Repurposing Your Jewelry

Repurposing Your Jewelry main article image
Posted on April 29, 2021 by Emily O'Leary

Repurposing old estate jewelry is a great idea to honor a late loved one while still holding on to some sentimental items. When my great-grandmother died last summer, we were left with a ton of her old jewelry – nothing super expensive, but the majority of it was super sentimental to everyone in the family, and we did not necessarily want to get rid of it. Most of my family is inherently very crafty. Sewing, quilting, crocheting, Cricut cutting, now jewelry-making – you name it, someone has probably done it. My aunt had the idea of repurposing some jewelry from our great-grandmother’s jewelry collection for members of our family to wear. 

What you will need

First, you will need some jewelry. It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone else’s old jewelry either. If you have a necklace or a pair of earrings that you do not get use out of but want to wear them differently, you can use them for this project.

You will also want some jump rings. This is so you can attach the charms from bracelets, earrings, etc to a different form of jewelry. You may want to consider purchasing jump rings that are a similar metal color to your charms.

Next, you will need some pliers. They do sell regular jewelry pliers, so I would recommend using those than a pair of rusty pliers from your garage. You will need these to remove the charms from their respective jewelry form and attach them to jump rings.

Some other items you may want to consider for this project are blank necklaces or bracelet chains and blank earring hooks.

Repurposing Charms from Earrings

You can repurpose dangling charm earrings in a multitude of ways. One way you can repurpose them is to turn them into matching necklaces. This would be a perfect project to make matching jewelry with a best friend or a close family member. You can buy a blank chain from basically any craft store, just choose the length and metal color you prefer. You will next need to separate the charm from the earring. After you remove the charms, you will want to add jump rings to the charms from the earrings. Before you close the jump ring completely, attach the ring to the necklace. Repeat with the matching earring charm, and now you have two matching necklaces!

You can do this similarly to make a charm bracelet! This would be especially great for if you have multiple necklace or earring charms that give off a similar vibe or have the same style.

Similar to the matching necklace project, you will want to remove the earring charms from the earring itself. You could also utilize charms from old necklaces as well, just take them off of the necklace. Then you will want to arrange them alongside the bracelet how you would want them to appear. Then you will want to use the pliers and the jump rings to attach them to the bracelet. Repeat for each charm, and now you have a charm bracelet! This is a perfect way to upcycle old jewelry or commemorate a loved one.

Shadowbox Jewelry Tree

While going through my great-grandmother’s things, my grandmother recently found a piece that utilized not only bits of upcycled jewelry, but also buttons and pins! It was so cool, it arranged the pieces to look like a tree! I’ll insert a photo of it here:

Not only is this a genius idea to repurpose old jewelry, but an amazing way to upcycle enamel pins that you may not otherwise wear.

For this project, I would recommend utilizing a shadowbox. This would give the project a three-dimensional look and it would not smush any of the objects to the glass. I would also get a shadowbox that has a plain background, or get some scrapbook paper to paste on the inside of the shadowbox.

I would also gather a plethora of buttons, pins, charms, chains – you name it! If you can glue it to the shadowbox, it will work.

You will also need some type of glue to tack down the pieces to the shadowbox. It could be superglue, E6000, hot glue – anything will likely work. You may also want some pliers for this project as well.

To start off, if you decide to put scrapbook paper on the inside of the shadowbox, do this first before you start to glue in any of the jewelry pieces. You can get really creative with the scrapbook paper too, and it does not have to be scrapbook paper either. If you have a leftover piece of wallpaper or contact paper, you can use that instead! You could also paint a background scene behind the tree. Let your creativity run wild!

Next, you will want to lay down pieces of chain to act as your tree trunk. You may have to use pliers to shorten the length of the chains to get the height of the trunk right. I would also recommend leaving the chains a little bit longer than you want them to be – you can cover them up later and you can always cut them shorter but can not easily add to the length. I would lay out the chains first before you glue them down to make sure you like the arrangement first.

After you glue the chains down as your trunk, it is time to add the foliage to your jewelry tree. Like with the chains, you may want to arrange the charms and pins around before you glue them down. If the pin is sticking out in the back, you can take the pliers and either break off the back or bend it inwards so the pin can be glued down easier. After you have arranged the pieces the way you like them, you can glue them down.

After that, now you have a little tree-shaped jewelry display! Even if the jewelry pieces you used in this project weren’t necessarily sentimental, at least you have a pretty cool display!

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Diana Patterson

January 7, 2022

Great initiative! Repurposing jewelry is a great idea. I am inspired by this post. Thanks and looking forward to your next post.

I love the idea of making something new out of a beloved jewelry! Better then to just having it laying around your drawer :)

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