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Vintage Necklaces Refurbished: How to Infuse Modern Style into Your Chic Vintage Jewelry

Updated on October 16, 2012

The Necklace Completes Me

Doesn't a stunning necklace simpoly complete your look? I can't get over how a dramatic statement piece dangling from my neck can not only boost my confidence no matter where I am headed, but it can also draw so much attention. I love when people ask where I got my jewelry.

My disclaimer: I did not create the necklace above, but I did use it as my inspration!
My disclaimer: I did not create the necklace above, but I did use it as my inspration! | Source

The Necklace with Significance

When I was young, I used to traverse into my grandmother's closet where she kept her jewelry. I would bend my neck all the way back, looking high toward the pegboard where she kept her nacklaces. Admiring them, I conjured ways to get to them.

Looking back, I laugh at this experience. I could have asked my grandma to wear her jewelry and she undubitably would have allowed it, but there was something romantic about the mystery of exploring her closet without her. Can you relate to this mystical feeling?

My grandmother is now very old, and she has been placed under nursing care. To help her pay for it, we cleaned out her home and offered it as a rental. While going through her closet I couldn't help but yearn for those same pieces I had admired as a child. With my mother's permission, I withheld a few of the necklaces for myself.

I wanted to do something special with them.

The unbeaded chain is my "backbone" strand.
The unbeaded chain is my "backbone" strand.

The Necklace Recreated

Below are the step-by-step instructions for recreating the jewelry to sport a modern feel, while maintaining its sentimental significance.

Here's what I took from my grandmother's closet:

  • Two beaded necklaces: one royal blue, one bright green
  • One long chain with a locket pendant strung on it
  • One pair of oval royal blue earrings
  • One owl shaped pin


  1. Decide how you want the finished product to look. Draw it if you must. Decide on your color scheme. For this necklac
  2. Have extra supplies on hand. Funky beads, extra string, clasps, craft glue, etc. Though we want to use as much of the original works as possible, you will need some help putting things together.
  3. Lay everything out on a flat, empty surface. Possibly even organize your selection of beads for quick crafting. I actually decided to cut the string to the two beaded necklaces that I had and organized those beads by color, knowing that I was planning on re-stringing them anyway.
  4. Find your frame. This means choose one strong chain with an easy clasp that will act as the backbone of your necklace. Get ready!


  1. Somewhere near one end of the "backbone" strand, attach another strand. This can be as simple as tying some strong beading string to the chain, or you can actually use a clap. Bead this secondary string or chain fully. Don't be afraid to unstring beads from the vintage necklaces and restring them here. The point is to use the jewelry in a modern way.
  2. Once you've reached the center point on this chain or string, add a vintage charm. Or, you can add many along the way. The choice is up to you! Finish stringing the bead and tie it off using the backbone chain. Make sure the contact point is the same length from the clasp of the nacklace as the other side is. The charm I added was my grandmother's locket pendant.
  3. Add another strand. Using a different contact point on your backbone chain, repeat Step 2. Make this strand a different length for a fun look. I finished my necklace at three strands, but infuse your own style! For the charm on this strand, I used one of my grandmother's blue earrings. Using pliers, I bent the post of the earring around the strand.

That wasn't so bad, was it? Well, I thought it was fun!


Here are two other creative, fun ideas I could have pursued with this necklace recreation:

  1. More strands. For my vintage recreation, I used only three strands, but you could create as many as you would like depending on your supplies and ideas.
  2. More charms. Like the necklace in the first picture in this hub, you can use as many charms as suits you as soon as you have the skeleton of your necklace. By skeleton, I mean the frame of chains that creates the actual neck lace. Everything else is just decorative fluff, and you can add as much of it as you want according to your own personal style!

The finished product
The finished product

The Necklace Completed

Above you can see the completed version of the necklace. This is helpful because you can see the various aspects to it. Near the top, you can see where I made the contact points between the secondary and tertiary strands and the backbone strand. You can also see how the pieces align: an earring hangs from the top strand and the pendant on the bottom strand, complementing the shape of the owl pin.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your vintage-turned-modern jewelry event!


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    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      Oh wow.. your necklace turned out gorgeous! I love the one in the photo that inspired you, but I think I like yours even more.. Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial. Voting up, useful & beautiful :)

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 5 years ago from Southern Spain

      Wow - some clever ideas here - Your necklaces look interesting & diferent which is good .I like older things more than modern . Voting you up.Found you while hubhopping .

    • TeriSilver profile image

      Teri Silver 5 years ago from The Buckeye State

      Nice, informative. Thumbs up!