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DIY: Upcycling a Necklace into a Panja Ring-Bracelet


Diy upcycle necklace to panja

My style changes. A lot. The same charm necklace I fell in love few years ago now sits in the corner of my jewelry box, gathering dust. For today’s DIY, I decided to transform a simple necklace into something über trendy: a panja.

But pray tell, what is a panja? They go by a lot of different names, though most would recognize it as a ring-bracelet combo (because that’s what it actually is!). It also goes by many other names, like a hand harness, armor bracelet, or hand flower. Now that you know what a panja is, I’m going to show you a super-easy way to DIY one – let’s get to it:


Materials DIY Panja

  • Simple charm necklace (look for one with multiple small charms)
  • Jewelry pliers (the essential three, shown from left to right: wire-cutters, flat-nose, round-nose)
  • Ring base
  • Strong glue (I used a glue gun, but crazy glue or E-6000 works too.)

Step One:

Step 1 DIY Panja

Using your jewelry pliers, completely disassemble the necklace. Most jewelry charms are connected to the necklace chain with jump rings (little wire circles), which can be easily be opened (as shown below) by gripping one end with round-nose pliers, and prying it open on the other end with flat-nose pliers. The same motion is used to close them.

Pliers jump ring

Step Two:

Step 2 DIY Panja

Wrap the now-charmless necklace chain around your wrist and secure the clasp so that the chain fits somewhat loosely. Using your pliers, detach and remove the rest of the chain. My jewelry chain was comprised of larger chain links, so I could simply remove them by opening up the jump rings (see step one). Thinner and/or finer chains can be cut with wire-cutters.

Step Three:

Step 3 DIY Panja

Drape the rest of the chain onto your hand. Measure a length of chain from the bracelet to around the base of your finger. Again, detach this from the rest of the chain.

Step Four:

Step 4 DIY Panja

Attach a larger jump ring to this end of the chain. Attach this to the bracelet portion. I find that the bracelet is easiest to remove when the clasp is on the side of the hand, so I positioned it so it’s “halfway” down the bracelet chain when clasped.

Step Five:

Step 5.1 DIY Panja

Pick several charms and connect them to the jump ring. The photo below is how your panja should look after closing the jump ring.

Step 5 DIY panja

Step Six:

Step 6 DIY Panja

Almost finished! Glue another charm onto a ring base (make sure the charm has a loop for a jump ring). Connect the ring to chain that’s connected to the bracelet.

The Finished Product:

Finished Product DIY Panja

That’s it – You’ve created a trendy panja out of an old necklace! Feel free to play around with embellishments different combinations of chains and charms.

Feedback please:

What do you think about panjas, or body jewelry/unconventional jewelry in general? Would you do this DIY? Are there DIYs you want to see the tutorial for? Let me know in the comments!

Posted on on August 3, 2013 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , ,

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22 Responses to “DIY: Upcycling a Necklace into a Panja Ring-Bracelet”

  1. 1
    August 3rd, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Well now I know what I’m doing with all my old necklaces! Great tutorial!

  2. 2
    August 3rd, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Nice DIY….
    But I think this is one trend that people will look back on and think, why did I ever wear that?!…just like the 90s fad of gluing a gem to the corner of your eye.

  3. 3
    August 3rd, 2013 at 5:50 pm


    Only time will tell. Many old trends that people find horrifying often surfaces a few decades later. Remember how everyone shunned at all that neon and craziness from the 70s? They’re back! I find that body-jewelry is a nice subtle way to be a little edgy, make a little statement. Fashion trends are too short lived to play it safe.

    Also, I find that the techniques in this tutorial may be more important than the actual DIY. Just my own opinion. Thank you for your comment!

  4. 4
    August 3rd, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    I’ve seen this trend growing stronger and stronger from Kelly Clarkson on her album cover to celebrities. I used to see it just in editorials but it is going really mainstream now. Thanks for this tutorial – I like your common sense approach to DIY.

