"Well! That's...odd."
January 13, 2011 6:32 PM   Subscribe

Romantic-bespoke-jewellery Filter: How do I put a key on a necklace?

So I've got an old vintage key. It looks like this., slightly more than an inch long. I want to put it on a necklace, or incorporate it in a necklace somehow. Two catches: I know nothing about how to make or order jewellery, I want the key to still be usable to open locks.

So, what's the best way to do this? Should I try and do it myself or get a jeweller to do it for me? I'm willing to spend up to $100. It seems that threading a key through onto a necklace would be easy enough, but I don't want it to look homemade. Presumably there's some sort of link that could attach the key to the necklace. As for the necklace itself, I was looking for something similar to the stuff on this site.

Any thoughts, as you can probably tell from the haphazard questions, I'm a bit out of my depth here, please help!
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you have the key and you have a pre-made necklace, it'll be really easy to stick them together yourself.

Go into a Michael's or JoAnn or similar craft store and find an employee. Tell them what you want to do, and that you think you want a split ring or jump ring. (A split ring is basically a keyring, but nicer, made particularly for jewelry, and will come in a variety of sizes and colors. I think a split ring is what you want for this.) They'll help you find the most appropriate one. Armed with that and a pair of needle-nose pliers, you should have no problem finishing the necklace. Also: cheap.

The hard part is getting the necklace to attach the key to.
posted by phunniemee at 6:48 PM on January 13, 2011

The ring you want is called a jump ring, and they'll run you about 5 cents a pop at a bead store. Then you need a pair of needle-nosed pliers (which they'll loan you at the bead store), and a chain to your liking.

I can understand if you want to have someone else do it for you, but my point is that it should not cost anywhere within an order of magnitude of $100.
posted by you're a kitty! at 6:50 PM on January 13, 2011

I used to have a key that I wore on a necklace, attached by jump ring. I recommend going to a specialty bead store like you're a kitty! suggests: you can buy the necklace there, too; the staff will be more knowledgeable; the selection will be higher quality and usually available to purchase individually (big-box craft stores sell jump rings in packs of 20+).
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:17 PM on January 13, 2011

Judging from the link, I suspect what you want is actually a bail. These are more substantial than a jump ring, and can be quite thin and plain all the way up to filigreed or ornate. A lot of these can be used with just a pair of pliers (although serrated pliers may damage them), or can be put on more permanently with solder, which is eeeeasy. There are a lot of instructional videos at that link, also.
posted by galadriel at 7:17 PM on January 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

I vote for a split ring instead of a jump ring. The jump ring will look better, but the split ring is more secure. I've lost things on jump rings before.
posted by smirkette at 8:18 PM on January 13, 2011

having made quite a bit of jewellery myself, and judging by the size/shape of that key, i'd say you probably need TWO jump rings (so that the necklace begins and ends at the key) otherwise, it will hang crooked (see how there's that point in the middle of that opening...one jump ring is going to slip to either side of it...) and oh yeah, $100 is crazy talk...cost of necklace + $1, tops...totally a do it yourself thing...use two pairs of pliers and open the jump rings sideways, not out...hmm, how to explain?...not so that the ring becomes a "C" (it will not want to squish back all the way closed), but more like you are trying to make an "S" shape...(though you should only twist it open far enough to get the key in) ...does that make sense?
posted by sexyrobot at 10:21 PM on January 13, 2011

Agreed that a jump ring or the right sized bail is what you want - a split ring would be more secure (it's like a small version of a keyring-ring, if that makes sense) but in my mind looks a little more - eh, I dunno - just not a fan of the look. You could also do this on a long, thin bit of leather.

I make jewelry too, and do a ton of "hey, can you help me fix/make/sort this out" kind of stuff - on the off chance that you are anywhere near the DC area, I'd be tickled to help you out with this - just shoot me a note via MeMail.
posted by ersatzkat at 12:41 AM on January 14, 2011

I would say that a few jump rings is your best bet. Fusion Beads has a great selection and they have free shipping in the US, although I'm not sure if shipping internationally is more expensive.
They also have a really great section of beading techniques and inspiration pieces that are useful and fun to look through.

The jump ring technique is here. You would end up with a necklace something like this if you did one jump ring on either side of the middle point. One jump ring would make it asymmetrical, and you could add some more embellishments (like this). Alternately, you could just loop the chain through the key, and end with something like this.

If you were looking for something a bit fancier, it would also be possible to do a chain-type wrap, like this. It looks complicated, but it's actually very simple-- almost like making two necklaces and putting them together into one. Just loop the chain from the end jump ring through the key, once on either side of the middle point.

These instructions are for adding a charm to a chain, but you might find them helpful if you're unsure of how to add a jump ring and clasp to the end of your chain. Just add the jump ring and clasp at the end of the chain.
posted by lockstitch at 10:22 PM on January 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

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