How to Update a Classic Tassel Necklace Design
Tassels continue to be a top fashion trend. We see them on everything from handbags, boots, and garments to jewelry and other accessories. Read on to learn more about tassels, and see how I used modern jewelry components to update a classic tassel necklace design.
The history of the tassel dates back over 2000 years. Originally, tassels were used to decorate garments worn by priests, military officers, royalty, and aristocrats. Recently, we’ve seen an explosion of tassels in fashion accessories and home décor, such as pillows, curtains, and lampshades.
I tend to wear several variations of the tassel necklace rather than the trendy pom-pom tassel earrings that seem to have popped up everywhere this season. My favorite tassel necklaces are long and slender, perhaps because I prefer longer tassels over their shorter, fluffier counterparts! A long chain or beaded neck strap provides visual balance when a longer tassel is used in a necklace design.
Organic Elements Add a Modern Touch
My inspiration for this tassel necklace comes from the glamorous look of the flapper era, which featured luscious pearls and long beaded necklaces in jewel tones. I set out to create an updated pearl and tassel design by adding chain and other metal elements to a mix of burgundy and silver pearls. I chose to add several components from TierraCast’s Intermix line because of their organic feel, which adds a nice visual contrast to the more structured elements such as the pearls and chain.
To begin, I chose a premade tassel in my favorite tassel color and then selected pearls that would complement it. The burgundy combined with silver gives the necklace an elegant feel. I’ve always loved necklace designs that include a druzy or other stone connector between the tassel and the necklace itself, so I decided to add a druzy slice to my necklace.
Creating the Necklace
Of all the pieces in TierraCast’s Intermix collection, I knew I wanted my necklace’s focal to center around the larger three-ring freeform component. I positioned two of the regular Intermix three-ring links vertically and used 22-gauge silver wire and silver pearls to connect the freeform shape to the center of the links on either side. Again using 22-gauge wire, I added rows of burgundy pearls above and below the freeform component. I then attached the geode and tassel to the center of the pearls to complete the focal piece.
To form the sides of the necklace, I created links of pearls, then formed a chain of alternating pearl and three-ring links attached to the focal piece. Finally, I added silver chain to achieve the length I desired.
I created matching earrings by positioning the Intermix four-ring components — which remind me of shamrocks — upside down and adding pearl dangles. The pearls give the earrings movement when worn.
This fun necklace can be dressed up or down. Simply pair it with a white T-shirt and your favorite pair of jeans for a casual look, or wear the necklace and earrings together with your little black dress for a night on the town. Regardless of the look or feel you desire, have fun mixing contemporary components, like TierraCast’s Intermix collection, with more classic elements, like pearls.
Design Alternatives and Inspiration
My necklace design would also look lovely with a chain tassel. For pointers, see “How to Make a Chain Tassel, Step by Step.” To learn how to make other types of tassels, including a leather tassel, embroidery floss tassel, and beaded tassel, get the Spring 2014 issue of Jewelry Stringing.
For even more tassel inspiration, see the 9 Fast & Fabulous tassel necklace designs in the August/September 2018 issue of Beadwork.