With A Little Creativity And Effort, You Too Can Become A Jewelry Designer!
Like most people, you probably have a jewelry box tucked away in a closet somewhere that's full of old pieces you no longer wear. Sometimes this is because they are out of style, sometimes it is because the pieces are broken or damaged, sometimes it is because they don't match anything in your wardrobe, and sometimes it is because you simply never liked the piece in the first place. Rather than leaving these old, unwated jewelry pieces lying around, consider refurbishing them. Not only can this lead to glittering new jewels for your wardrobe, it can also be a fun and worthwhile hobby! To Merge or Not to Merge – Making new jewelry from old jewelry can be accomplished in many ways. One of these ways is by merging new pieces with old pieces. Take, for example, a brooch from some other era; unless you are a fan of the unknown archaic era in question, you probably will never wear that 4” diameter brooch for anything other than a Halloween costume. With a pair of needle-nose pliers (the small jewelry style ones from craft stores), remove the pin backing from the brooch. Attach a jump ring on two sides of the brooch, secure a chain to each jump ring and attach a clasp at the top (all of these can be bought at craft stores). Now that used-to-be-brooch is a funky necklace that has more style and can be worn proudly. Not to mention it'll be something your friends will want to borrow! One more thing you can make with an old brooch (you probably do not want this one to be 4”, maybe a 2”) is a ring. Simply remove the backing and glue it onto a flat-style ring – instant chic. With fine metals and stones, you can even create your own luxury jewelry! Another good example of merging is using the charms from a charm bracelet you no longer want. In fact, if you see a charm bracelet at a thrift store or yard sale, it is a good idea to buy it simply for the parts which can be cannibalized from it. By removing the charms, it is easy to make earrings, different bracelets or even necklaces out of them. Even if the charms are different, they will be similar in size, therefore, earrings (although not an exact match) will have a whimsical look to them. This works really well with themed charm bracelets such as - for example - charm bracelets having to do with princesses and fairies. The charms would be things like crowns, wands, tiny fairies and so forth and even though the earrings would not match, they would have a reoccurring theme. Still one more good idea for merging is to mix and match. For example, if you have a bunch of old necklaces with beads (acrylic, metal, wood, whatever) that you never wear (and have no intention of ever wearing) you can disassemble and combine them into several bracelets or anklets. Beads are all about mixing anyways, so the funkier the better!
Additions Are Not Just for Houses – Another idea for making new jewelry from old is to enhance them with additions. If, for example, you have an old watch that still works but which is boring to look at, consider adding things to it. This can be tiny glass beads, rhinestones, glitter, tiny shells and semi-precious stones from other jewelry you no longer want. One of the best glues for jewelry making is G-S Hypo Cement, which has a tiny nozzle, making it easy to use on particularly small pieces. If the watch is large enough, another idea is swirling a chain (any color) from an old necklace around and around the face and inserting tiny pearls here and there. Another fun addition to somewhat boring earrings (that have space for this) is to glue tiny glass beads onto them in a pattern. First color the pattern out on a piece of paper and go from there. Some ideas are rainbows, peace signs and Celtic designs (which would look great with different shades of silver beads).
Take It To the Pros – If the jewelry you want to change is fine jewelry (platinum, gold, etc.) it might be better to take it to a jeweler than risk tarnishing it during your redesign. A jeweler can melt jewelry down to create brand new pieces, add precious stones to existing jewelry, or do some merging of his/her own. If, for example, you have a ring that used to belong to your grandmother and one that used to belong to your grandfather, a jeweler can meld the two together to make a special ring that reminds you of the both of them. If, on the other hand, you have a ring that you love but have lost the stone inside of it then a jeweler can replace the stone with a new one that is similar. One more example is if you have a bunch of gold chains that are way too tangled to fix, then a jeweler can melt down the gold and make something else entirely.
Not Your Average Jewelry – A clever idea for transforming something new out of something old is to use old jewelry to enhance accessories. Old necklaces can be changed to be tiny “necklaces” that hang on your purse and huge brooches can receive additions (tiny beads, sequins, little pearls, etc) and be pinned onto handbags. The possibilities in this category are endless; old jewelry can be glued onto headbands, barrettes, hair scrunchies and hats. Add a bit of glamour to old shoes by gluing in pieces of old silver jewelry or add fashion to a plain belt by gluing on turquoise pieces. Toe rings anyone? A small pendant on a necklace you no longer want would look great glued onto a plain toe ring. How about little girls sneakers? Stores sell sneakers with jewels hanging off them for hefty prices. Get the look, yet stay unique, by making them yourself! As you can see, once you get going it is hard to stop. You will find yourself trying to add old jewelry to everything. You will use up all your old jewelry and start snagging some from people you know and some you do not. The main thing to making new jewelry from old jewelry is to have fun, be creative and get a little crazy now and then.