Repurposing Jewelry: 10 Creative Ideas

No matter what the size of your home, there’s bound to be things in it that you no longer use. This even trickles down to your jewelry box. It could be a bracelet (that’s not quite your style) you received for your birthday from a dear friend (so you can’t throw it out, right?!) or an heirloom piece that you don’t wear, but just lies unloved at the bottom of your jewelry box. Or perhaps it’s some sparkly brooches that you wore at your neck during the 80’s or a singular earring, with it’s mate lost on some trip long ago. Whatever the case may be, I’ve got a bunch of ideas for you that might give new life to those items.

Take parts of different pieces to create a new one

If you’ve got a bunch of costume brooches laying around then you might just love Martha Stewart’s idea for creating a brooch ribbon necklace. It’s a simple process, and the result is so unique.

brooch ribbon necklace

Turn unused pearl strands into a multi-strand bracelet

A client of mine did this, and it worked beautifully. She had two matching long strands of pearls that she wasn’t wearing. She used a local jeweler to re-fashion them into a multi-strand bracelet, something along the lines of this:

multi-strand pearl bracelet

The same could also be done with fresh-water strands, to create some great stacking bracelets.

cultured pearls

Use a pearl necklace to make earrings for a group

This idea came from a reader. (Thanks, Monique!) She suggested that you can take apart a pearl necklace and make earrings for each woman in the family — perfect for a significant event like a wedding. She said it, “connects everyone with a thread of beauty.” Love that! Depending on the length of the original necklace, you could likely get many pair of earrings made!

pearl drop earrings

You could even make pearl enhancers for everyone to wear on small hoop earrings.

pearl enhancers

Turn jewelry into decor

If you’ve got a piece of jewelry that you really won’t be wearing (perhaps a family heirloom?), how about framing it in a shadow box and hanging it on your wall? You could even frame various pieces in different sizes and create a montage on your dressing room wall. How girly would that be?

Framed jewelry

There’s such a wide range of frames available now, that you can get any look from sleek and modern to scrolly and vintage. I had my local frame shop frame this antique Central American crown that I found in a Santa Barbara shop. A crown is almost jewelry, right?!

framed crown

Use a brooch on an evening bag

My friend Jen is a master of this. She has quite the collections of both pins and evening bags, so she always comes up with something beautiful. Here’s one she just used during the holiday season.

brooch on clutch

I love how she pinned the brooch right into the center of the bow — great focal point.

Create unique napkin rings

My table is normally set in neutrals, so I decided to spice things up a bit for a recent dinner party. Using scraps of ribbon and some brooches from the far recesses of my jewelry box, I fashioned some creative napkin rings with a pop of color. It worked perfectly with my beige linens and white dishes.

brooches on napkin rings

Create a bridal bouquet

I’ve got to credit Pinterest with this idea. I came across so many lovely brooch bouquets while scrolling through the images!

brooch boquet

Country star Miranda Lambert even used one at her wedding to Blake Shelton.

miranda lambert's brooch boquet

Decorate a package

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the special wrapping on a package is just as memorable as the gift inside. Why not glam it up even more by affixing some jewelry to the present?

brooches on packages

Bedazzle a bottle

Decorative bottles with embellished tops have been quite popular the past few years. Why not add another dimension by adding a “necklace” of sorts? Here’s part of an old rosary around a vintage bottle with a stained glass cross.

rosary around bottle

Make a Christmas Wreath

If you’re looking for a way to make your holiday sparkle even more, then you might just love this bejeweled wreath. Better Homes and Gardens has instructions here on how to make it yourself.

christmas wreath by BHG

So what have you done to creatively repurpose jewelry? I’d love to hear all about your ideas — please send me photos too!

5 Tips for Jewelry You Don’t Want or Need

I hope the impending start of the new year finds you happy, healthy, and busy in your jewelry box! This is often the time when people want a fresh start, so they clean the house, organize the closet, and purge their homes of what they no longer want or need. But what about your jewelry collection??

