Monday, May 16, 2011

Something Old, Something New - A Tale of Two Necklaces (Part 3)

When Abby contacted me to upcycle a piece for her wedding, I felt incredibly honored and excited. Before meeting up she sent me a link to her engagement pictures from TAB Photographic. After viewing her kitschy 50's style photo shoot,I felt even more excited to be working with someone who had an eye for vintage and a great sense of humor. 

hands down - a great couple
She presented to me three meaningful pieces: A heart-shaped charm with her baby picture connected to a bracelet, an angel charm inscribed with her birthday on a flat link necklace, and a blue beaded birth bracelet with her mother's last name spelled out on lettered beads. The items could cover both the "something old" and "something blue" on her wedding day.

Abby's original pieces of jewelry.
One of the first things I asked to see was a picture of her wedding dress to get a feel for the neckline. Her dress had a V-shape in the front, lots of pretty ruching, and would be gathered up on one side. Abby planned on adding feathered detailing on her dress and wearing a feather fascinator in her hair. We talked a bit about her wedding colors and how her other accessories would factor into the final design of her necklace. I loved hearing about her DIY details such as hand drawn save the dates, specially designed favors, and local food truck catering. I knew it was going to be a very memorable wedding for her guests.

beautifully hand drawn "save the date" cards
When Abby tried on her dress at the bridal shop, they accessorized it with a simple necklace. It had a small pendant and a drop detail down the back. Abby said she liked the simplicity of the front and the detailing in the back. The necklace I designed also needed to be simple yet have some interesting accents to reflect Abby's unique style.
necklace from bridal shop
There were two possible focal points for her necklace: the heart charm or the angel charm. Wearing both might take away from the  beauty of her dress so Abby decided to use just the heart charm. Though the angel charm wouldn't be used in the necklace, we both agreed that it could be easily incorporated into another part of her wedding (garter, bouquet, memory quilt, etc.). 

chain from angel pendant and Abby's adorable baby pic in a heart charm
Abby liked the idea of creating a rosary chain out of her mother's birth bracelet. I took the beads off the string and wired them to make links. I also connected the letters of her mother's last name in the same rosary style.

snip 'n' twist
linky dinks
Once all the elements were in place, we met up to piece everything together over drinks and snacks at Starbucks. It was great to catch up with Abby after not seeing her for a while. She showed me the feathers she purchased for her headpiece and dress. Though they were the colors she wanted, she was hoping they would be bigger. Anybody out there know where to find a good selection of feathers?

desperately seeking bigger feathers
I brought many boxes of supplies for Abby to poke through for inspiration. While tag saling a few weeks prior to our meet up, I had found a flat linked chain similar to the one that hung the angel pendant. The only difference was that mine had a "c" clasp in the back while hers had no clasp at all. This came in handy later on. 
my partner in design
We got down to business and tried different layouts. Abby decided she wanted to scatter a few blue rosary links in between the flat links of her chain. We tried different configurations and lengths until it was just right. We brainstormed ways to incorporate the letters of her mom's birth bracelet in the necklace and had an "aha" moment. We split the letters in half and added a clasp in between so the name could go around the back of her neck. And can you believe that her mom's last name sits perfectly above a tattoo of her first name? How serendipitous is that?

the glowing bride-to-be
includes elements from the 3 original pieces
just a touch of blue
much love to Linda
I tried several lobster clasps in the back but everything I had with me was too shiny and new looking. We were about to poke through the clasps on all my vintage chains when we remembered my spare chain that was just like hers. We took the clasp off the back and it matched the metal on her chain perfectly! The finishing touches were two blue beads near the clasp and it was done!

something old AND blue
From the moment Abby contacted me about upcycling her jewelry to the instant her piece was finished, I enjoyed every part of the journey.  I got to piece together heirlooms from Abby's past that would eventually walk down the aisle with her. I give a heartfelt thanks to Abby for trusting me with her treasures, sharing her memories (and many laughs), and being open to so many ideas. New friend...who knew?

Interested in having your jewelry upcycled into a new piece? Contact me!


  1. Very cool. I love the name on the nape of the neck: brilliant.

    FYI Sometimes Michael's has some good/big feathers in the silk flower-arranging section.

    Cheers to the couple!

  2. Thanks for the kind words mam and the suggestion about the feathers! I will pass it onto Abby.