How to Make a Victorian Choker

Written by karen curinga
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How to Make a Victorian Choker
A choker necklace highlights the neck and shoulders. (Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Choker necklaces during the Victorian era often featured cameos that could be worn either on a ribbon around the neck or pinned on clothing as a brooch. Cameos were carved with designs representing motifs that included flowers, dragonflies, women, peacocks and reptiles. Black velvet ribbon was a popular choice for chokers displaying cameos. These sought after necklaces were worn to compliment the high necklines of the times. Today, chokers are back as a fashion trend, since these attractive accessories beautifully highlight necks and shoulders and draw attention to the face and eyes.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Heavy black velvet ribbon, 5/8 inch wide
  • Brooch or cameo, pin-on type
  • Nylon jaw pliers
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Lobster claw clasp
  • Ribbon end clamps, 5/8 inch
  • Extension chain
  • Two jump rings

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  1. 1

    Measure the circumference of the neck. Subtract 3/4 inch to accommodate the choker hardware. Record the total measurement. True Victorian chokers fit snugly around the neck.

  2. 2

    Cut a piece of ribbon the length of the neck measurement you have calculated. Make sure the ends are cut straight so the end clamps will fit firmly.

  3. 3

    Center a clamp on one ribbon end and attach clamp by compressing it closed with nylon jaw pliers. Press the clamp with the pliers one additional time, ensuring a tight fit to avoid the ribbon sliding out. Repeat this process on the other end of the ribbon.

  4. 4

    Open one jump ring. Slide the lobster claw clasp on the open jump ring, then thread the open jump ring through one ribbon end clamp opening and re-close the jump ring, using chain nose pliers. The clasp hook should be facing in toward the neck. Jump rings are small all-purpose connectors used for jewellery. A lobster clasp is a type of fastener that opens and closes by holding a small lever and is typically used in conjunction with a short extension chain to close the necklace at the back of the neck.

  5. 5

    Open another jump ring, using chain nose pliers. Slide the extension chain on the open jump ring and thread the open jump ring through the opening on the other ribbon end clamp. Close the jump ring. The short extension chain allows you to adjust the fit of your choker.

  6. 6

    Attach a small pin-on cameo, brooch or velvet flower to the centre of the choker so it is in the front centre of your neck when the choker is worn.

Tips and warnings

  • All items needed for this project are available at craft stores. The staff will answer any questions regarding the materials needed and how they are used. Follow any manufacturer's directions that come with clamps and clasps.
  • Victorians also used colourful ribbon for choker necklaces, since the bright ribbon colours worn close to the face tend to enhance and brighten the skin.

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