Monday, November 30, 2015

From Past To Pretty...Repurposing Old Vintage Jewelry

I love vintage jewelry, but some pieces just didn't stand the test of time. Old costume jewelry was not meant to last forever, it was made to replicate fine jewelry at an affordable price. Many pieces I get are broken, missing stones or just not wearable. Most of it ends up in the trash which is unfortunate. I like to take those pieces and transform them into something beautiful again and help keep less junk from piling up in landfills.

Recently, a friend of mine gave me a pile of broken pieces he had no use for. He said 'Here, make something out of this.' Challenge accepted! Here I will show you step by step how I took those broken pieces and made something completely different. 

So I started out with a pair of Coro earrings missing stones and had damaged faux pearls. A large rhinestone brooch that had the clasp broken off and the two layered pieces were loose. A huge gold tone god awful necklace with broken chains, an elastic rhinestone necklace with no clasp and a pair of gold tone hoop earrings. 


I started by cutting off the backs of the earrings. 


I then removed all of the stones and gave it a good brushing to remove all the residual glue. I always use a soft brush so I don't scratch the metal. 


I removed the stones from the brooch and brushed that as well. 


I popped them into the ultrasonic to shake loose all the extra junk. 


To fix the loose back on the brooch I used a punch to spread the metal then gave it a quick shot of solder to hold it firm. 



I harvested the rhinestones from the elastic necklace to replace the damaged faux pearls. (Ignore my hands, they get really gross when I work!)

I don't see a hand modeling contract in my future
I cleaned all the stones very gently with rubbing alcohol and a soft brush to remove any glue residue and to help them sit in the setting more securely. 

Shameless Target plug
Now all the pieces are clean and ready to be set. 


I have no idea what this thing is. I found it in my husbands model making stuff. I think it's a tiny foam paint applicator. I stuck a blob of beeswax on to the end so I can pick up the stones easily and place them in the setting without gluing my fingers together. (This happens quite often for me!)

I shall call you 'Weird Made Up Sticky Stone Setter'

I let the stones sit overnight to make sure the glue hardened and the stones were secure. Now we are ready for assembly!


I attached the filigree findings that were on the brooch to join the earrings and a section of the the hoop earrings to attach the chain. 


I added the final filigree finding to attach a tassel that I removed from the old necklace. 


VoilĂ ! A brand new piece someone will love once again!


I hope you enjoyed my little peek of how I turn those old broken pieces into ones that can be worn again. Maybe you will be inspired to try it yourself. If you have questions about any techniques give me a shout, I would love to share with you! Let me know what you think and if you have any pieces you have created using old jewelry post them, I love to see other people's creativity!

Help save our environment and preserve the past. Turn those broken items into something special and save the earth at the same time!


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