Friday, March 10, 2023

Diamond Life


For awhile now, I've been wanting more estate jewelry for my girls. But for reasons of time, cost and current geopolitical issues, I have not wanted to order from abroad. I have seen ropes of rhinestones, but never knew how to work with it. Recently I found what's called "rhinestone chain" at a nearby bead and crafts store (though you can order from Amazon if you know what you're looking for). And eventually I discovered a DIY site that explained the various things you can do with it and finish off the ends. You can use glue instead of solder and you can even wire the chain to another surface. To my surprise, it was amazingly easy. And so....the post which I had hoped would go up on Valentine's Day is here, just as my girls are setting their sights on Oscars night at the red carpet!  

For this project you will need:
Rhinestone Chain (3mm)
Rhinestone Cup Chain Ends (for chains 3mm)
Jump rings
Wire to make S hooks 
Strong glue
Jewelry pliers

At first when I set out, I had visions of grandeur! You know, Queen Elizabeth style baubles. But then I took the time to research trends from high fashion jewelry houses.

It should come as no surprise that given current lifestyles, simplicity reigns supreme! In any case for us, it is a good place to start. I had fun with this project, so trust me, as I find more stuff that can be used for jewelry making, I will be coming back to this subject in the near future!!! For my first attempt at creating "fine jewelry," I focused on the basics in my efforts to keep things fast and easy.

Anna's first jewels! What could be sweeter than a single row of diamonds! Making this choker is simple. A piece a string around her neck will give you an idea as to the amount of chain to cut. Add another 2 links to allow a bit of ease. 

This is so easy, The rhinestone chain is a series of crystals embedded in minuscule, clawed cups, linked together by a bridge which runs throughout the length of the chain. The metal is very soft. So you can cut it with a pair of ordinary scissors. Then there is the chain cup ending, a small claw link with a tab on one side and prongs to hold down the jeweled end of the chain on the other. Hold the chain cup by its tab and place the end of the rhinestone chain inside (a single crystal). If you look carefully, you will notice there are two prongs standing upright. Using a pair of jewelry pliers, carefully press each one towards the stone. You don't need to press too hard as the metal is quite soft. 

You will also notice that the tab has a small hole to which you attach a jump ring or a closure. You can use anything you want. However, these necklaces are quite tiny and getting them on the doll can be a real pain. If you plan to sell your creations, go ahead and use the standard jewelry clasps. But if this is for yourself, you might want to make your own S rings with an extended hook! Note: for instructions on making your own jump rings or S-rings, see "Pearls of Wisdom."

With this single strand of "diamonds" you can create a lot of different looks simply by hooking on a small pendant-- perhaps something out of your own jewelry box. Those pendants which I wore in my teens and early 20's make for impressive estate jewelry on the doll! All you need do is to create a small hook out of a bit of soft wire which can be attached to the front of the necklace (as opposed to threading through the chain)! 

Most pendants fall vertically from a chain. However, I found a pendant and added a loop of wire around the lower end so that I could connect it to rhinestone chain on both sides, thus creating a very glamorous "diamond" choker. 

And even if you don't own pendants, feel free to create your own using rhinestone stickers! 

Use a tiny bit of air dry clay and press the jewel onto one side. Make a loop with some thin wire, then twist and press into the clay to completely cover. At the top right, I started out with a round stone in the center of a small ball of clay. Then I added a row of rhinestones from the chain around the perimeter. You'll see the result in the photo below.

You can also use a longer single chain to wrap around the doll's neck, thus giving the illusion of a double chain. For the one below, I added a S-ring only on one end of my "rope."

While we're on the subject, let's talk about a double row of diamonds. You can cut two lengths of chain and put jump rings on both ends. Then join those ends together with a single ring before adding your closure. 

Dolly can wear it as is or..... Atoia is modeling a double strand to which we added a that mega-baguette diamond we created earlier! But you can also create double strand choker that is....shall we say....very Van Cleef & Arpels!

Normally the two strands are soldered together, but a good clear glue works just as well!

After measuring your doll's neck to determine the amount of chain to cut, you will measure out another length that is 2 stones shorter. Turn one length of chain on its side and, using a toothpick add a line of glue. (This gets tricky, but keep on going.) Next, line up the two rows of chain close together gem side down, then liberally apply glue to the back.  Press the two rows together using your pliers. Allow to dry and add a second coat. 

While researching,  I came across the Van Cleef "A Cheval" extraordinary piece of jewelry valued at about $700 Million dollars! My dolly's version didn't cost nearly that much, but don't tell that to Dorian who felt like a billion dollar babe in hers!
After deciding where on the doll's neck I wanted the necklace to fall, I cut two lengths of chain. One will be one stone shorter than the other. Glue the two together on the side at a 90 degree angle as shown. Then carefully add some glue to the side of the send row and press together. Repeat on the other side, being sure to meet at the center. When all has lined up, turn the necklace over on its back and apply glue. Let dry. Add a second coat of glue.


