Steampunk comes to Jaclyn1423

21 Aug

The concept of steampunk jewelry stems from steampunk fiction, an 1980s kind of sci fi/fantasy that deals with a technically advanced past. The setting tends to be when steam power was still used. I can’t help but think of the Will Smith/Kevin Kline bomb “Wild Wild West.”

The fiction movement translates into jewelry in the form of watch pieces and other industrial-type findings. Think gears, think hands, think metal and moving parts.

I find steampunk jewelry awesome. I love taking old jewelry and reusing brooches or vintage beads to make something new and beautiful and interesting, and steampunk is full of these alternative, unexpected kind of usages.

On a recent atique’ing trip, I found three incredible pieces of old watches: a bent metal watchface, a pristice metal watch face (with hands that still swing around) and a gear still snug in its watch frame.

I turned these pieces into four necklaces and debuted them at Buskerfest a few weeks ago. People loved them. One even sold before I could get any posted at Jaclyn1423.

I used the large, bent watch face as the base of a pendant. First, I straightened out a portion of the bent face so I could attach a bail, and then I thought about what I could attach to the large face, just begging for an embellishment. I enjoy pieces that seem mismatched, that use unexpected colors and textures and combinations. So on this faded watchface, I attached two new dusty robin’s egg blue rose cabochons. I hung the full thing from a long vintage pendant. The outcome?

The second watch face, the one in pristine shape with free-moving hands, did not beg for an embellishment. I simply attached a bail and hung the pendant from a vintage brass chain, one that looks much older than the face itself. The outcome?

I turned the final piece into two different necklaces. Though the gear was still inside the gearcase, it was pretty loose, and it slid right out, leaving an empty metal type of frame and the gear itself. The latter looked awesome. You could see all the moving pieces both in the front and back, and you could wind it. It was nearly a toy as much as it was a pendant. I attached a bail and hung this, too, from a vintage chain. This is the piece that sold at Buskerfest, but here’s what it looked like.

The gear casing, while interesting, wasn’t nearly as cool as the gear itself. The flat, plain plane begged for embellishment much the way the large bent watch face did. I found some small white cabochons with sweet details of red, yellow and blue flowers. The edges of the case framed the cab perfectly, and tiny stud posts made for adorable and dainty matching earrings. Check it out here.

That’s all the steampunk I have at Jaclyn1423 so far. I definitely want more. I love the combination of pretty and industrial, and I love having something interesting to play with. Which piece is your favorite? How else do you think I could have incorporated the watch pieces into jewelry?

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