by Rena Klingenberg.
Unique necklaces can result from using jewelry components in a new way – or from using elements that aren’t really intended for jewelry. You can also create a one-of-a-kind piece by doing something new with a design detail.
Here are some creative ideas to experiment with:
Add Some Wirework
You can liven up a bead creation with some artistic wirework. Here, coils of wire become the vine for leafy glass beads:
This piece would still be attractive without the wire – but adding wire to the mix turns it into a work of art.
Design the Back
Consider making the back of the necklace worth looking at too. Many of us put a small bead dangle on the clasp to dress it up a bit, but taking that to another level can be strikingly artistic:
Of course, a dramatically designed necklace back works best when the person wearing the piece has hair that’s either short or worn in an up-do, so that this extra bit of artistry can be seen.
Replace a Chain or Cord
with Something Really Different
How about a necklace made from a feather boa (purchased from a fabric store) with a clasp and pendant?
Sometimes unique necklaces replace an ordinary element with an item no one else would think of using for that purpose.
Exaggerate One Feature
This gorgeous African necklace takes one feature and makes it extreme. The ultra-long waterfall below the main collar makes this design dramatic and eye-catching:
One thing to be careful of, though, is designing an exaggerated feature that makes the piece uncomfortable or impractical to wear.
Consider “Non-Jewelry” Components
for Your Design
In the braid and trim section of a fabric store, you can find a huge array of doodads that could be the basis of unique necklaces. Here, rhinestones have been added to a silvery garment embellishment to create an elegant choker and necklace:
If you shop the fabric store’s sales (or print out the current coupons from their website before you shop), you can make incredible designs like this very cheaply!
Make Simple Designs
with Unique Components
It’s very worthwhile to source unusual jewelry components that other artists won’t be using. Here a simple design incorporating a uncommon pendant becomes a one-of-a-kind necklace:
That’s one reason I like to shop from smaller jewelry suppliers instead of the online mega-beadstores – they’re a great source of “off the beaten path” components. The easiest way to create unique pieces is by using unique elements!
Do Something New
with a Classic Design
Everyone’s familiar with traditional military dog tags, like these, worn in pairs on a ball chain:
So why not use the standard dog tag concept as a jumping-off point for your own unique necklaces?
For example, you could use your jeweler’s saw to cut out designs in similarly-shaped metal tags.
Or you could stamp words or numbers on copper dog tags.
Or string a pair of traditional military dog tags onto a lace ribbon.