This method of gluing (which replaces soldering) allows you do have a little fun with the design of your necklace. I'm sure many of you have seen some version of Iman's necklace. This is a very contemporary design and super easy to replicate.

 I started out by measuring the chain around the doll's neck then deciding how far down I wanted the diamonds to drop. You can end with something symmetrical or make one side longer than the other. I decided where I wanted the chain to meet in the front and tied a bit of wire to keep it in place while I found the center point in the back. Cut the chain at the center point and add the chain cups and closures.
then turn the necklace over so the back is facing you. Add a drop of glue to two links where the necklace will join in the front. Let dry, add another drop of glue.

Or.... you can simply glue on extensions at right angles to the basic choker. 

This is where this project would have ended had I not gone back to the store.... I discovered some "novelty" chain on sale. But, unlike the rhinestone chain, this one is made of plastic, rhinestones and thread. I assume it was really designed to be sewn onto a garment, but since it was the closest I could find to the Cartier necklace that inspired me, I decided I would work with it a bit.

It isn't as heavy as the rhinestone chain so it wouldn't lay flat around Catherine's neck. (Metal is always better for this sort of project.) So after carefully pondering the situation, I decided to add a bit of thin wire to "tame" it. 

I threaded the wire through the double rows of thread running throughout the length of trim. Instead of threading, you can also tightly wrap the wire around these rows. I left enough wire to create a loop on one end and an S-link on the other. 

And true to form...I was able to shape the necklace to better fit the necklace to the doll.

My goodness, this was a lot of fun. All my divas are now all singing "Diamonds are a doll's best friend!" Believe me when I tell you..... This.Is.Not.Over!!!!!

Looking for more fine jewelry ideas? Check out "Pearls of Wisdom."

Like us on Facebook: @FashDollStylist
We're also on Pinterest: @FashDollStylist
And of course, we are on Instagram: @fashiondollstylist

Unless otherwise noted, all images and text of this blog are the copyrighted property of Fashion Doll Stylist 2023. We are independent and not part of any other group or website no matter where this post or its elements appear on the internet or social media. Please request permission before reproducing any parts of this post. And please, always credit us. 


  1. Hi April! I love how this post starts with a very simple idea and you start building up from there. The one that started with the basic chocker and you glued pieces at an angle could be used as part of a dress. I believe I've seen these chains at a local store at some point, and they even had different colors.
    Also, happy belated 10th anniversary. It's been a busy couple of weeks, so I couldn't really keep up with my reading list. Hope to see you around here for many more years.

    1. Thank you MC for your kind words. In addition to learning how to work with chain, I really had to take a good hard look at the few pieces of jewelry I already had in my possession. I think I didn't attempt this project because I saw that soldering was involved. But once I discovered you can use glue instead, it made me rethink things. While you are assembling the glued pieces, it does get a little sticky. But the end result is worth the trouble. I am so happy with the result.
      I've been so behind on everything. But I'm hoping to get caught up soon. I'll be by to visit your blog.

  2. I bought several different rhinestone chains and separate links after finding out they make them with pearls between the colourful stones (they look amazing in Tudor outfits). I examined them from every side trying to figure out how they connect together to make those doll necklaces you can see in every etsy shop. So you just glue them? That's a bit anticlimactic... and could be a problem for me - I can never find a good glue. I suppose I'll steal some solder from my husband for the silver ones. I have never seen gold solder though! There's some food for thought. Thanks for the ideas, your posts always deliver the perfect dose of inspiration and motivation with great timing for me!

  3. Delighted to read that you can use glue for the necklaces. I often wondered how the chains could be used for dolls. Now if I could just figure out a way not to get too much glue on my fingers. Beautiful necklaces! Great job!

  4. Hello, I find your blog very interesting and full of revealed secrets. Although I have always sewn and made crafts, in fact I dedicate myself to accessories, for brides, only now that I am a grandmother I began to sew clothes for Barbie. Quite a challenge, but thanks to your advice there are details that I was able to solve. If you allow me a little tip for making the jewels, I suggest that you place them on an adhesive tape, so they won't move and you can stick them easily.
    Kind regards. Adriana
    Excuse my English but, I'm using the translator.

  5. How lovely to see you again. I think of you and look at your older posts every time there’s a red carpet occasion and wonder how you would reimagine the dresses. Hope you and yours are healthy and happy. Karen


We love hearing from you. Your comment will be published shortly.