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What's Old is New Again - Re-purposing your Heirlooms (and I'm not talking Tomatoes!)

Posted on November 06 2015

How many of you have a jewelry box filled with old jewelry you never wear?  And, what about those pieces you inherited from your grandmother or mother? You would never toss them out, but you would never wear them either.

What if you could turn these keepsakes into new, wearable jewelry?

I've been re-purposing old costume jewelry for my customers for years and want to share some of the ways you can re-use these heirlooms and incorporate them into fresh, modern pieces.

1. Make a Charm Necklace or Bracelet

I was having lunch with one of my customers and couldn't stop looking at her necklace.  It was so unique and colorful, full of interesting, unrelated objects like old rings, stones and pendants.  I was so intrigued I had to ask her about it. 

The story was that her husband had passed away and one of the things he left behind was a ring that had tremendous meaning to him.  She hated leaving it sitting in a jewelry box, but didn't know what to do with it.  She also had a collection of keepsake jewelry, all of which had significant meaning to her, tucked away in a box in her closet.  One day she found an artist who was able to take these disparate pieces of old jewelry and create a beautiful, new necklace for her.  It is now one of her most unique and favorite pieces of jewelry. 

I love that story and the concept.  I don't know a woman who doesn't have a bunch of old jewelry sitting around collecting dust that she would love to wear if it was still in style.  Here's a necklace I put together using old items I found in my jewelry box.  Its fun, funky and an attention-getter.  On top of that, I get to enjoy the pieces I've collected or inherited over the years instead of keeping them stashed away in the corner of my closet!

This is a creative way to re-purpose your old jewelry.  You don't have to use just family heirlooms, anything will work as long as they are pieces you love. 

2. Deconstruct Old Jewelry and Turn it into Something You'll Actually Wear

One of my favorite things to do is to take old jewelry apart and create entirely new designs by mixing the old with the new.  Just about any material will work: stones, crystals, metals, glass.  

Here is one of my favorite projects.  A woman inherited some old rhinestone jewelry from her mother, which no one in her family wanted, but couldn't throw away.   She had seen a necklace I'd made for another customer and asked me to create something new for her and her four sisters for Christmas.  After discussing preferences and lifestyles, I got busy taking the pieces apart and designing new ones.  The end result was a collection of wearable earrings, pendants and necklaces for her and her sisters.   

Here are three of the sisters in their new jewelry!

3. Create Your Own Pendants Using Old Brooches

Here's a big secret I can't believe I'm sharing: You don't have to be a jewelry designer or stylist to make a dazzling piece of jewelry.  There, I said it! 

All you have to do is dig down deep in your jewelry box and take out one of those old brooches you (or your mom or your grandma) bought when they were in style.  Simply attach it to a chain, a ribbon or cord or any necklace you like for a show-stopping look.  This is a great idea for adding some sparkle this holiday.


For something a little more complicated, here are a few designs I've created using old brooches.


4. Think Outside the Box with Clips

Clip earrings and pins can be added to shoes, purses, collars, belts or used as focal elements in other jewelry.

Clip earrings and vintage shoe clips are perfect for grabbing onto just about anything.  So the next time you're in an antique shop, check out their stash for these oldies but goodies and imagine new ways to use them. 


5.  Do the Vintage Mash-Up!

Take all those vintage rhinestone necklaces and layer them together for one knock-out statement necklace. 

The idea is to have fun and start using your old jewelry in new ways.  If you have some old jewelry that you'd like to rejuvenate, contact me at 281-881-6524 or email me below and we can toss around some ideas.

I'd love to hear about other ways you've re-purposed your old jewelry.  Share them below so we can all give them a try.

1 comment

  • Marcel: December 25, 2015

    Oct12 StevieAlong the ornament train of tuohght you can also make your own pretty wire hangers. Use 18 20 gauge wire and curl into an loopy S-shape. You can even add a bead to the middle to make it blingy. You can use household items to wrap around to make the swirls the same for each hook. Try sharpies, pens, RX bottles, batteries, or whatever else you find. Just don’t forget to file the ends of your wire down those little burs can hurt!I love your ideas, keep em coming. :)Reply

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