  5. 5
    August 3rd, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    I make these as well, but call them slave bracelets. I own a very pretty antique one from a yard sale. I got it for seventy-five cents and got several compliments that day. I got it about 3 years ago and still wear it regularly. They can be very elegant or punk rock, it all depends on how you style it.
    <3 Jaclyn

  6. 6
    August 3rd, 2013 at 9:54 pm


    Thank you back! You know what a huge fan I am of you. Strangely enough, it’s not very mainstream where I am, which is ironic, since my town prides itself on being hipster.


    I don’t like to use the term “slave bracelet” I think it’s a little offensive. Though bravo for being ahead of the trends, and I agree, it really depends on how it’s styled.

  7. 7
    August 5th, 2013 at 2:27 am

    @Gloria; it’s just the circling of style :) I just happened to love the right vintage jewelry. I agree that it can be offensive, but it is what I have come to know them by so I guess it’s kind-of worn off on me. And, whenever I searched them, that term came up so I never knew of another name to call them. :) But yours turned out insanely cute <3

  8. 8
    August 5th, 2013 at 2:31 am

    @Jaclyn: It’s strange, because I haven’t heard of that term until I read about it on truebluemeandyou’s blog. Most sites I’ve seen these referred to them using the terms I mentioned above. And thanks :) The idea came to me after I re-fashioned a necklace that my little sister’s ex-boyfriend gave to her (lol).

  9. 9
    August 5th, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I also know them as slave bracelets, and I kind of like the edgier tone that comes with it! lol-well depending on who I am talking to! Regardless of the many terms these adorable creations are known by, I absolutely love this tutorial and this jewelry piece. I always wished that this would have caught on in my area but it never did. My mother gave me one when I was about 13 that has hearts styled like the yin & yang symbols with real Amethyst and Mother of Pearl. The attached ring also has a heart yin & yang symbo and there is a beautiful heart ” flourish” design that sits on the top of my hand. It has an antique look and is one of my most cherished material possessions. I rock it out when I need something to make an outfit more me. Thank you for this tutorial! I so love my mother’s gift, and I cannot wait to make my own custom piece!

  10. 10
    August 5th, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    @Sarah M.

    It might be because I took Sociology and Women’s Studies in college, they make me go crazy at everything that can be perceived to be culturally insensitive/inappropriate, which I know that the fashion world does a lot and we’ve just taken some things to be the “norm.” I won’t rant too much, but I’m glad you liked the tutorial, hopefully you’ll love your own custom pieces!

  11. 11
    August 5th, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    “Slave bracelet” refers to a kind of jewelry within the BDSM community, whereas “panja” refers to a kind of jewelry worn in India. That means the first term makes this LESS “insensitive/inappropriate” than the second, as the second could imply cultural appropriation, whereas the first simply refers to a subculture. Just some food for thought, since you said that things that are “culturally insensitive” bother you.

  12. 12
    August 5th, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    @BS Look I’m sorry for bringing this up, I didn’t mean for this to be a debate. The way I see it, “panja” is the culturally-appropriate term therefore it is not offensive (for example, you know those traditional Chinese garb? I am ethnically Chinese, and I want people to refer to them as “QiPao” not something that has negative connotations if you know what I mean), versus the topic of slaves and the whole social hierarchy thing is a touchy issue here in the United States, and that is usually the first thing that Americans think of when the term “slave” is used. Some food for thought for you.

  13. 13
    August 5th, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Regarding the use of “slave bracelet”. I think the Refinery29 artice is pretty good: “Some “slave bracelet” makers contend that the term actually refers to the fact that the attached ring is chained to the bracelet in a “slave” relationship. The historical origin of the term escapes us, but we venture to guess that it’s a nod to a general pre-Byzantine aesthetic of adornment probably found on harem slaves… but forgive us for feeling that, even with the obvious physical relationships and the 1,500 years between us and the reference, using the word “slave” as a descriptor still feels spectacularly inappropriate.” I’ve never seen the panja linked to the BDSM community so I was surprised that that was even brought up (and I’ve been following jewelry trends for a long time). The refinery29 article is here: There are so many articles about the “slave bracelet” debate and I’m thinking if this smacks of slavery in anyway, then why use the term that is so hurtful to so many? I’m surprised by the vitriol I’ve seen on this site.

