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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

French Revolution Zombaes - BLING Part I

As promised, a recap of all the many, many rhinestones involved in this project. And there are many. So I'll break it up into two chunks: first the more straightforward jewelry, and later the ribbons/bows/extras.

I'd been searching for a bunch of gaudy cocktail rings that both looked correct and were affordable, but style and price and quantity never worked out, so I decided to just make them. It ended up being fantastically cheap that way, too. The first set I made with ring blanks I already had, plus 3mm and 4mm rhinestones (fortuitously left over from King George's crown).

The second and third sets were "designed" (and I use that term that loosely) based on Georgian jewelry and the rhinestone sizes I had. The blanks were chosen based on size accommodation and interesting detail: the prongs on the side are reminiscent of a crown and a little more ornate, and I knew I'd be able to bend them out of the way if I needed more space for the rhinestones.
18x25mm. Seller photo. Found here.
18mm. Seller photo. Found here.
One is 18mm with a single matching stone, just to look oversized and ridiculous; and the other is 18x25mm using a single 13x18mm stone surrounded by some 4mm stones, which is equally oversized and ridiculous but also imitates a stone layout fairly common on 18th century rings.

Earrings and Necklace/Brooch/Whatevers
Aside from the mini portraits I already had, earrings were the first jewelry piece I was completely decided on using. I came close to buying some really good options, but then found a necklace/earring set that looked really promising. Even though I'd scrapped the idea of a necklace in the traditional sense (too much interference with neck wound makeup), I figured I could pin the necklace to the dress like a weird brooch thing.
Fig. 1. Weird brooch thing. Found here.
They were a little funky in person and needed some work, so I initially just added more rhinestones and repainted everything darker - with DecoArt Dazzling Metallics in Shimmering Silver as a primer, topped with Jacquard Lumiere in Pewter sort of lightly drybrushed on.  On the necklace, I also removed the chains and the round rhinestone links on the sides.
Don't know why I didn't photograph the earrings, too. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
That itself was a big improvement. But then I decided they weren't large/obnoxious enough. So I ended up ordering two more necklace/earring sets to harvest for parts, which were modified with rhinestones and paint the same way.

For the earrings, I took the posts off both pairs and the teardrop rhinestones off one pair (and set the extra teardrops aside for the necklace mod later). The piece without teardrops was turned upside-down and connected to the piece with the teardrop, and then the posts were reattached at the new top.
Earrings on the left are brand new before any mods at all, and right is the result of the second round of mods.
The necklaces... I don't even know what to call these, really. They sit where a brooch would, but they're shaped more like a necklace, and they're actually built from both. Who knows? But I love them.

Each one ended up being Frankensteined from parts of two original necklaces, the extra teardrops from the earrings, and a separate brooch. I had already ordered some brooches in a similar design to go in the hair with a bow and some ostrich feathers.
Seller photo. Found here.
When they arrived, I realized they were a little large and heavy for the hair, and I liked them better on the dress. So I decided to remove the centers of the necklaces, replace them with the brooches, and then use the necklace centers for the hair instead (more on that later).

The brooches got the same paint and rhinestone treatment.
Left is repaint only, right is repainted and added rhinestones.
On the necklaces I removed the round side rhinestones and chains again like before, and disconnected the centers...
...and removed the teardrop rhinestones from them, keeping the teardrops and setting the rest aside (for hair doodads later). I used the extra connector rings to attach the remaining necklace pieces to each other and the brooch. The teardrop rhinestones from the center necklace pieces and leftover from the earrings were clipped onto the necklace at strategic points to match the teardrop on the brooch.
There were a few minor tweaks after this, and ribbons are still up for debate, but this is pretty much before and after.
TLDR: each pair of earrings is built from two pairs, and each necklace is built from two necklaces and earring remnants and a brooch (so 4 necklace/earring sets + 2 brooches = 2 finished sets), and everything was repainted and further bedazzled.

It still wasn't quite fussy enough, so I've been playing around with some little bows of black organza ribbon. I'm still not sure about them, but if I use them, I'll add three to each side, essentially between what was originally each separate chunk.
And that's pretty much it!

Stay tuned for Part II!

UPDATE: On the night of the event, with everything on we decided the necklaces as brooch collar things didn't quite work how we wanted. Weirdly, it made them less ostentatious somehow. So with some extra black organza ribbon, I turned them back into necklaces. Wacky hijinks!