Posted in Categories, Fashion, Jewelry

by Pamela Wiggins


When it comes to versatility, adornment lovers can’t go wrong with jewelry meant to be worn in several different ways. Whether it’s a necklace with a detachable brooch pendant, a ring with a dozen different interchangeable stones, or the drama of a “day to night” piece, costume jewelry designs like these offer fun – and often affordable – ways to turn a few select jewelry items into a complete wardrobe.

Trifari Interchangeable Necklace

Trifari necklace set with interchangeable pendants.

Interchangeable Jewelry

Jewelry with interchangeable elements – from rings to pendant necklaces to elaborate earring sets – are a traveler’s best friend. Look for vintage sets with fitted cases to make them grab-and-go packable. Trifari, Nolan Miller, Kenneth Jay Lane, and Joan Rivers all marketed a variety of these collectible sets.

Hunt down long pendant necklaces, especially those from the 1970s, with interchangeable elements for a vintage take on a now look. You’ll discover ultra chic examples by Lanvin, moderately priced necklaces by Trifari, and super affordable interchangeable pendants marked Sarah Coventry. These dual duty lovelies make unique gifts for on-the-go friends, too.

Convertible Jewelry

Jewelry that can be worn more than one way is the frugal shopper’s dream. Take a brooch with one or more hooks soldered on the back in addition to a pin stem. Schreiner is one brand well-known for this brilliance. When a necklace works better than a pinned-on adornment, simply hang the piece from a velvet cord or string of colorful beads.

Schreiner Necklace

Schreiner brooch/pendant with custom made bead necklace.

Look for necklaces with clasps that can be worn as brooches as well. These aren’t as common, but they’re worth the effort to find. Don’t stop with extra-long strings of “flapper” pearls and beads when it comes to necklaces that can be worn in varied lengths. Keep an eye out for beauties that can be worn in more than one way as part of the design.

 “Day to Night” Jewelry

Early day to night jewelry from the 1800s often took the form of earrings with removable drops. The “top” could be worn alone during that day for a daintier look, and an elaborate drop would be added for the evening. Impressive necklaces might have a dangle at the bottom that could be removed and worn as a smaller pendant on a chain. Most often these were fine jewelry pieces.

Fast forward and the day to night concept got quite a makeover. Fashionable pieces in the 1950s and ‘60s were also transformed from more reserved day wear to sparkling evening wear, but the look was much more fabulously fake. For instance, Boucher is known for a stylish leaf brooch that fits into a mechanical frame and can be flipped from side to side. One side of this dual duty piece features gold plating with an enameled ladybug accent, and the other is encrusted with pave’ set clear rhinestones.

Day to Night circle brooch

Unmarked “Day to Night” circle brooch closed for day wear (left) and open for nigh wear (night).

Napier, along with other manufacturers, made circle pins when those were trendy in the early 1960s. The day to night twist is a gold plated tube that slides around to cover a ring of sparkling stones for day wear. Other brooches have mechanical elements that open to reveal a cluster of rhinestones for evening sparkle.

Not only are these beautiful collectibles, they’re also wonderful, wearable conversation pieces.

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