All the Keys to Emerald City started out life as a junky old pot metal necklace interspersed with red plastic beads. I wanted to use it as the base strand for a charm necklace, wiring the treasures on to beads that had been added specifically to serve as anchors, but I had no clear idea at first what the theme or colors would be. I had many collections of items waiting for the right home, but it took some deep green computer circuit boards with their silver-colored designs to bring the correct items together with the pot metal necklace.
Sorting through my collections, I was able to pull together a wonderful assortment of non-matching green vintage buttons in graduated sizes, green glass beads in several sizes that looked good with the buttons, a large collection of silver and pewter charms and do-dads, and (of course) some circuit board pieces. I especially liked the softer antiqued silver and the pewter pieces since the pot metal beads have a soft, warm pewter-like glow. I knew this was going to work when I found some pewter colored glass 6o pony beads with holes large enough to accommodate the wire for the charms.
I chose an old skeleton key first, as my focal “charm.” Ranging upwards on both sides of the key went some smaller mechanic’s keys and other symbols that I love: stars, sun, heart, circuit boards and a hammer (signifying my love/hate relationship with computers), floral motifs, a cross, and wire spirals.
Here are the basic steps that I took to create All the Keys to Emerald City necklace shown above. With a few modifications, the instructions can easily be adapted to any themed set of treasures you wish to use.
Old necklace to restring, or set of large beads for base strand
Collection of charms, buttons, baubles, and treasures
4 and 6mm round beads
8/0 seed beads
6/0 pony beads
2 wide holed beads, bead caps, or cones
22 gauge colored wire
6″ sterling silver wire
Clasp or toggle set
Softflex or Beadalon