Saturday, January 17, 2015

A new style of collet necklace

(All of the collet necklaces pictured in this post are available in my Etsy Shop at Dames a la Mode)

Ever since I started making necklaces, I've struggled with the fact that with the basic prong settings, the necklaces have a tendency to flip around. This is because the weight of the rhinestones are all towards the front of the settings, and those little guys are surprisingly heavy.  These prong settings are made of thin, lightweight pressed brass which makes them affordable, but also means they don't have the weight to counteract the pull of the rhinestones.  When worn, these types of necklaces have a tendency to flip around, and show the backs of the necklaces.  When I talk about basic prong settings, I'm talking about these:

To counteract the flipping, I wire my necklaces together, but I've never been 100% thrilled with this fix, it was just the best thing that I could come up with.  I don't even offer these settings on my larger necklaces anymore, and only use the heavier cast brass settings, like these: 

Or the lace or crown settings, which cradle the rhinestones more closely and don't have the same tendency to flip around: 

But these fixes don't work for my smaller rhinestones, because I can't get the settings in the smaller sizes.  Well, happily I've found another option!  My new necklaces are made in settings where each individual cup is held together on a chain, with the connectors being at the TOP of the setting, which means they don't flip around!  Here are a few pictures of the new necklaces: 

I think they look really great!  Let's talk about some of the pros and cons, shall we?


-No flipping!  I've already talked about this, but obviously the thing I am most excited about is that I can use both smaller and larger stones without having to worry about the settings flipping around and showing the backs of the stones!

-No wiring!  Without the worry about the stones flipping, there is also no need for me to wire them together, which makes for a cleaner necklace. 

-Strong and sturdy!  These are beautifully made settings which come from Israel, like my custom-made Josephine settings.  They are heavy cast brass and have been beautifully plated in gold or silver.  They feel so expensive, but they are:

-Affordable!  My Josephine settings are so expensive, and you need so many for one of the smaller-stoned necklaces, that it just isn't an affordable option. However, these settings are only a little more expensive than the basic prong settings, which means I can offer them at a more reasonable price. 

-Central drop links!  I can have these necklaces made with rings off the central setting, just like they did on original collet necklaces, which has really opened up opportunities for a new style of necklace- central drop elements!  I'm really excited about this, and I think they look great: 


There is only one I can think of, and it's that these just aren't historically accurate.  Original necklaces weren't connected using these little bars, so this isn't the best option if you are looking for perfect historical accuracy.  Then again, using jump rings to connect the settings also isn't historically accurate, so there really isn't a perfect option for these stones yet (but if I can find a way, I will make it happen!).  You'll need to choose for yourself when it comes to the accuracy level you are going for.  Heck, maybe you just want a pretty necklace!

I'm not going to be doing away with necklaces set in the basic prong settings.  For one thing, I can offer open-backed settings which are best for some of my stones, and for another, I like having the option for one or the other.  I just really pleased to be expanding my selection of collet necklaces!