October 29, 2013

I can't stop thinking about Collet necklaces!

EDIT:  If you'd like to learn more, I've started a new blog all about Collet Necklaces!

I spent most of the weekend taking pictures and listing my reproduction paste jewelry in my Etsy shop (which I mentioned in my original post on Georgian and Regency collet necklaces and paste jewelry).  I'm pretty astonished at how quickly it has sold, but I suppose that is a good sign that the need is out there for this style.  Goodness knows it is hard to find a collet necklace for under $100 (by the way, my necklaces range from $40-$60). 

One thing I wasn't satisfied with in my original designs, and with the other reproduction necklaces I have seen, is that the stones are linked by jump rings, like so: 
Emerald Paste Collet Necklace by Dames a la Mode

This causes a few problems.  First of all, the stones shift very easily in this set up, and they flip over frequently so you see the brass setting as often as the stone itself!  I wore a few of my necklaces to work to see how they did and I found myself constantly flipping over the stones to make sure they were face out.  Frustrating!  In addition, it spaces the stones farther apart, so they don't have quite the look of the originals. Since I am going for accuracy, I'm trying to make them as close as I can.  Upon examination of the originals, you can see that they are in settings where one loop is horizontal and the other is vertical.  This allows them to fit together without the addition of the jump rings.   Take a look at a couple of up-close images from (spectacular!) extant pieces:

1820 Citrine Bracelet, Aesthetic Engineering Fine Jewels
1800 Vari-colored Bracelet, SJ Phillips, LTD

I really wanted to find a way to replicate this, but having custom made settings would have made them quite expensive, and it is really important that these stay in a more affordable range.  I tested a few different types of settings (and metal) and was able to find some that I could manipulate to be more like the originals.  Not only do these look much more accurate, they also wear better as they don’t have the issue with the stones flipping over nearly as much (though admittedly, there is still some flipping, which I imagine happened with our fair Regency foremothers as well!)

Here's a shot of my finished product:
Paste Aquamarine Collet Necklace by Dames a la Mode

Want to see more?  Head on over to my Etsy shop and see the Collet Necklaces and Paste Jewelry I have available!

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