Well, I got this done sooner than I expected! That's right, my project to upcycle this broken necklace is complete.
I originally thought that I was dealing with some sort of Afghani nickel silver, but while removing the drops, I found that what I thought was a decorative design on the back of the central drop was actually a stamp for Sterling Silver from Taxco, Mexico. Some quick internet research showed that the eagle logo in the stamp had been used from around 1955 to sometime in the late 60s or early 70s, so I was dealing with a vintage piece.
Before continuing on with the project, I did some poking around the internet, trying to find out if this was a valuable necklace that I should be trying to repair, or if I could continue with my original plan. After finding a cleaner, undamaged version of the necklace for 99 cents on eBay, I decided that I could pretty much do whatever I wanted to the necklace and not worry that I was ruining some priceless artifact.
And so I did! My first step was to remove all of the drops, then I attacked the darkened silver with a polishing cloth. I do like the natural patina, it gives it a more tribal feel, but I wanted to clean it up a bit so the new silver wire wouldn't stand out quite so much. Then I set to replacing the old silver drops with new green beads.
These beads are some sort of Chinese pressed glass from Michael's. I don't buy craft store beads very often, but I really liked this unusual drop shape and the variegated green glass is a favorite of mine. They don't quite look like something that belongs at Ren Faire, but they really go perfect with this top...
... which is why I chose them. The greens of the beads are the perfect compliment to the greens of the tie-dye! Later I'll get a picture of the full costume, with my floofy green skirt and teal veil. I'm thinking of making some earrings and a bracelet or two to round it out as well.
In completely unrelated news, Aviatrix is today's Daily Special.