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Reinventing Old-Fashioned Jewelry

by on August 1st, 2009

Betteridge Summer Necklaces: $19,000 in tumbled translucent rose quartz beads with South Sea and Kieshi pearls; $6,500 in various shades of colored tumbled tourmaline beads with baroque South Sea pearls and faceted rock crystal accents

People who know how much I love pearls will ask me ‘What do I do with the pearls I don’t wear anymore?” It’s easy, I tell them – recreate them!

I like to work with an outdated two-strand pearl necklace and twist it with lots of strands of Chinese pearls to make a chunky torsade. If you take all the extra pearls you have and string them at random in an endless rope, you can create a sophisticated necklace to layer with chains. By adding some semi-precious stone beads in colors you love, or even exotic woods, it creates a more Bohemian look. Rock crystal beads can create a necklace to be envied and by adding shells, corals or turquoise you can have a Gauginesque image of a tropical paradise.

Style icons, such as Babe Paley and Millicent Rogers, were masters when it came to creating and recreating their jewelry. They would refashion languishing pearls and colored stones or wear less obvious jewelry combinations together, such as three huge cuff bracelets on one arm or a collection of pins on one shoulder (or on the back!).

Style is about confidence: by creating exactly the look you want, what you wear becomes an extension of your personality. With a basic idea of the sort of look you want to create and a touch of Betteridge imagination, the possibilities are endless.

Filed under Estate Jewelry, Jewelry

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