February 2, 2014

DIY Beaded [Heirloom] Statement Necklace: Valentine's Edition

A couple of weeks back I posted a fun tutorial on making an 'heirloom' rhinestone statement necklace using some of my grandmother's vintage costume jewelry. Well, I still had several pieces of my grandma's jewelry left--enough that I've been able to make several other necklaces, and I wanted to share another version here. This necklace combines the rhinestone bib element of my Mixed Metals Statement Necklace with double strands of bright, faceted beads instead of chain. This makes for a beautiful burst of color and gives the necklace a more classic, vintage-y feel than the more modern industrial chain version. Here is my version in red, just in time for Valentine's Day!

And this one was just as easy to make--and almost as fast--as the first one. Here's how I did it.

*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 sliders to filigree blanks and then how to connect those rhinestone filigree pieces to each other. I won't go into detail on those techniques here since I've already detailed them previously, and they're necessary for this necklace .

-5 (or any odd number) Rhinestone earrings/pendants/sliders/brooches, etc. that have already been attached to metal filigree blanks (see steps 1 - 8 in previous tutorial here).
-Beads in a color complimentary to your rhinestone focal pieces.
-Jump rings
-Beading wire
-Crimp beads
-Crimp covers (optional)
-Multi-strand clasp (or 2 connector bars each made for at least two strands and a separate lobster clasp)
-Needle nose pliers
-Flat nose pliers (or a 2nd pair of needle nose pliers, to aid in opening and closing jump rings)
-Wire cutters
-Crimping pliers

1. Connect your rhinestone focal pieces together following the technique outlined in steps 9-12 of my Mixed Metals Statement Necklace tutorial. Here's a picture of the five pieces I've attached together, and a close-up of the backside so you can see how they've been connected with multiple jump rings.

2. Now we'll connect one of the 'top' (shorter) strands of beads. String about 5 3/4 inches of beads onto your beading wire (I leave mine attached to the spool rather than cutting off a specific length).

3. Take a look at one of the end components of your rhinestone bib and identify two holes at the edge of the filigree where you'd like to connect your (two) bead strands. Using your crimping pliers and a crimp bead, crimp the open end of your beading wire to the top-most of the filigree holes you selected. Here's a good tutorial on crimping. I like to then add a crimp cover over my finished crimps to give my jewelry a more finished look, but this is optional.

4. You should now have something that looks like the image above--a beaded strand attached on one side to your rhinestone bib and on the other side to the wire spool.

5. Snip the wire from the spool about 1 1/2 inches from the last bead and gather your multi-strand clasp (or multi-strand connector bar).

6. Using your crimping pliers and a crimp bead, crimp your wire to the inner hole on your multi-strand clasp (or connector bar). Add a crimp cover if preferred.

7. Tuck in the end of your beading wire through the first couple of beads. (Please excuse my giant man-thumbs and super jagged nails. Jewelry wire-working leaves my nails perpetually dented and ugly...)

 8. You should now have something that looks like the image above.

9. String and attach the outer strand of beads to the rhinestone bib and the clasp following the same instructions above, but increasing the beaded strand very slightly to about 1/4" to 1/2" longer than the first (inner) strand. On my necklace, this only required one more bead. Tip: Be careful not to add too many extra beads to the outer strand, or the strands won't lay nicely together and the outer strand will appear buckled when worn.

Here's a close-up of both strands connected to the rhinestone bib on the first side.

10. Repeat the same process on the opposite side of the rhinestone bib to add two more beaded strands, connecting both strands to the other filigree end and the other side of the multi-strand clasp (or another multi-strand connector bar).

 Note: If using a multi-strand connector bar that does not have a clasp already attached as part of the component, now is the time to add it. Use jump rings to attach a lobster clasp on one side and a large jump ring on the other for the clasp to connect to.

Your necklace should now be complete! And if you stuck with a red theme like I did, it's perfect for Valentine's Day. Or really, any day of the year. Because rhinestones and pearls are good every day, no matter the color.

I used a vintage Swarovski crystal double-strand clasp to keep with the feel of my grandma's vintage jewelry (note: two of the pieces in the bib are NOT vintage pieces from her collection--just keepin' it real), but you you can find all sorts of modern multi-strand clasps and/or connector bars in the jewelry section of your local craft store (where you can also find rhinestone sliders to make the bib).

I love the asymmetrical rhinestone bib and the mixed metals! And every time I look at this necklace I think of my grandma. With our shared love of color, sparkle, and rhinestones, I think she would have approved.

Are you a fan of vintage jewelry? In what color would you make a necklace like this? I'd love to know!

Sarah Marie

Linking up with:

Take-A-Look Tuesday at Sugar Bee Crafts
Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims
We Did It! Wednesday at Sew Much Ado 
Show & Tell at Gingerly Made
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
The Party Bunch at 30 Handmade Days
Link Party Palooza at Tatertots and Jello
Think Pink Sunday at Flamingo Toes


Got a question or comment? My ear is yours.