Vintage necklace with a twist
March 21, 2015 8:21 PM   Subscribe

Please help me identify what kind of necklaces I used to wear as a kid back in the mid 1980s. This has been bugging me on and off for decades!

When I was in elementary and middle school around 1984-1987 there was a particular type of necklace that I remember being extremely popular. It involved strands of beads that you bought individually, then mixed and matched in whatever color combination you wanted. You twisted the strands around each other so it came out looking very similar to this ModCloth necklace, except that instead of having a fixed closure there was a little removable clip that you used to close the necklace so that you could switch the strands of beads out and make whatever combinations you wanted.

Although I remeber these being extremely popular among the mid 80s Dallas elementary school set, I never got the impression that they were kid's jewelry. I remember them being available at all the department stores and something that adults would wear as well.

So was there a particular name for these? A brand? I've tried searching eBay a few times but never got anything that looked like what I remembered with the removeable clasp. It's not hard to find necklaces that involve twists of beads, but it would be great if I could find the particular kind that I used to wear. Thanks for your help, hive mind!
posted by MsMolly to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I wore those too! They seemed to range from cheap plastic strands to actual stone beads. The search I just did actually calls them Twist-a-Beads. I don't recall that name, but I certainly had many strands and several clasps. I was just thinking about those the other day for some reason!
posted by Cloudberry Sky at 8:37 PM on March 21, 2015

I remember them as well! I think that kind of necklace may be called a torsade, though we just called them twist necklaces. Try 1980s torsade necklace on Google.

The closure that I recall was an s-clasp that you just looped through the strands.
posted by wintersweet at 8:40 PM on March 21, 2015

...but I think Cloudberry Sky has it; see twist-a-bead. (I don't remember that name, either.)
posted by wintersweet at 8:41 PM on March 21, 2015

I don't remember the name twist-a-bead but that sure seems to be what the Internet thinks. I had some luck with "rope twist" as a search term. I recall having a set, with a clamshell-type closure that captured the 3 mixed strands.
posted by Miko at 8:46 PM on March 21, 2015

Oh my god! That's totally them! You guys are amazing!
posted by MsMolly at 8:47 PM on March 21, 2015

These were also called Add-a-Bead necklaces in some parts of the country (even though those generally referred to the single-bead strand necklaces).
posted by yellowcandy at 9:18 PM on March 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

I really had to laugh when I read the full text of your question. I collected "vintage" ties but from the 1930s-1950s. When I read that, by vintage, you meant 1980s, I thought I must be really getting old.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:51 AM on March 23, 2015

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