Wednesday, August 6, 2014
When I started making necklaces for myself from recycled vintage beads and chain, their length was determined by their ability to be slipped on and off easily during my teaching day. As a dance teacher, my students were not allowed to wear jewelry in the studio so neither did I. But during the rest of the school day, when I went to meetings or did administrative tasks, I wanted to look more professional. I came up with a design that worked for me. I assembled sections of beads and chain that totaled 30-36" in length. I even made some longer necklaces that could be doubled around my neck. I made them to be light and comfortable and I made them without clasps so that they looked good no matter how they slipped around my neck, no matter which section "showed."
The materials for most of my necklaces come from recycled vintage pieces and I have learned a lot about vintage jewelry. Did you know that short vintage necklaces were "chokers?" Longer pearl necklaces were described as opera length. Necklaces were designed to be worn with certain necklines - like the sweetheart neckline or the scooped neckline. I don't think that women in the 1940's and 50's expected their necklaces to be any more comfortable than their underwear (think girdles and bullet bras). In the 60's, love beads appeared. They were longer, colorful and worn in bunches. In the 70's and 80's big, bold necklaces made "statements" about the women that wore them.
I still like comfortable. And comfortable comes in all different lengths!