This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

FREE SHIPPING to the United States & Canada

Expert in vintage costume jewelry from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s & 1950s

Double Date: Two-for-One Convertible Jewelry

Convertible jewelry will transform your wardrobe

Like convertible cars, convertible jewelry is not a new idea. In fact, for centuries the best makers of fine jewelry have skillfully crafted versatile pieces for their wealthy clientele which could be worn in different ways. Tiaras transformed into necklaces, and brooches morphed into hair ornaments. Versatility, economy and allure have always been necessary for success with customers. But the 1929 Stock Market crash and ensuing Great Depression meant both fine and costume jewelry makers had to get creative to open the tightened purse strings of their respective markets. At that time, the double clip brooch began to be offered by both fine and costume jewelers. It is a pin-backed mount for two clips, so they could be worn together as one brooch or as two separate jewels. You can see many examples in the TruFaux Jewels boutique here.

For today’s consumer with economic and environmental concerns, versatility remains an important factor in all products. In this post, I show you how to accessorize with vintage jewels that can be styled in different ways to easily adapt to any occasion and outfit. These pieces weren’t designed to be convertible, but you can make them so. Read on to find out how to instantly expand your jewelry wardrobe and refresh your look with these two-for-one gems.

Two Bracelets Two Ways

In fine jewelry, some necklaces are designed to be broken apart into two or more bracelets. In the example below, I’ve joined two identical Art Deco sterling silver line bracelets in different colors to form a choker, as seen on the left. What makes this merger possible is the fact that each bracelet has two clasps, which give the linked segments the flexibility to form a circle. The finished piece is 13 ½” in length, a size that fits a slender neck. If this option doesn’t work for you, here’s another suggestion.

On the right, you can see the emerald color and black bracelets worn together. The clasps would allow you to form two bracelets, each with half black and half emerald glass stones. Wear one or two, as your look and mood dictate.

This pair is convertible because the pieces are identical in construction, even though they bear different maker’s marks: “Wachenheimer Brothers” and “Otis”. The latter bought the former in 1934. Although 1920s line bracelets are not uncommon, those with two clasps are hard to find.

Faux Emerald & Diamante Line Bracelet & Faux Onyx & Diamante Line Bracelet

Two Necklaces Two Ways

Long necklaces are a great example of convertible jewelry. Depending on the necklace length and the size of your neck, a long strand can often be doubled.

This gorgeous melon-bead necklace in ruby red with rondelles is 33 ¼” long. Although it doesn’t have a clasp, you can double the strand and use a ribbon to join the ends.

Vintage red glass bead necklace with rondelles

Ruby Glass Bead Necklace with Rondelles

Some necklaces can be worn as bracelets. Here is an example showing a 1940s sterling silver choker by Walter Lampl. In this case, doubling the necklace to form a bracelet works because of the length and flexibility of the piece. The clasp must be fastened carefully when changing the shape of the necklace.

Sterling Silver Choker by Walter Lampl

Ear Clips Two Ways

Cluster earrings with clip-backs were a popular 1950s accessory. Many women still prefer this style to those that dangle. An advantage of the first type is that they can be easily transformed into another type of jeweled accessory.

On the left is a clover leaf-shaped ear clip by Elsa Schiaparelli morphed into a necklace with the aide of a brown satin ribbon. Its color complements the earring’s shield-shaped golden and brown topaz glass stones. The black-and-clear glass bi-color beaded earrings by Alice Caviness, on the right, add a touch of glamour to these simple black kitten heels.

How about wearing the Schiaparelli earrings on brown pumps and one Caviness ear clip on a black velvet ribbon around your neck?

 L: Two-tone Topaz Glass Clover Earrings; R: Faux Onyx Bi-color Bead Earrings

Brooches Two Ways

Brooches are the most versatile type of jewel. You can adorn clothing in multiple ways – on your shoulder, on your jacket lapel, at the throat of your blouse, or on the waistband of your dress. A brooch can also embellish accessories – your hat, purse, or belt – and even be worn in your hair. The examples below show brooches transformed into another type of jewel.


Some costume jewelry makers designed their brooches to also be worn as pendants by providing a loop on the back of the piece to suspend it from a necklace. In other cases, a chain with loops through which the wearer inserts the pin stem was included. I think just about any brooch can be worn as a pendant even when it doesn’t come equipped with a method of attaching a necklace. Here are examples: one uses a rubber cord; the other, a chain.

On the left is a 1940s Miriam Haskell jewel which was constructed to allow the elements to move. At 2 5/8” in length, it makes a stunning necklace to highlight your decolletage even with casual wear. The 1950s Hattie Carnegie brooch on the right is a statement piece at 4” in length. Its layers of cascading jade glass beads, faux pearls and diamantés make it unforgettable. I’m sure Carnegie never envisioned this masterpiece as a pendant, but I love the look. I think she would, too.

L: Ruby Glass Bead & Rondelle Clip/Brooch; R: Faux Jade Bead & Pearl Brooch


Put a brooch on a wide ribbon, and voilà! You have a corsage bracelet. Here’s a 1940s vermeil brooch/pendant by Coro that transforms into a stunning wrist adornment.

Final Thoughts

So, I propose a toast to those who are open to the possibility of convertible vintage jewels, even if they were not designed to be. You will find great value in wearing jewelry in new ways.

Have you ever made a jewel convertible? Please share by posting a comment below.

Photo source:

© Barbara Schwartz


Ed Consitt

Love the information in these blogs and newsletters, Barbara. I’ll share with my sister and a couple of friends who I think would enjoy them.

Patricia Gostick

Interesting & informative, as usual, Barbara. Kudos!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published