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late Victorian bracelet
modern bracelet modified

finished bracelet

1880's coral and pearl bracelet

When the new chemical blue colour became fashionable for clothes in the 1860's, accessories were designed to complement the outfit. I took a modern bracelet from a well-known chain that sells cheap but pretty decorative items for young girls. Pearls and blue glass beads were added to recreate a late Victorian style.

add pearls and beads

The modern bracelet is designed around flexible chains.

A row of pearls, (flat-backed pearls on a string, dyed cream commercially), was pushed into the gap between the two rows of diamonds.
The pearl string was sewn down between each bead with a strong needle and cream polyester thread.
Parts of an old broken metal bracelet were removed by levering jump rings apart, using jewellers round-nosed pliers.

Three motifs were sewn into place on the bracelet through the holes using grey polyester thread .

To hide the sewing thread and take the eye towards the central jewel tiny blue glass beads were sewn on, 4 per motif.

Each bead is picked up on a thin needle

and sewn over the hole using gold-coloured thread.

A little PVA glue can be put behind each bead first.


Pearls were sewn on through holes in the motif design, using a strong needle and cream polyester thread.

Check that the needle will go through the hole in the beads first.


Original design and modified bracelet compared

stiffen the bracelet

The Victorian bracelet is a rigid cuff style. So gold-coloured wire was sewn behind this flexible bracelet to make it similarly rigid.

The wire was cut with wire cutters. The pliers are to bend the wire. The tin was to check the size and the curve but it turned out to be too large.

I smoothed and bent the wire into an oval shape with my fingers, using pliers to make sharp angles at the corners for one bracelet end.

The shaped wire was sewn onto the back of the bracelet with strong lurex thread.

The stitch is made by going down and up: two movements for each stitch rather than the usual scoop movement. Each stitch goes around the underneath chain before coming back up.

decorate bracelet ends

To hide the sewing that holds the gold wire in place a short string of diamonds was glued on top.

Athick layer of PVA glue was left to go tacky -

- then diamonds were pushed down into it.

When dry PVA glue is colourless.

Blue beads were glued (using the same method), then sewn into the spaces between the diamonds, to echo the bracelet design.

Fresh glue was then pushed up the sides of the beads and diamonds to seal them in position.

Ends completed.
decorate new clasp
A more decorative and older looking box clasp, of aprox the same width, replaced the modern lobster claw clasp on the shop-bought bracelet.

replacement box clasp

modern lobster claw clasp removed

To make the box clasp match the rest of the bracelet, but retain the delicate filigree look, a few pearls and blue beads were added.

The box clasp could not be taken apart so each bead was only glued into place.

PVA glue was put around each hole with a pin point and left some seconds to go tacky.

Each bead was put on the end of a clean pin and placed in postion with the threading hole to the side. When dry the glue should form a continuous seal around each bead.

Blue beads were added using the same technique.

Once dry PVA glue is transparent.

add connectors

Two almost-matching 3-hole connectors, in a similar style to the clasp, were used to join the clasp to the bracelet.

After the old jump rings were removed, using pliers, the connectors were sprayed gold to make them look more like a pair.

The old rings were removed from the clasp and kept to be re-used on another project.

Newer, but still pre-used, jump rings were used to join all components together.

As these are of stronger metal than those currently available in the shops two pairs of pliers were needed to bend them back into circles, one pair to hold and the other to bend.

cover back

The inside looks a mess with all the sewing stiches in different colours.

This does not matter as it will all be covered up.

Metallic blue faux leather was used to hide the stitches on the back.

A paper template was cut out then outlined in pencil on the back of the material. The faux leather was cut out using a metal straight edge and scalpel, [NB only for people used to handling sharp blades]. The cork is put straight back onto the end of the scapel blade after use.
Do Not Look Up whilst slowly cutting up against the metal straight edge.

The metallic side was covered with PVA glue and left for a few moments to dry a little before being placed between the metal wires.

Gently ease the faux leather into place.

The metallic blue on the outside will catch the light in movement and ensure that the dull suede side of the inside layer does not spoil the overall look in wear.

I would have preferred to use thin gold leather to complete the back and ensure the bracelet is comfortable in wear, but only had silver.
The same paper template was used to cut the silver leather after marking out in pencil on the back.

If the metal straight-edge and scalpel is used to cut out the leather Please Be Very Careful.

Paint glue onto the suede side of the silver leather; leave for a few seconds before easing into position.


The end pieces were also covered on the inside to hide the sewing that holds the diamonds and blue beads in place, and to stop any possibility of edges scratching or catching.

Tiny snippets of silver leather were cut, glued and then pushed into place using the blunt end of a pin.

join clasp to bracelet

Clasp joined to the bracelet with jump rings.

I may add a safety chain at a future date, as in the original.

The bracelet can be gently eased into a profile to suit the upper forearm, if required.

another original example
1860's gold and lapis lazuli bracelet


Create the Mood 's costume craft workshops and practical demonstrations with have-a-go for adults and older children, can be organised in the UK. You provide the people and the topic and Create the Mood organises everything else. Contact us to discuss your ideas.


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last updated 15 November, 2011

Create the Mood