Reader Request: The Brooch Necklace


I got quite a few compliments and questions about this massive necklace when I first posted these photos and I was super flattered because, believe it or else, I MADE this bad boy! And most of the stuff I make either falls apart or looks like a pile of ass. I feel pretty confident that this necklace looks, instead, like a pile of awesome.

However, the making process was my usual string of slapdash, poorly-planned steps. I’ll give you the lowdown since several people asked, and request that you refrain from giggling at my amateurish ways.

1. Collect a bunch of brooches. I wear silver exclusively, adore pearls, and can’t get enough of rhinestones, so I looked for brooches with at least two of those three attributes. My inspiration was a necklace that Banana Republic was hawking back in December, and using that as my blueprint, I knew that I’d need brooches of several different sizes as well as a couple that were either star- or flower-shaped.

2. Get some chain. My local Michael’s obliged me. Don’t go too flimsy or the chain won’t support the weight of the brooches.

3. Arrange the brooches in the order/configuration that looks best. You’ll want to get a good idea of which pieces work best sitting next to each other, so lay everything out on the table before you start assembling. Make a rough order and assembly plan.

4. Clip off the pin backs. This step is actually optional. So long as the pins stay securely shut, they aren’t likely to bother you. And if you do clip them, you may end up with sharp edges – which can be remedied with a few layers of clear nail polish. So clip or don’t … up to you. If you leave the backs on, consider supergluing the clasp shut so the pin itself doesn’t wiggle out and gouge you.

5. Superglue a couple of the brooches together. If each brooch is a separate, movable piece, you’ll have a seriously floppy necklace on your hands. You want movement, but also a bit of stability. I’d say that regardless of the number of brooches in the mix, you’ll want no less than three and no more than six movable parts total. Post-supergluing, that is.

6. Hook the remaining pieces together with jump rings. You’ll need some needlenose pliers for this step. Most brooches have a few holes in ‘em by design, so slipping a jump ring through shouldn’t be too tricky. Buy large rings and deploy two at a time to get everything all chained together.

7. Attach brooch string to the chain using jump rings, tack on a clasp, and wear!

I’d say my necklace set me back a total of about $30 and is among my favorite pieces of jewelry. Not something I can wear every day, but a sparkly, fun piece that makes me giddy with glee. See the gid?

  • kittyscreations

    Thanks for sharing this with us! Your necklace is absolutely gorgeous! I don’t often delve into the realm of jewelry making, but I think a project like this might be right up my alley.

  • Couture Allure Vintage Fashion

    I’m so happy to see a close-up of your necklace. It is gorgeous! There is no shortage of vintage rhinestones here, so I’ll have to make one of my own.

  • K.Line

    That’s very impressive, Sal. And it doesn’t look easy to do, exactly! :-)

  • Kimberly

    Sal, the necklace looks awesome!! You did a great job and I love the DIY post. :-)

  • bronwyn

    Wow!!!That looks awesome, so creative. Well done:)

  • metscan

    Wow, that´s a nice and unique necklace. I never even thought of making one myself. Hmm..

  • Alison

    What a great idea! I love this. Now I’m going to have find a bunch of brooches to do this with. I have a wedding to go to in May, this would be absolutely perfect!

  • lopi

    That necklace is absolutely gorgeous! I know I would never be able to make it myself, so bravo to you crafty Sal!

  • saturdayjane

    That looks lovely! The sparkle and the pearls really set each other off! This sounds like a great project to fill spare time. It would be so much fun to scan through antique stores for brooches!

    I may try one and see if I can set it to a color. :)

  • chic

    wow, stunning piece and it looks great with the simple black and white outfit! I love that you made and that you posted a how-to on it, I’ll be adding this one to my book of tricks now! S.

  • golla

    Oh la la, very nice!

  • Kayleigh

    So glad you posted how you did this, that is one fabulous piece — and the pins you chose really work well together. I’m going to have to try this one for sure :)

  • Tina { Luphia Loves… }

    you made it? wow! that is one stunning necklace, it’s so gorgeous!

  • lisa

    Great DIY post!

  • Kristen

    Wow, how creative! And so pretty! I love it. And $30 is a steal! I bet a person could do it even less expensively than that if they went to a thrift store for the brooches, too.

  • Kristen

    Oh, and: You could even thrift an old necklace and take the chain off, with the clasp, even. All you’d have to go to the craft store for would be the jump links.

    I’m just thinking out loud, really. Because I’d really like to try this!

  • sauvageblue

    I love your necklace you are so creative and talented I have to say, smile…
    You have inspired me to try and make one for myself!

  • sallymandy

    Sal, the fact that you have great ideas and are also really funny to read (“see the gid?”) makes your blog a pleasure! I love the brooch-necklace. Great idea for those of us who love thrifting.

  • Casey

    You made that?! Can I just say I am amazed at your mad skillz?! :) I have a bunch of old pins and brooches that I need to make into necklaces… now I’m inspired!

  • Audi

    A great big pile of awesome, Sal. Thanks for sharing — I know what I’ll be looking for when we hit the flea market next month!

  • Budget Babe

    i LOVE this DIY necklace, if you didn’t have a dayjob, i’d insist you start an etsy store with more of these bad boys.

  • Melissa de la Fuente

    I see the gid! I see the gid! :) You are adorable hun and I adore this necklace! You did a great job and it doesn’t seem amateurish to me AT all!
    xo
    Melis

  • Milly

    Fab Necklace!

  • Regardez Moi

    you MADE it??? you are a genius! and thank you for sharing b/c i was one of the oglers of this necklace, i la la la love it!

    and now, i’m totally going to make one of my own! although i’m certain it won’t be as cool as yours.

    thank you thank you!

  • PiggywantsManolos

    I love, love love your necklace!! I wanted that BR necklace too, but the $98 price tag stopped me dead in my tracks! I am definitely going to bite your great idea…fabulous!

  • hannahdrewdash

    I LOVE your brooch necklace! I am going to try it myself. I have a necklace similar to your chalk turquoise one. I get so many compliments on it. Today, I went to the fine arts museum and the security guard asked me if it was turquoise. He joked that he may have to be my body guard. I found my necklace in the wholesale shops on Houston's Harwin Street for $11.95. I have seen it in T.J. Maxx for $49. Sammoon.com has different colors for about $13.

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  • Whitney

    What kind of super glue did you use? I’m doing the project now and I’m just using a type of glue that bonds metal and dries clear, but takes 24 hours to set.