I like my necklaces to be versatile. I like options, being able to switch pendants between chains and layer them as I wish. Maybe that’s why I’ve always gravitated towards delicate pieces, they have for me the kind of flexibility that ‘statement’ necklaces don’t offer. A charm can serve just as well as a pendant, on any length chain, or in combination with other pendants. As you’ll see below, I’ll even convert earrings into pendants. For someone who values quality over quantity, this is how I get the most flexibly out of my necklaces on a budget.
I realize this works so well for me because I’ve never been overly smitten with mass produced or trendy jewelry (Tiffany’s, for example, has always been lost on me). Jewelry is a very personal thing – it’s how I carry forward memories, it’s how I support artists I like. It’s not about monetary value, it’s about investing in and taking care of pieces that are made from quality materials (i.e. sterling silver). I’d rather spend $50 on a sterling silver pendant I’ll have forever than $15 on a necklace from H&M that will wear through to the base metal in a month (so frustrating!). I was raised with the mindset ‘buying cheap is more expensive in the long run,’ and I really believe that.
So, as you’ll see below, the foundation of my necklace collection is 3-4 silver and gold chains (in various lengths) and a selection of pendants I can interchange. I’m fortunate that most of this was passed on to me or given to me when I was young, but I’ve also found some great things from local artists. Honestly, check out local markets and browse Etsy, you’d be surprised by the really awesome high quality stuff you can get for far less than something you’d find at J.Crew, for example.
I already had a few chains, and I collected a couple broken ones from my mum that were easily fixed by adding new closures. I also bought some gold filled chain and added a simple clasp closure. I didn’t have any experience doing this, but it’s so easy to find tutorials online and local jewelry supply stores can be super helpful. You can of course just go buy chains at your local jewellers fairly inexpensively too.
All I really had to do with these pendants is make sure they could be easily threaded onto a chain, which meant adding a jump ring to some of them. Again, inexpensive and easy to do. Some of these are charms my Granddad bought for my Nana on business trips abroad, some were given to my mum as a baby, some to me as a baby, and the crystal one on the far right I bought from Toronto artist Kristen Laborde.
This lightning bolt was actually an earring of my mums that I turned into a pendant. Cool, right?
Above is another earring of my mums which can easily be changed into a pendant then back into an earring. She got it when she was the very first Miss Kennedy in 1967 (Woah!). See this is what I love about all of these items, they’re wearable memories.
This is the chain I made myself, I bought the gold filled chain at The Beadery and attached a clasp to one end. That’s it! I can hook it closed anywhere along the chain, making the length flexible. This is the kind of thing I would take traveling – one chain of flexible length and maybe 4-5 different pendants I can interchange. Easy, doesn’t take up any room!
This wooden display thingy is a drawer divider I bought at a flea market when I was little. I recently thought I could be a good place to hang my necklaces and keep them untangled, so I screwed in thin dowels to act as hooks.
Finally, how awesome do necklaces look displayed against this blue glass? I can’t claim this as my own genius, I just saw something like this at Bluboho Jewlery the other day and thought it was a great idea.