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LooLoo's Box Handcrafted Jewelry: Artisan Jewelry, from Sterling to Steampunk

Monday, April 8, 2013

Tutorial: 'Remembering Mimi' Floral Locket Pendant Brooch

Tutorial: 'Remembering Mimi' Floral Locket Pendant Brooch

My maternal grandmother died at age 51 when I was in the third grade;  I still miss her 40+ years later. Her name was Ethel, but when I first tried to say 'Grandma' it came out 'Mimi'... and Mimi she was, to friends and family alike, for the rest of her days.  This photo of her, in her back yard rose garden, is a favorite of mine and the inspiration for this project, which is going to be gifted to my mom on Mother's Day.  I hope this may inspire you to create something in your own style that is meaningful to you.

This project is probably considered Intermediate in terms of difficulty.



Figure 1
Figure 1. If your locket is raw brass, patina it however you like (I used Birchwood Casey Antique Black M-24 from Sculpt Nouveau, but Swellegant Dark Patina Medium gives a very similar look without the need to invest in a large bottle.)

This locket has a swedge hole, but it will be hidden under the hat. Seal the locket in and out.

Figure 2
Figure 2. The hat really didn't need much more than a good cleaning and buffing, as I like the old patina.  I drilled two holes, either side, for riveting the hat to the locket; using spring clamps to hold it in place I drilled corresponding holes in the front of the locket.

Rivet the hat to the locket. Note: Riveting is important; lockets get opened and closed and glue may fail under the stress of repeated tugging.

Figure 3

Figure 3. Cut apart your leaf sprays and smooth the cut ends. Buff well; I used a brass brush on my flex shaft.

I used a green Sharpie permanent marker to color the ribbon trim on the hat, as well as the accent leaves; a red Sharpie colored the molded flowers. Let dry, then seal.

Figure 4

Figure 4. After coloring and sealing, I bent the leaf accents around the crown of the hat, securing with E6000 and spring clamps. Allow glue to dry, police up any stray glue and seal the entire hat.

I like the way it looked at this stage, and may do another and leave it more like this.

Figure 5
Figure 5. Next I added tiny flowers to the brim of the hat, adhering them with E6000. I used a mixture of raw brass, brass ox and Old Rose Ox.

A touch of red Sharpie on some of the petal tips added a bit more color.

Clean up any stray glue, then allow it to cure for 24 hours. Once the glue has cured, give the hat and locket a final cleaning, buffing (if necessary) and another coat of sealer, if you used raw brass.

Set the rhinestones into the center of the flowers using G S Hypo Cement. If your stones are unfoiled, or if you are using beads or pearls, you can use E6000.

Figure 6
Figure 6. The filigree I used was dapped, so I flattened it with my rubber mallet and steel bench block. I then cut it in half diagonally with my Joyce Chen scissors, smoothed the cut edge using a grinding wheel on my flex shaft, then buffed it well with a brass brush on my flex shaft. Sealed with Renaissance wax.

Figure 7
Figure 7. Rivet the pin onto the back of the filigree, using two 3/32" brass tube rivets.

Tip: Open the pin so it's out of the way. Align the finding and hold in place with a spring clamp. Drill hole in filigree through the hole in the pin finding. Rivet and repeat.

Figure 8
Figure 8. I riveted the pearl cup into the center of the leaf, then glued the assembly to the center of the filigree.  In this case I couldn't rivet it in place because the bail was in the way.

Figure 9
Figure 9. Layer and rivet flowers and glue the assemblies and accent leaves in place.  Clean up the glue and allow to cure for 24 hours. Clean and seal, if necessary.

Set the rhinestones and the central pearl, then attach the two parts using jump rings.

These are the photos that are going inside. Mom's going to love it.  :-)

Mimi in her garden and with newborn baby Robin (me).

Robin (me) at 50
Mimi was born in 1919 and died of ovarian cancer at 51 years old on April 19, 1971.  I turned 50 this past December; she was only 43 when I was born. She grayed young, so I always thought of her as 'grandma-aged', although my mom at 70 has very little gray in her dark chestnut hair and I have none (and no, I do not color my hair... at least, not yet!) It may be wishful thinking on my part, but I do think I see a resemblance. 

She was also very artistic; she had a porcelain studio in her basement and created wondrous things from clay slip and molds as well as beautifully painted Made in Occupied Japan china. I treasure the few things from her hand that have survived to this day.  

The anniversary of her passing approaches and she is very much on my mind.  She is always in my heart.

I love you, Mimi.




  1. I must say Robyn, every time I read your blog even as an experienced jewellery designer, I really learn so much from you.
    Thank you and well done on creating yet another masterpiece

    1. Thank you so very much, Teena; you have just made my heart smile. :-)

  2. You have great tutorials Robin and I learn a lot from them. I found a locket I had and dapped a filigree to put on it. I was going to glue the filigree on but saw what you mentioned about opening and closing so I decided to rivet it on instead.

  3. so beautiful and clear instructions, thanks

  4. Dear Robin, I can feel the raw emotion you feel as I lost my grandmother ('Nannie') when she was 59. I was 21 and didn't think I would survive. She was a very young grandmother, too. Just the other day, my mom gave me a lot of pictures of my grandparents when they were younger. I've been thinking of making jewelry with them but had no direction until you shared your wonderful tutorial. Thank you for sharing that, and especially, for sharing your beautiful love story. Your mom will cry when she receives your gift, but they will be tears of joy. And Mimi will be smiling down on you because you were so obviously loved by her. I think of my grandparents every day, too, and try to live the kind of life they would have wanted for me. You are doing it. I have so much admiration for you. All blessings, Robin, and my deepest gratitude. With lots of love - and Happy Mother's Day to you! <3

  5. This piece is so beautiful!!

  6. As always, jewelry from the heart! Most amazing woman, you continually inspire me. I am in awe!

    1. I am glad you enjoyed it! Knowing I've inspired others is a gift for my soul. Thank you. :-)

  7. This design is drop dead gorgeous!! I am sure your mother will treasure it.

  8. PS Okay to feature on my blog and link back so others can come visit? Thanks!

    1. Hi Pearl,

      Thank you so much; I'm glad you like it, and I would be honored to have you feature it!


  9. Hi Robin,

    I found you through Pearls blog and boy am I glad I did!! This locket is a treasure of creativity and may I say labor of love.
    As a Grandmother of 17 and 3greats I really love your story of Mimi. I can only hope my Grands and Greatgrands will have a little memory to remember Nammers by. To me life is a Tapestry of memories to hold in our hearts.
    Thank you so much for sharing and will visit again.


    1. Thank you, Doris - and I just LOVE it that you are 'Nammers' to your Grands & Greats! <3

  10. Its a beautiful piece and If I may say a beautiful tribute to your grandmom

  11. Bonjour,
    Thank you for sharing this very cute brooch tuto.
    Merci beaucoup

  12. Beautiful Robin! Your memories, your tribute, your brooch. Congratulations on being featured on the Beading Gem's Journal as well! Take care, Kate