“Restore, Recycle, Revamp – don’t throw away those broken necklaces or bracelets!”
Most of us at some time or other have broken a favourite piece of jewellery or it’s broken while wearing it. Sometimes the beads in the necklace or bracelet have, for no obvious reason, just decided to set themselves free and all the beads and other bits and pieces have scattered around you all over the place.
Necklaces and bracelets break for a variety of reasons, but it’s usually that some, or perhaps only one of the beads (especially glass and crystal ones) have a rough edge inside and has slowly been rubbing away at the cord, thread or wire they are strung on, resulting in the cascade of beads and things all over the floor and down our tops, which is then followed by the embarrassing scramble to pick up all the pieces!
I only use a high quality bead stringing wire for my strung necklaces and bracelets, which has an average 18kg or 40lbs breaking strain and so hopefully that will never happen to one of my designs! However nothing is 100% guaranteed not to break, so I do recommend having necklaces and bracelets re-strung every year if it’s a piece that you wear regularly, or every couple of years if it’s worn only occasionally. (Please contact me if you have anything you would like re-strung).
Many of my clients have come to me with similar stories, perhaps they have a favourite necklace which they bought years ago, maybe costume jewellery which was inexpensive, or something with sentimental value, but still stunning to look at and lovely to wear and the necklace broke, and because they loved it so much they kept all the beads and bits and pieces in a box, not really knowing what to do it, and because as it wasn’t a very expensive piece of jewellery, and not made with precious metals or gemstones, then thought it unlikely that a high street jeweller would be able to fix it. I have fixed up many of these over the years, and most of them had lots of beads and bit and pieces missing which I have managed to revamp by incorporating beads and gemstones from my supply.
Some of my clients have presented me with bits of broken jewellery from several pieces they have broken and kept hold of – “what can you do with that?” they have asked. Well I do enjoy a challenge! I have been able to put life back into their old pieces and created sets of matching earrings, bracelets and necklaces from several tired or broken pieces of jewellery.
When my Grandma died several years ago, I inherited an old cardboard box containing her jewellery. As a child she would sit with me and let me go through her jewellery boxes and play with it. I loved it, and being allowed to dress up and wear her beads and pearls is a treasured memory of my holiday times with my Grandma. All of the jewellery in the box was inexpensive costume jewellery (sadly no diamonds or real pearls!), lots of it was broken and in pieces but she’d obviously loved it, she always wore beads and she never threw anything away!
That box of her old jewellery gave me ideas and the inspiration to start making my own designs from old and broken pieces of jewellery, and I’m sure Grandma would be pleased to know that I’ve brought back to life and wear bits of her stuff, that she probably bought in Woolworths in the 1950s.
From recycling my Grandma’s old jewellery I became interested in vintage jewellery. I now buy many vintage beads, pendants, charms and pieces of chain. I love to re-work these old pieces and mix them with new components and gemstone beads and the contemporary look mixed with the vintage element has proved to be a success as the pieces are one-off and unique.
So don’t throw your broken jewellery away, if it was something you love then perhaps I can bring it back to life for you. Restore, Recycle, Revamp, and “waste not want not” as my Grandma used to say.
Picture: Turquoise necklace made from one of my Gran’s old broken clip-on earrings. I used the earring as a pendant and strung Turquoise and Pyrite beads around it.