Anthropologie Inspired Vintage Brooch Necklace

Kramer of New York Vintage Brooch Necklace DIY Anthropologie Inspired Vintage Brooch Necklace

Kramer of New York Vintage Brooch

I wish I could say where this vintage brooch came from, but I can’t. As I get older it’s harder to remember what jewelry was my Grandmother’s, what was something I picked up at an antique store or if it was a piece from my husband’s family. Even though I don’t wear brooches or pins, I thought it was beautiful and have held on to it for many years.

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Browsing through the latest jewelry collection from Anthropologie, I came across this Tiered Tassel Pendant Necklace pictured above by designer Jill Schwartz.  (Jill’s work has been a favorite of mine since designing a jewelry line called “Vintage Groove” for Making Memories.) This piece inspired me to transition my vintage brooch that sat in a drawer unused, into a beautiful necklace that I now treasure.

CLEANING

Cleaning a Vintage Brooch

Start by cleaning your brooch carefully. During my research, I was surprised to find that you should NOT immerse costume jewelry in water. The moisture will damage the foil backing forever. Use Q-tips or a dry, soft make up brush to remove dust and grime build up. You can use Windex on stubborn grime, but do not get the jewelry piece wet.  Spray the Windex on a Q-Tip first and then dab it onto a paper towel to insure that the Q-Tip is not too damp.

This article by Azillion Sparkles Vintage Costume Jewelry is excellent regarding additional pointers on the do’s and don’ts of cleaning vintage jewelry.

How to clean a vintage brooch

A LITTLE HISTORY

Kramer of New York stamp

While cleaning the back I was surprised to see a tiny section with stamped lettering. Using a magnifying lens I was able to read the words “Kramer of New York”.  I learned this company produced high quality costume jewelry from 1943 to the 1970’s and even commissioned pieces from Christian Dior.  The brooch is missing a crystal so at best it’s worth about $25, but it was still interesting to learn the history.

CREATING A VINTAGE BROOCH NECKLACE

Vintage Brooch Necklace Materials

If you are interested in creating a vintage brooch necklace, your brooch will probably be different than this one. Hopefully though, you can use this list of materials to help plan your design and estimate the quantities of materials you will need. This project is probably best suited for you if you have already have some jewelry making experience.

WORKING WITH THE CHAINS

Vintage Brooch Necklace step 1

First, cut the chains to the lengths to the lengths you will need.  Make sure to use Memory Wire Cutters or Heavy Duty Pliers to cut the chains or you will damage your tools.

  • Small chains – 2 pieces 9″ long, 2 pieces 1- 3/4″ long (these are under rhinestone chain) 2 pieces 1″ long under the brooch, and the remainder of the chain is for the tassel
  • Medium chain – 2 pieces 2-1/4″ long, 1 piece 2″ long for the extender at the clasp
  • Rhinestone chain – 1 piece 3″ long

Depending on the design of your brooch, you may need to use one or two of these next options to connect your chains to your brooch.

ATTACHING THE RHINESTONE CHAIN

Vintage Brooch Necklace step 3

A rhinestone chain end tab allows you to connect the rhinestone chain to a jump ring. Use needle nose pliers to pinch the end tab prongs gently around the rhinestone.

ATTACHING CHAIN WITH A JUMP RING

Vintage Brooch Necklace step 2

This is the simplest method to use when there is enough space to fit the jump ring inside the brooch.

Open a jump ring, slide it onto the brooch, slide on the chain and close the jump ring.

ATTACHING CHAIN WITH A WRAPPED LOOP

Vintage Brooch Necklace step 4

If the space is too small for a jumpring, you can make a wire connection to the chain using a wire wrapping technique.

Use a long headpin, or cut a piece of wire about 3-4″.  Loop the wire through the brooch and pinch together so about 1-1/2″ of one end of the wire crosses over itself.

Vintage Brooch Necklace step 5

Hold this loop firmly with the needle nose pliers in one hand.  With the round nose pliers in the other hand, wrap the short end of the wire around the longer end 2 or 3 times. Vintage Brooch Necklace step 6

Using the round nose pliers, form another loop with the rest of the wire near the wraps just made.

Vintage Brooch Necklace step 7

Hold the loop just made firmly with the needle nose pliers in one hand.  With the round nose pliers in the other hand, wrap the rest of the wire around the other center wraps 2 or 3 times. Using side cutters, trim off the unused portion of the wire close to the wraps.  If the end is sticking out, use your needle nose pliers to bend it down tight against the wraps.

ASSEMBLING THE VINTAGE BROOCH NECKLACE

Vintage Brooch Necklace step 8

Connect all the chains to the larger decorative jump ring and close the ring.

MAKING A CHAIN TASSEL

Vintage Brooch Necklace step 9

Cut 6-8 pieces of chain about 2″ to 2 – 1/2″ long. Using a headpin or piece of wire, slide the ends of the chain onto the middle of the wire, and then pinch the wires together so the ends cross. Wrap one end of the wire close to the ends of the chains to hold them together.

Vintage Brooch Necklace step 10

Slide on a bead cap to cover the ends of the chain. Using round nose pliers, make a loop in the wire near the bead cap.  Wrap the shorter end around the wire 2-3 times.

ADDING A BEAD AND TASSEL

Vintage Brooch Necklace step 11

Cut a piece of wire about 4-6″ long. Slide both bottom chains onto the wire to connect them together.  About 2 inches from one end of the wire, pinch the wire together so the ends cross. Wrap the shorter end of the wire around the longer end 2 to 3 times.  Trim off the unused portion of the short end of wire.

Vintage Brooch Necklace step 12

Slide on a bead cap and then slide on the feature bead.

Vintage Brooch Necklace step 13

Slide on another bead cap then slide on the chain tassel.

Vintage Brooch Necklace step 14

Make a loop near the feature bead.  Make sure the chain tassel is sitting inside the loop, then wrap the end of the wire 2-3 times above the loop.

Vintage Brooch Necklace diy Kramer of New York Vintage Brooch Necklace

Comments

  1. Karen vs. Anthropologie… Karen takes it (anyone surprised lol)! Your necklace is just plain gorgeous. I love the big chunky feature bead.. it adds a lot of *pop*. And your “sitting-at-the-craft-table-next-to-me” instructions are, as always, very appreciated.

  2. Wow Karen…..you truly are gifted!!! I always admire people that have that vision….that can see the end result. I would never have thought of that just by looking at the brooch!!

  3. I am fairly sure that was never in your grandmother or great-grandmother’s jewelry collection–your husband’s family is a better guess.

  4. Omg! This is gorgeous <3 I have seven old broches totally going to try this. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you! After making this one I’ve been keeping my eyes open for other brooches I can modify. I would love to see them when you are done! Feel free to post them on my Facebook page. And good luck!

  5. Robin Breault says:

    Love this piece! I remember you wearing it on our Nashville trip! So cool. Robin

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