The jeweler, Pam Chandler, sent me a shot of the pearl without the pin attached, wanting to know what I thought. It did not raise my pulse: just too plain.
I asked for a more detail and (I think) mentioned India. Pam added faceted Sri Lankan moonstones to add interest without competing with that pearl. I was happy, and within budget.
My friend Kate, who has a similar chain, showed me another way to dress it down. One day, she was sifting through her jewelry box and found a ca. 1900 pin of her grandmother's. She pinned it to the chain, and voilà, a pendant.
Kate attached the pin through one link, but it's not necessary; you need a vertically-oriented pin sturdy enough not to strain when closed over the chain or a horizontal pin that is fine enough to thread through two or more links.
Here I am trying Kate's trick with my antique bee pin:
Play with your pins and brooches; button shapes hang well because the weight is balanced. If you don't wear it as a pin, a conversion to a pendant is not a compicated matter and well worth it if you like the design. (Several readers have also converted pins to necklace clasps.)
If scouting a new piece, look for a vintage pendant (or pin that can double as one); a little apparent age is part of the nostalgia, but make sure the pin or hook is secure.
I'm smitten by an Edwardian flower pin, with its gentle patina and whimsey; price, $22 from Etsy seller Glasscreekstuio.
A Victorian seed pearl, opal and enamel pin/pendant; price, $179:
But we could go more modern, too. Here's a David-Anderson "snow crystal" brooch that coverts to a pendant, set with a native, rose-coloured Norwegian mineral, thulite, named for the mystical isle of Thule. BIN price on eBay was $199 and though it may be sold by now, I wanted to show this honey!
A vintage pendant makes a distinctive layering piece, and evokes a time when workmanship was several notches higher. Though I am showing pieces from online vendors, readers have scored treasures at vintage shops, church rummage sales or thrifts.
Keep your eyes open, stash a few twenties for the right moment, and tell us what you find!