Sunday, September 30, 2012

Making Old Jewelry New Again

Whenever I pop into a thrift store or a flea market, I always take a few minutes to browse through the jewelry.  You never know what you'll find there!  I once picked up a garnet necklace for $5.00.  I brought it home, restrung it and added a chunky garnet, pearl and silver pendant, and it looked totally different (and way more expensive!). 

My sister Gina sent me some necklaces that she found that needed some lovin'.  I forgot to take the 'before' photos, but I did get some great 'after' pics, which I'll share with you!

The first two necklaces were pretty straighfoward...
both had wonky seed beads in between each of the designer beads, and they looked a bit dated.

With the red necklace, I replaced the wonky beads with  smaller, darker red seed beads (size 11).  From a short distance, it looks like the necklace is knotted between each bead.  At first glance, I thought these beads were Chinese cinnabar, but they are actually German or Czech glass.  They have a great carved texture to them.

The second necklace also is made of glass beads.  They are white with an red-orange swirl design in them.  The original was separated by white wonky seed beads, but I replaced them with Swarvoski crystal 4 mm bicones in Fire Opal.  There are shades of red, orange and dark gold in each bead, which brings out the color of the original beads.

The third necklace is a 'found item' necklace, for lack of a better term.  Gina had found an old MGM Grand Hotel key from Las Vegas.  It's pretty cool -- it has the MGM lion embossed on the front.  She asked me to make that the center pendant on a necklace with other charms and beads. 

I added some bling to the key first, though.  I took a short piece of rhinestone chain and used E-6000 glue to adhere it to the length of the key.  Hunting for the other charms and beads in my stash was a challenge.  I ended up mixing the'll see brass (the color of the key) as well as silver, copper and a touch of gold.  I kept the beads in shades of bronze and green as much as possible.  A pair of dice beads next to the key was a nod to the Vegas story. 

The final piece I worked on for Gina was this 1940's style clear glass necklace (below).  This one took a little more time.  Each bead is on an eye pin, attached to the next bead, to create a chain of beads, and I replaced every eye pin.  The original necklace had two metal bicone beads that were showing a great deal of wear, and Gina wanted them removed.  I substituted 8 mm Swarovski crystal bicones in Sapphire blue.  I hope she doesn't mind that I added color to the necklace, but I think the Swarovski really pops. 

I'm still looking for one more finding for this piece...the large crystal-cut pendant at the center has an old bail that is a bit worn.  I may have to special order a gold-filled bail to replace it, if I can find one. 

I could see a bride wearing this necklace, as something "old, borrowed and blue." 

So, three 'old' necklaces re-made, and a new one created.  Not too back for 'found' jewelry.  I think all together I may have spent about $20 for the materials and Swarovski crystals.  I enjoy re-creating something out of old beads and found objects...I'll have another post soon about a fun way to use old religious medals.  Keep tuned!  Till next time... Renee

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