Using Vintage Chain as a Modern Accessory
The vintage look is very trendy right now, and whether you are a jewelry looking for ways to add vintage to your designs, or just a person who wants to add vintage to their own wardrobe, one easy way to add vintage is by purchasing vintage chains for your necklaces and bracelets. Vintage chains are available in gold, silver, copper, pewter and brass, in several styles and lengths.
Another option is to buy vintage style chain, that isn’t really vintage, it is really retro (looks like vintage but isn’t). And a third option is to antique your chain yourself, using liver of sulphur to oxidize the chain.
My preference is to just buy the antique and vintage chains, because then you are inserting a little bit of history into your designs.
Vintage Gold Link Chain
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Shopping for Vintage and Antique Chains
The best place to look for authentic vintage and antique chains is Ebay. There are many reputable sellers on Ebay that are selling vintage and antique chains both singly and in bulk. For jewelry designers, Ebay is a treasure trove of finds.
Vintage chains can be added to a lot of very interesting jewelry designs including the current steampunk neo-Victorian movement. But I have also seen some wonderful repurposed vintage chain, remade into new designs with a vintage feel and look to them.
Existing antique and vintage jewelry can also be taken apart to redesign into new jewelry.
Vintage 14K Gold Link Chain
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Vintage Silver Link Chain
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How to Search for Vintage and Antique Chains
If you are looking for authentic vintage and antique chains, the best way to search is to look for the metal you want, like brass for instance, and the style, like a box chain. You can also search by decade. For instance, brass box chain 1970.
The are numerous combinations of chain styles, just a few are serpentine, box, link, round, rolo, ball, heavy link. And since chains have been made for hundreds of years, depending on how old of a chain you are looking for, you can search for a long time.
Another way of searching for old chains is to go to house sales, estate sales, and garage sales in your own neighborhood. You may be surprised what you find.
Vintage Brass Link Chain
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Gold and Silver Vintage Chain
Remember when you search for gold or silver vintage and antique chains that both silver and gold come in several variations like how many karats the gold is, or if the silver is sterling (925) or fine silver (995). There are cheap variations of both metals that you may not want to use.
Another option is gold or silver plate, which is a thin layer of gold or silver over another metal. These are less expensive, but much less durable because eventually the coating wears off.
Gold plate usually is a gold coating over silver, while silver plate is usually over a base metal.
Vintage Copper Link Chain
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Vintage Pewter Chain
Pewter is another metal that gets overlooked a lot. However, pewter is less expensive than silver, and more unusual. It makes a great substitute for silver in many designs, and is very durable.
Ebay sellers are offering both pewter chains and finished jewelry in pewter than you can use in your own designs.
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Vintage and Antique Copper and Brass Chains
I have to admit that my absolute favorite vintage and antique chains are copper and brass. There is just something about the patina that both copper and brass get over time that is not visible on brand new copper or brass chains.
Copper patina is one of the most beautiful patinas on any metal, and cannot really be obtained with chemicals the same way that time embues on copper. Brass is the same way.
Antique Link Chain
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Luckily for jewelry designers, copper and brass are the two most affordable metals to buy, and both are easy to find on Ebay. There are so many lovely choices of antique brass and copper chains that it is hard to choose. So what are you waiting for anyway? Let’s start shopping.
Vintage Gold Plated Chain
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