Saturday, January 15, 2011

Long or Short?

In the picture is a "custom" I just finished for a friend.  Actually it is a second version of a custom.  My friend had a few beads she wanted me to make into a necklace, adding some of mine.  The result, a striking 25 inch piece, pleased us both, and it always elicited compliments when she wore it.  But six months later, she came back, having decided she wanted it to be longer.  That brought up the "short verses long" discussion.  Many designers prefer the shorter, 22 inch length, because it draws the eye to the face.  In fact, "Ornament" magazine  editor Robert Lieu writes in,  Collectible Beads, "I favor necklaces that do not reach lower than the bosom and prefer even a shorter length.  Longer necklaces tend to draw attention away from the face or neck.  Since any striking necklace attracts attention, this strategy may be compromised sometimes.  Neckware hanging lower than the waist often exposes the components to increased risk of damage, as the necklace tends to have more movement" (Collectible Beads,1995. p. 182).

Dr. Liu is the expert.  But  I think that each necklace has to work with the face, neck , body shape, height,  proportion of the wearer, and even hair style.  I am tallish and  straight, and favor a vintage style harking back to a time when women wore long beaded chains which echoed their slim dresses. But if I am designing a long necklace, I don't put a focal bead at the bottom. Instead, it would be placed on an upper side .  Some women don't want attention on their neck.  Some women want a necklace strategically placed above their chest.  Those without a chest would just as well accentuate their long line.  This is precisely why  making a necklace specifically for a client is the best solution.  The scale of beads, the length of the necklace, the color, the design-- all are factors to be considered.  The outfit or  top worn is the "canvas" for the necklace. Additional considerations are the neckline, the length of the top, the waist line, possible buttons, the color or pattern of the garment.  Will the necklace blend or be the focal point?

I bet you had no idea about all these factors in the simple wearing of a necklace!

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