Arte Es Vida

Reworking Existing Jewelry by arteesvida
December 21, 2006, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Art Of Jewelry Design, Beading

My brother bought me a necklace in Italy for my birthday this past winter. My brother is a world-ranked athlete, a star student, and an accomplished artist…but he has really bad taste in jewelry.

Fortunately, he is aware of his deficiency and he buys me things with the sure knowledge that I will probably take them apart and reuse all the elements in something new. For the record, I don’t ALWAYS do this (I have a necklace he bought me in Costa Rica strung from indigenous nuts and seeds that I haven’t changed a bit), but for the most part he looks at the elements of the piece rather than the design.

This piece he was particularly proud of. A mixture of pearls, polished bits of branch coral, and a gorgeous shell with pearls trapped underneath its layers, this necklace was made up of some very lovely parts. But the entire effect was quickly dubbed “ghetto mermaid bling” by everyone who saw it. At the very least, it wasn’t something that diminutive 5’3 chica could pull off wearing!

Bubby Necklace

I took apart the necklace, put aside the large shell (with plans to use it in a shadow box collage at a later date) and restrung the pearls and coral into two different necklaces mixing them with simple sterling silver. Standing alone, the pearls and the coral “pop” a lot more than they did mixed together!

Bubby Necklace 2

Bubby Necklace 3

Don’t limit yourself to just jewelry making elements…keep an eye out for finished jewelry as well. Especially older pieces (or even broken pieces!) that you may find at thrift stores. I’ve found necklaces made with gorgeous pieces of malachite for under a dollar…I couldn’t buy the beads that cheap! You can take things apart and rework them into several new pieces, and erase dated styles with simple, elegant designs.

1 Comment so far
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i found your article very light but very informative. Especially where I am starting to look at various stones that can be really costly though beautifull. Thankyou for your insights. especially for using old jewelry to make something new. I have rework a necklace and had great results. THANK YOU.

Comment by Thelma Hyatt

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