you today. Love both of them. You've inspired me to look at the pieces of vintage costume jewelry that I was recently given. and see what I can make with them!

Debbie said...

This is an amazing makeover and a beautiful idea. I love that you are wearing her beautiful things from last century with a "this century" look. It's kind of like naming a child after someone you love but giving it a slightly unique twist.

I don't remember that medicine cabinet makeover. I have been so out of it this month. I've GOT to go check that out.

Mary Ellen said...

Laura what a wonderful way to update and show off you heirloom jewelery!!
It looks so pretty on you friend!

bee blessed

Danielle said...

Wow, these are so beautiful! How lucky are you to have these precious memories and be able to wear them everyday as a reminder of your grandmother. I love, love the pink multistrand necklace. Well done Laura, you did an amzazing job!


openid said...


This is the best part about all antique and vintage items; giving them new life! Your Grandma Mary's collection of custom jewelry looks so much better on you and used in your home than in a box {where it can't be appreciated or stir memories of the woman who once wore them.} I have no doubt you were Grandma Mary's most precious gem!

Your Friend,

Tammy@Beatrice Banks said...

How special! The medicine bottles are a spectacular idea! Beautiful! I haven't met you but just looking at the your photo, I can tell you embody the same gracefulness as your grandmother. Love that old photo and the way people used to take pride in how they presented themselves, not just in looks but in great character.

Ruby Jean said...

Coming over from Craftomainiac I am LOVING your jars... So very pretty and now I am thinking my Jars and Bottles are a bit on the Under Dressed side...So LOVELY.. :)

Nezzy said...

'Such beautiful baubles sweetie, thanks for sharin' em in your lovely pics.

God bless ya sweetie and have a fantastic day!!! :o)

ImagiMeri said...

Absolutely stunning, just like you. Wow, you are your mother's doppleganger aren't you?

Big Hugs,