Convert brooch to necklace, great for saving vintage jewelry

Recently a friend brought me a small collection of vintage brooches that she had gathered over the years. Most had been passed down through the family and held sentimental value. But she found that she wasn’t getting much opportunity to wear a brooch and therefore wanted to have them converted to necklaces. I was glad to help convert brooch to necklace and save her vintage jewelry.

Upon inspection I saw that a couple of the brooches had a pendant bail integrated into the back of the piece, just above the pin. If you have a vintage pin, take a look at the back. Much jewelry was created to be convertible and will have another set of findings on the back. One of my own vintage brooches, in fact, can be used as a scarf slide.

This left three brooches which needed chains attached. Since these brooches are sentimental, I didn’t want to make any irreversible modifications that damaged them. The design of each brooch was very different, so I decided on a different approach for each.

Convert Brooch to Necklace 1

Vintage brooch that has been converted to a necklace with jump rings and chain.
The jump rings disappear nicely between the large stones of this brooch when I was able to convert brooch to necklace.

The large stones of this brooch give it a modern look so I chose a fairly large gauge ring chain for it. At first I tried using a brooch converter for this pin. Brooch converters are a small tube and bail designed to slide over the pin on the back of a brooch. But when worn the brooch would hang crooked and often flip upside down. Yuck. So plan B was to use jump rings nestled between the stones and attach the loops of the chain to those. I chose findings to match the tone of the metal brooch setting so the jump rings disappear visually when the necklace is worn.

Vintage brooch converted to a necklace, showing full view.
I picked a larger, more modern chain style for this brooch.

Brooch 2

Vintage brooch converted to a necklace with jump rings.
This brooch seemed to need a finer gauge chain.

The second brooch featured smaller stones and therefore needed a small gauge chain. I didn’t want to go with too fine of a chain, though, and this piece is quite heavy and needed some strength. I used jump rings which featured a twisted design to attach the chain to this pin. I had to play around a bit to decide the best orientation for this one. The placement of the pin on the back of this brooch suggested it is meant to be worn at a 45 degree angle. I thought a vertical arrangement looked best as a necklace pendant.

Decorative jump rings can be seen installed on this brooch, to convert it to a necklace.
Detail view showing how the decorative jump rings were added to the vintage brooch.

Brooch 3

Using a pinch bail to convert a vintage brooch to a pendant.
This brooch was converted to a pendant by using a pinch bail.

Now this one was different. The stones of this pin are not held in by prongs. They’re glued in. And the faux prongs stick up quite a lot which doesn’t leave much room for jump rings. I had to choose a different approach. I used a pinch bail that fit over the space between two stones on the side of the brooch. It actually works with the design because the smooth bail echoes the smooth lines of the three leaves.

Vintage costume jewelry brooch converted to pendant using a pinch bail.
The wearer can adjust the length of this chain from 18-20″ inches.

Closure

For flexibility in wearing options, I chose to create an adjustable length closure for these chains. To do this I added a 2″ section of larger gauge chain at the end so that the lobster claw clasp can attach at any point, giving a total length of 18″ to 20″. And just for a bit of pretty, I added a crystal drop bead at the end of the extension chain.

Extension chain on necklace, allowing it to be worn at different lengths.
To increase flexibility in wearing, I attached an adjustment chain to the clasp of these necklaces. Note the crystal drop bead.

There are many ways that I could have done this brooch conversion. But because I didn’t want to modify the brooches themselves by attaching anything permanently, I think the solutions that I picked work very well. I’m happy, my friend is happy, and I certainly learned a lot doing it.

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