I often advise clients to hang on to jewelry, even if they’re not currently wearing it. Not only does it take up a small amount of space, but I often find myself pulling things out from years past and re-incorporating them into my wardrobe. There are times, though, when you really know it’s time to let some things go. Here are some ideas as to what to do with such pieces:

1. Sell or consign your jewelry. There are many businesses that will be happy to take your jewelry off your hands and give you some money in return. Circa is a widely known business for your pricey and name brand jewelry. The Real Real, a company I’ve had great success with for reselling clothing, is also now taking high-end jewelry. I have even used my local consignment store to unload a pair of not-worn-for-ten years David Yurman earrings. Granted, you only get a fraction of what you paid for things back, but a little money in your pocket is better than nothing, right?

2. Repurpose your jewelry. Often, you can repurpose your own jewelry. Turn an old chain/pearl necklace into a new strap for a small clutch. Or clip on some vintage earrings to your pumps for a little sparkle. I also love to pin broaches onto a simple, fabric clutch to really give it some zing. There are also countless jewelry designers who will take your existing pieces and design something “new” and fabulous for you.

3. Give it away. Why wait until you’ve passed away to give some of your precious collection to loved ones? Go for it now and watch the joy in your recipient’s eyes! I can say from experience that it’s quite lovely to be on both ends of this scenario!

4. Donate your jewelry to charity. There are countless women re-entering the workforce, and they deserve to be dressed to the nines! Places such as Wardrobe for Opportunity or the Career Closet, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, are always looking for business-appropriate finishing touches for their clients.

5. Have a swap party. I think it’s a fab idea to have a swap party with your fashionable gal pals. Invite people over for cocktails and nibbles, and have them bring some of their no-longer-worn jewelry. Just because something is no longer right for you, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t just the perfect thing for someone else! Swap away — you might go home with a new favorite!

With these tips in mind, I encourage you to sift through with your collection and see if there really are some pieces that need a new home. Best wishes to you for a happy and sparkling 2014!

Jewelry box
Are there things in your jewelry box that need to go?

Julez Bryant: Re-designing jewelry

You already know that I’m a huge fan of Julez Bryant and her fabulous jewelry line! In my previous post about her from July 2011, I mentioned that she not only designs her own line, but she also will re-design your own jewelry for you. I thought I’d share some of the incredible pieces that I’ve seen her make.

The first is a project she worked on with me. (I figured I should check out the process, right?!) I brought in a couple small, loose diamonds I had lying around, the diamond ring I received for my 18th birthday, and a couple other odd, unused pieces. I was dying for a chunky diamond and silver ring, and here’s what she made for me. Love it!!

julez bryant rings
My “old” diamonds looked all new!

When I stopped by one of her trunk shows, I was able to see a couple other re-designs she did for other clients. This first necklace is so unique. It’s made from an old gold necklace and broken bracelet from the client’s grandparents. To this, she added an ivory elephant charm she got in 8th grade and a stunning piece of Sleeping Beauty turquoise. I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed with the “new” necklace!

julez bryant necklace
Wearing history around your neck!

Finally, here’s an incredible ring Julez designed using diamonds, gold and an untreated pink sapphire. Wow!

julez bryant ring
Custom ring by Julez Bryant

I have a feeling that if you take a look into your jewelry box, you have the raw materials for some incredible new jewelry! Julez has trunk shows popping up here and there, and you should really take advantage of her talents. I often post about upcoming trunk shows for designers on my blog’s Facebook page, so be sure to “like” the page and stay up to date with events in your area!

Repurposing a Brooch: Jewelry Judge

While browsing the boutiques in Carmel one recent sunny afternoon, I spent more time chatting to a gal in the shop about her eye-catching necklace than I did trying on the merchandise! Turns out that her necklace is made from a vintage diamond and emerald brooch. (Way to work the Art Deco trend!) Her now-husband bought it for her as a wedding gift, and she wore it in her hair for the ceremony. Now, it happily resides around her neck, really showcasing her personal style and adding some bling to any outfit she decides to wear. Love it!

vintage broach
A necklace with a romantic story