Saturday, January 3, 2015

My Roman Necklace

The complete parure.
The completed necklace.
Before life creeps up and mugs me again, I figured I'd make and share some photographs of my Roman necklace. The photograph showing the necklace in wear was taken by my wonderful husband.  

Because it's so shiny, it's hard to photograph the necklace in such a way as to give a good idea of its true color--the pearls are more pink than golden in color, contrary to what you see in the picture on the top right.  The photograph on the left of the post shows the necklace being worn with the earrings I'd previously made, using the same type of glass pearls.

Since I finished the necklace, I've been looking more closely at actual period necklaces of this type, and they do a better job of closing each loop; on some, the loops look as though the end of the wire is wrapped around the shaft, or at least is tucked inside the bead hole.  On the other hand, a piece of my necklace fell off while I was laying it out for the photograph, and I was able to correct the problem simply by squeezing the loop a bit tighter after reattaching the errant piece.
For comparison -- Necklace, Roman or Byzantine
c. 400 CE.  Photo:  Kunstpedia Foundation (

Unfortunately, when I was donning them for the photographs, the earwire on one of the earrings broke!  I actually put both earrings on for the photo session (though you can't see the broken one in the final photograph) but it would not stay put in normal wear; I'm going to have to re-make one of the earrings. Fortunately, the re-make will only require buying more earwires and finding the rest of my crimp rings, though it's annoying to have to remake the earring at all.

The necklace shown on the site dates to 400 C.E., but I've found necklaces of a similar design from about 100 C.E. onward.  It's an easy to make and wear style, and could even be worn with modern fashions.  If I end up making ancient Roman clothes, I will probably make a few more of these necklaces with beads of different colors.

EDIT:  (1/7/2014)  One commenter asked me how fake pearls were made in ancient Rome.  I didn't have time to do serious research on the subject, but I found several references on the Internet repeating the claim that the ancient Romans made fake pearls by coating glass beads with silver, and then adding a coating of glass on top of the silver. I'm not sure how effective this would have been or what the source of the claim was, though I'll continue trying to find out.  The first place I found it reported on the Internet was here:

EDIT:  (1/10/2014)  I have re-made my broken earring; now I have the full set again.


  1. It's beautiful, and looks lovely with your earrings from Tops & Toes.

    What were Roman glass pearls like?

    1. Thanks, Stella.

      Now you mention it, I don't know the answer to your question. I'm not really sure how glass fake pearls were made in Roman times. Maybe I can find out, and blog about it. :-)