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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Making Vintage Jewelry More Wearable

I haven't posted in a while about anything I've made.  I was dragging my feet on photographing pieces, but I finally went ahead and photographed several today.

I inherited some of my paternal grandmother's jewelry when she died several years ago.  Today's piece of jewelry began with a fabulous fly pin that belonged to her.

There is wonderful detailing on the fly's wings, which, frustratingly enough, the picture doesn't show very well.  It also has a purple body.  Purple is my favorite color, and it was my grandmother's favorite, too.  I thought it was an extremely cool pin.

The only problem is that I'm not really a pin person.  I think it may be a generational thing--I've seen lots of older women wear pins with a great deal of flair, but when I try it, it just doesn't feel like me.  Truthfully, I can only think of one woman around my age who I ever saw wearing pins on a regular basis.

So the pin sat unworn for a number of years.  I finally decided it was time to remedy that and make a necklace from it, since I wear necklaces very regularly.  I started by buying a bail to convert the pin into a pendant.  The bail is simply a piece of tube that goes over the pin back with a large loop on top.  You can get these bails with either a vertical or a horizontal tube, depending on the direction of your pin back.  My pin was thus turned into a pendant.

I thought just putting it on a plain chain would neither do the pin justice nor having pleasing proportions.  So the next question was how to design a necklace that would complement the pendant without overwhelming it.  Inspiration came in the form of a package of seed beads that came as a free gift with some other beads I had ordered.  The seed beads were a mix of soft purples and whites with a matte finish.  I thought the soft, matte beads would allow the pendant to really shine.  I also thought that using matte beads would bring the overall shine of the piece down a bit, and make it easier to wear for everyday occasions.

I also wanted to incorporate metal into the necklace, so I bought gold-filled chain, wire, cones and a clasp.  Gold-filled is a good affordable alternative to gold.  I shudder to think how much solid gold would have cost.  I made four strands of wire-wrapped seed bead links, and used cones to link them to the chain.  I then connected the clasp to the ends and slid the pendant on.

Since the loop on the pendant bail is so large, I can easily remove the pendant if I want to wear the necklace without it.

And, since I left the pin back intact, I could remove the pendant bail and wear it as a pin again if I ever wanted to.  I'm glad that in one form or another, the fly pin will get worn again.

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