  14. 14
    August 6th, 2013 at 2:25 am

    I am going to be taking sociology next semester! lol And I would like to thank you for giving me a more accepted term to call these pieces. It always was kind of awkward telling my elders what it was called! lol

  15. 15
    August 6th, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    It’s not the term “panja” that would make it cultural appropriation, but the whole idea of using jewelry from another culture because one thinks it’s “pretty,” without understanding any potential significance it may have in that culture. (This is especially applicable if you’re from the dominant culture, as it hearkens back to colonialism. That is to say, it’s probably something I pay more attention to than some, as I have privilege from being part of what is seen as the “dominant” American culture, so I try to put more effort into being aware of what could be seen as offensive or dehumanizing.)

    For example, I would never wear traditional Chinese garb in the first place, because I am not Chinese, and I don’t understand any of the cultural connotations that may accompany that action.

    I’m not saying that this IS definitively an example of that; these sort of issues do tend to be open to debate, and I am hardly the all-knowing expert of, well, anything really. I only brought it up because you said you are sensitive to “culturally inappropriate” things, so I thought it might be a topic you would be interested in. For a very good running discussion on cultural appropriation (focused on Native American culture mostly, though I believe it’s fairly generally applicable), see

    In terms of the BDSM connotation, I will note that some similar bracelets (generally chain mail) do come up if you look for them, so I know I didn’t invent the connection. I definitely understand why some would be uncomfortable with the “slave” term though, given what else it can imply.

  16. 16
    August 6th, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Also, I’m sorry if my first comment seemed like it was vitrolic! That was not my intention at all! I also didn’t realize “slave bracelet” was such a touchy term, as I had always heard it called such in the context of BDSM. I didn’t mean to start a debate either. I hope my second comment clarified my originally-intended point.

  17. 17
    August 6th, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    @Sherry: Thank you! I hope you’ll be successful in your jewelry re-fashioning.

    @truebluemeandyou: Thank you for your extensive research, and thanks for standing up for me. It helps to know that I am supported.

    @Sarah M. I hope you enjoy Sociology! It was absolutely fantastic and really opens your eyes to social inequalities that exist but are invisible due to the mainstream. I seriously learned more about “real life” in that class than I ever did in k-12.

    @BS: Thank you for apologizing and explaining what you meant. I was a little hurt by what you were insinuating about me. As far as cultural appropriation, I believe it would be cultural appropriation to *not* refer to an cultural-based jewelry by its real terms, but rather doing so celebrates its beauty and the richness of the culture. The world is changing as people from all different ethnic and cultural backgrounds interact together, and in my opinion as a minority, we should promote a peaceful co-existence, and that starts with awareness of the gifts others cultures bring. As far as I know, panjas (unlike bindis, that are religious in nature) are just part of traditional jewelry, but if I’m wrong I would like to be corrected.. I might go as far to say that referring to a panja as a slave-bracelet might be worse off considering India’s history… Also, I believe that most people wouldn’t necessarily make the connection to the BDSM subculture when they hear the term “slave,” I even asked a friend who’s part of the subculture and she’s never heard of it as well.

    Sorry for my rant. I would love to have a cultural conversation, I just don’t think this is the place for it, especially since my original intent was to showcase techniques involved in jewelry making. You can find how to contact me on my About page if you want to chat.

  18. 18
    August 8th, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    This is so clever!
    Love it!

  19. 19
    September 11th, 2013 at 8:19 pm


    Thanks! I’m glad you liked it :)

  20. 20
    February 7th, 2014 at 9:52 am

    So much angst and over-thinking. This is Gramma’s take on it: It is a beautiful piece of DIY jewelry. The tutorial was first class. I will make one. That is all.

  21. 21
    February 15th, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    @Jeannean Green: Your comment caused a great big smile on my face. Thank you for your defense of my tutorial, it really means a lot to know that people support me!

    ~Much love, Gloria

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