Classic Blue Cameo & Lace Necklaces

by Tamara Summers.
(Sarnia, Ontario, Canada)

The inspiration for these necklaces is a ladies’ clothing store near where I live. It specializes in retro-inspired clothing from the 30s to the 60s.

Classic Blue Square Cameo and Lace Necklace

Classic Blue Square Cameo and Lace Necklace

I’m planning on showing her some of my jewellery. I was thinking that cameo pieces would be one nice addition to the accessories she carries.

The same day that I had that thought, I was in a second-hand store, and found these ceramic royal blue cameos. The colour immediately caught my eye! I believe they were probably made by someone, because they had pin backs messily glued on.

TSummers: Classic Blue Cameo & Lace Necklaces 2

I decided I could probably do something to showcase these lovely cameos better. Cameos have a vintage feel to them naturally, but I also wanted them to look fresh and colourful, in keeping with my style.

Classic Blue Oval Cameo and Lace Necklace

Classic Blue Oval Cameo and Lace Necklace

I ended up mounting them on ovals of lace that I cut from a larger piece. The larger oval pendant also features shaded blue glass petals that I had on-hand from taking apart an oriental-looking glass flower arrangement. I had bought it at a thrift shop for that very purpose.

For the necklace with the square cameo, I included sapphire-coloured crystal beads and vintage light blue glass beads. Both necklaces include tiny glass pearls and seed beads.

TSummers: Classic Blue Cameo & Lace Necklaces 4

I have developed a real love for beaded memory wire (plus I have a ton of it from a sale purchase!). I find that the structure of it compliments my pendants well, and simple seed beading can be an elegant accompaniment to them (a little monotonous at times, but oh well!).

I was working on these at the time the latest Pantone colours came out. When I saw the Classic Blue I thought of my cameos. So it’s nice that they’re in a popular colour for right now.

Tamara Summers
Pink Pearls and Potpourri

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  • Tamara, I really like how you gave these classic cameos a fresh retro / mixed media setting! And what a great example of designing jewelry that fits with a shop’s existing products and vibe.

    I especially love how you added the pearls to the cameo ladies as a brooch or hair adornment – it’s like they’re wearing 3-dimensional jewelry of their own, while they’re also adorning the larger necklace. 🙂

  • Tamara says:

    Thank you, Rena! The fresh/retro vibe was what I was going for. Yes, I asked each lady where she would like to wear her pearl :). That’s funny – when someone wears it, she’ll be a lady wearing jewellery that’s a lady wearing jewellery! 😀

  • Leslie says:

    How do the memory wire necklaces work? I tried memory wire neck wire and it felt scratchy and didn’t seem to fit well. Do they fit most neck sizes (large/small)? These are gorgeous!!! I love the way you took lace and decorated it to match. Great work.

  • Tamara says:

    Hi Leslie! Thank you! With regards to the memory wire, I haven’t had any problems. The ends are looped so they don’t scratch. And I measure an 18″ length, which ends up being about 1 1/2 circles. That way there’s lots of length for a larger neck, and if it’s a smaller neck, there’s just more overlap. I wear them myself, and find them comfortable. My necklaces tend to be lightweight, so you hardly know they’re there. But recently I did a weightier one with a substantial amethyst pendant and amethyst chunks, and it’s still comfortable. Because the memory wire has structure, it balances and supports the weight of the necklace so that it’s not pulling down on the back of the neck as much as a regularly strung necklace would. I realize they’re not everybody’s choice, and do not work for some people. But the lack of a clasp to deal with is a big bonus as well. I also have been doing memory wire bracelets, and love them as well.

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