The Vintage Cookie

Sunday, June 24, 2012

New Earrings from Old - Gun Metal chain tassels with crystal beads

These earrings are an upgrade from a pair that came with a necklace I bought yesterday at Bijoux Bijoux (1003 Santee St, Los Angeles.) They were okay earrings, but not great. The tassels were a little too long (and I have a long neck, so when earrings are too long on me, they are too long.) And the earrings were all the same material -- gun metal finished chain and coins -- so the earrings didn't really stand out. I reduced the length of each chain in the tassel by 3 links and I added 3 crystal beads, one to each coin. I picked three beads with similar tonal value to the rest of the necklace -- they are blue, mauve, and lavender with AB finish (from 3 of the 18 bracelets I bought yesterday, see my last post). This is a fairly subtle upgrade, but when the earring is worn the crystal beads really make a difference. (Original earring on left, upgraded earring on right.)

There was a bit of fussing to get the earrings to hang with the beads facing forward, but otherwise this was a simple project. I will add that after one full month of this earring project, my wire wrapping is much, much neater, too.

The original earrings were a good example of what is wrong with much inexpensive "fashion" jewelry, and why I (or you) as a hobby jewelry designer can improve on what we can buy. Almost all inexpensive jewelry sold today is imported, mostly from China. Most of it is, I think, designed by someone who works for the factory making the components. Therefore, although China makes all different kinds of chains and beads and other jewelry components, any particular piece of jewelry tends to be made of one element. A factory that makes metal chain and pendants makes an all-metal necklace. A factory making cut glass beads makes a necklace of all crystal -- sparkly and shiny and something that no one over the age of 12 can actually wear. But I can combine beads and charms and chain from all over the globe. I can make things and buy things and re-purpose things. I can mix vintage and modern, natural and man-made. All I need is a couple pairs of pliers and some wire and I can make something that is perfect for me, for my life and my outfit on any particular day.

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