January 21, 2014

DIY [Heirloom] Rhinestone Statement Necklace

I think I get my love of loud jewelry and all things sparkly from my paternal grandmother, Jennie. She passed away over 20 years ago (and was sick for most of the years we did have together) so I don't have many memories of her, but I do know that she was fond of big, colorful costume jewelry, and especially large rhinestone clip-on earrings. After she passed away I was given several pairs of her earrings and a few other small pieces of her costume jewelry, and I've been holding onto them for two decades, knowing that some day I'd find some way to wear or use them. Enter 2013: the rise of the loud statement necklace trend. (Can I get a 'hooray' on this?)

I'm totally in love with all the big, colorful jewelry that is so popular right now, and I've been thinking for awhile that my grandmother's earrings would make some fabulous statement necklaces. They sure weren't getting any wear while tucked away in a bag in my jewelry box. So I got to work and played around with several pairs of her earrings until I came up with a few designs I love. I call these 'Heirloom Statement Necklaces' since they contain pieces that (for me) have a family history, but you could use any sort of rhinestone pieces to make your own version--rhinestone pins, pearl pendants, jewelry sliders, etc. Have fun with your color mixing and try various sizes and metals together. You can create a fabulous and unique colorful necklace or even a simple, monotone statement piece!

Tip: If you haven't checked out my DIY Mixed Metals Statement Necklace tutorial yet you might want to do so before continuing, as I explain in that tutorial how to attach your rhinestone pieces to filigree blanks so as to make them more easily connectable when putting your necklace together. I won't go into detail on that technique here since I've already posted about it previously, and it's a necessary step in this tutorial.

-18 inches of large cable chain
-7 (or any odd number) Rhinestone earrings/pendants/sliders/brooches, etc. that have been attached to metal filigree blanks (see steps 1 - 8 in previous tutorial here)
-5mm or 6mm jump rings
-Large toggle clasp
-Needle nose pliers (I like using two pairs when working with jump rings, or you can use a pair of flat nose pliers in place of one pair of needle nose pliers)

1. Play around with your rhinestone pieces until you decide on a design you like.

2. Find the middle of your cable chain and attach your center rhinestone piece by using your needle nose pliers to slide a jump ring through one of the holes at the edge of the filigree piece and then close it around your cable chain (at the center point you just found).

Note: You'll notice here that I used two jump rings to attach each piece. I did this for extra stability, and also because sometimes it's difficult to connect a jump ring at the exact center of the rhinestone piece if the filigree blank is not perfectly straight.

3. After attaching your center rhinestone piece, begin working your way up each side connecting the rest of your pieces.

Here is the back side of the two pieces in the photo above, just for a little visual of how each piece is connected.

4. Continue attaching your rhinestone pieces until all have been connected and are spaced to your liking.

Here is another visual of the back side of the necklace so you can see how each piece is connected. 

5. Using your needle nose pliers finish off the open ends of the chain by attaching a toggle clasp. Annnnnnd...you're done! 

Now go check out your fabulous new jewelry in the mirror...even if you're wearing a shirt that totally clashes. Because it's still AWESOME.

Can you tell how sparkly this thing is? I had a hard time getting clean photos because the light kept reflecting off all of the rhinestones.

And if you use pieces that have sentimental value to you, this will be a necklace you'll treasure for a very long time. Also, it makes for a really great story when you inevitably hear your girlfriends exclaim, "Ooh, I LOVE your necklace!".

So go on, give it a try. Once you get started making your own custom jewelry you won't want to stop!

Do you love vintage jewelry pieces? Do you wear special family jewelry pieces often, or save them only for special occasions? I'd love to know.

Sarah Marie

Linking up with:

Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims
We Did It! Wednesday at Sew Much Ado 
Show & Tell at Gingerly Made
Be.You.Tiful Link Up Party at Fry Sauce and Grits
Link Party Palooza at Tatertots and Jello
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
Think Pink Sunday at Flamingo Toes
The Sunday Showcase Party at By Stephanie Lynn
Block Party at Making the World Cuter
Made by You Monday at Skip to My Lou
Take-A-Look Tuesday at Sugar Bee Crafts


  1. I just like everything you make!!!! Gah! This is adorable! What a great way to make something old and special prominent in a very special way!

    1. Ha! You are too sweet! I'm still drooling over your copper and turquoise necklace from a couple of weeks ago (and trying to justify buying some beads to make my own)!

  2. so elegant. I never find good vintage like yours.

    1. Thank you! I was lucky that my grandma had such great taste :)

  3. Oh wow! I love this necklace. I have a stash of my grandmother's jewelry that might be perfect for this project.

    Thanks for the inspiration! I'm pinning and following!

    1. Thanks Ashley, I hope you give it a try!

  4. Hooray! Wow! Fantastic project, one of the best I've seen this year.

    I was looking at borealis clip earrings last night that I use to hold up a scarf on the lampshade, thinking I'd love to make a ring. Your necklaces is even better!

    1. Thank you for such kind words!! I hope you get a chance to make one of your own!

  5. Thanks so much for linking up to Your Whims Wednesday, I featured this on my blog tonight! Come stop by and grab a featured button! http://www.mygirlishwhims.com/2014/01/your-whims-wednesday-148-and-features.html

    1. Thank you for the feature Rebecca! I'm proudly displaying your blog button :)

  6. I'm inspired! Love vintage jewelry and now I know what to do with it!


Got a question or comment? My ear is yours.