DIY Pocahontas necklace

The most iconic thing about Pocahontas is clearly her necklace. In a search around for other Pocahontas costumes, what made them look badly done was a failure to reproduce the necklace from the movie. Lots of attempts, few successes. (Some of the good ones: 1 2 3)

Clearly, the depicted broken necklace is actually impossible, at least when you compare it to the complete necklace. The problem is the placement of the pendant. I considered modeling it exactly after the movie necklace, but that seems like it would take a bit more engineering than I was willing to commit to the project, so I modified the necklace slightly.

Before I had said I would aim to make it look like real turquoise; I didn't end up doing that because I was given some clay for free and I didn't have all the colors necessary. Anyway, getting on with it:

I used a package of white sculpy and a package of turquoise sculpy. The turquoise was a bit darker than I wanted it to be, so I kneaded in some white to lighten it and give it a little bit of depth.

The best way I found to do the necklace was to mold the necklace in full and the bake the large "beads":

To get holes in such large beads, I embedded them with rawhide cording when I was shaping them and then pulled the cord out right before baking. The cord slid out easily and left behind a good sized hole. If the hold got a little squished, it was ok because I was using thinner hemp to actually string the beads:

The pendant was just a chunk of white sculpy. I suspect the pendant is supposed to be a shell with a folded-over lip - a lot of people think that is is painted grey in the center but I'm pretty sure it's just a shadow. I had a hard time baking the white, I found it burnt readily. I used a nail to put the hole in the top of the pendant before baking.

When they came out of the oven, I discovered that the beads could still be cut with a craft knife. I think I may have under-baked them a little, but it's ok; they're hard enough that they don't get scratches on them. The knife left clean lines that didn't collapse the bead hole.

I carefully cut away the beads that would sit next to the pendant so they would lie close together. Then I needed to paint the lighter-colored beads. I decided just painting them with acrylic paint would be easier than molding beads of lighter sculpy. My paint supply isn't well stocked, so I had to combine normal acrylic, fabric paint and Warhammer paint to get my desired color, hehe:

And I added the "clasp" at the end: simply a loop and a wooden bead, so I wouldn't have to tie the necklace off every time. I figured such a clasp would be "accurate" enough.

If I were to do it again I'd be a bit more careful with the beads so the surface was smoother. I would also try to make a faux turquoise rather than the solid color. Lastly I would dedicate the time to getting the pendant right, although I'm not too bothered by that.
With this, my costume is so, so near completion!

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DIY Pocahontas necklace

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