Making a treasure necklace

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
Nymo thread
22 gauge colored wire
6″ sterling silver wire
Clasp or toggle set
Softflex or Beadalon

Step by step instructions

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    • Beverly Gilbert

      Beautiful and did you know that this is Color Week and today’s color is green? So perfect choice to share today!

    • Kathleen Mary

      Perfection, darn you are good, Lady ! Its just plain neat. I want to start beading more(keep saying that!) .. been tatting and knitting loads – already thinking forward to Christmas. The reason I sought you out today.. did you see the most recent Make:technology on your time magazine..?? they have all kinds of references to steampunk … including a ray gun! I bought it because I wanted to learn a bit more about steam punk.
      I wish I could send you a few circuit boards .. we just throw them out/recycle when we know we won’t ever use that tech again. I’ve got an old motherboard hanging it up in my study.. I just pulled it down and looked at it but I am not sure what processor it is… might be a 90MgH
      I’ve been in a darkening mood lately and my Honey give me a long sermon on cheering up.. I think I may use it as an excuse for some beading (maybe BUY some?) – distraction usually cheers me up. I tend to think too much about what-might-bes.
      is that a modem board I see hanging from your pretty green work of art, darn !

    • Sara Hardin

      Very pretty!

    • Cyndi Lavin

      I didn’t know that!! Green is always the right color though…or blue, or purple, or gold, or brown…LOL!!

    • Cyndi Lavin

      LOL!! Yes! There are pieces of circuit board scattered throughout the necklace. The necklace’s name is “All the Keys to Emerald City”, and I consider the computer one of the most important keys that has unlocked the entrance into my personal Oz :-)

      You should definitely start adding beads to your projects immediately! It’s impossible to stay down when you’ve got those little beauties rolling around in your palm and scattering their way across your work. Thanks for the tip on the magazine…I haven’t seen it, but I will definitely go look for it!

    • Cyndi Lavin

      Thank you, Sara!