Friday, January 2, 2015

The Roman Beaded Chain Necklace--Complete!

Happy New Year, everyone!  This post, my first post of 2015, will to document my completion of the last challenge I completed for the Historical Sew Fortnightly of 2014. 

The final challenge of the Historical Sew Fortnightly for 2014 was "All that Glitters".  The objective was to make a historical costume item that was shiny or glittery.  I had decided long ago to make an ancient Roman style rose gold pearl beaded chain necklace, to match the Roman earrings I had made for the "Heads and Toes" challenge.

Despite the fact that the jump rings I bought for the necklace are of a finer gauge than the wire I used for the rest of the necklace and my difficulties in making "tight little loops" of wire as Stephens's video directs, I think the necklace turned out rather well.   To my surprise, I needed fewer beads than I feared that I would need to make the necklace as long as I wanted it to be; the combination of jump ring connectors and wire links for each bead extends the length easily without requiring many beads. Perhaps that is why the Romans used this technique--it allowed the jeweler to use fewer precious stone beads (such as emeralds) to make a full necklace, and if the necklace broke, you were unlikely to lose more than one bead, if any.  

I'll post photographs sometime this weekend, but for now I want to record the basic statistics.

The Challenge:  #24--All That Glitters

Fabric:  None involved, since this item was made from Swarowski glass pearls, rose gold plated silver beads, rose gold filled  (I can't recall now if the wire is gold filled or plated); brass wire, and rose gold jump rings.    

Pattern:   I followed Janet Stephens' tutorial video on how to make a Roman beaded chain necklace. 

Year:   Roughly first century C.E. 

Notions:  Eight rose-gold plated silver beads, 8mm; eight rose-gold Swarowski pearls, 12 mm; 18 gauge rose gold filled brass wire in a surprisingly tiny quantity; about 30 rose gold wire jump rings in 20 gauge wire; and a pre-made rose gold wire clasp (gauge unknown, but thicker than 18 gauge).

How historically accurate is it?   The basic design is period.  The Romans used real pearls and metal beads in their jewelry, and so far as I know glass pearls also are period.  The main differences are that I used pre-made jump rings and a pre-made clasp.  So I'd say 90%.

Hours to completeAbout an hour and a half, not counting the time it took me to select all the materials and watch Janet Stephens's video a few times.

First worn:  Only to confirm that the necklace was the right length.  I will post photographs of the necklace in wear soon.

Total cost:  About $40.00 (including the round-nosed pliers I bought for the project; not including the beads I originally bought and ultimately rejected).  Now that I know how economical this type of design is and have some wire and jump rings left, I could make another such necklace much more cheaply.

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