Saturday, January 23, 2016

Repurposed Vintage Earrings

In my last post, I showed some of my mother's vintage costume jewelry that I have been sorting through and photographing. In this post, I will show a few more pieces and walk through the repurposing process of one of the pairs of earrings.

The picture above shows a summarization of the repurposing process I used for my earrings.  I'll go through details of the process in a bit, but first let me show some collage photos of a few of the treasures I came across and photographed from my Mom's collection.

Many of these pieces are in really great shape! The first one is a collection of faux pearl and white beaded necklaces:

This second collage is a collection of pink beaded designs - also mostly in really nice shape. My mother's favorite color was pink and she had a good quantity of pink jewelry - not all of it is pictured here but here are a few:

I'm not sure yet which of the above pieces I might decide to repurpose. Some of them are so pretty, I might just leave "as is."

But I came across these ear-bobs below and knew they needed repurposing ... they were in pretty bad shape:
 The large center beads were already disconnected from the ear-bobs, and the clip-on backs were missing. As can be seen, there is also a good bit of corrosion and debris on the metal backings.

First thing was to disassemble the beads and components - the beads were held together on the brass backings with some very old and disintegrating wire.  I just cut the wire with a pair of wire cutters and wound up with this collection of pieces:
Next I cleaned the beads, the metal backings, and the gold colored bead caps. I first used warm soapy water and a toothbrush which helped some.  Then I tried a technique I had read about using worcestershire sauce to soak and scrub. In the end, I couldn't get the metal backings totally clean but was able to restore the bead caps to a fairly good shine - although some of the gold plating was worn off:

I decided for my design I would make a pair of dangle earrings out of some of the beads and bead caps. I used some gold plated wire to make a knotted headpin and added some wire-wrapping around the top bead. The earring wires are made of gold colored craft wire which I formed into a pair of french hook ear wires:

And voila! Something new from something old!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

My Mother's Vintage Jewelry

Two years ago I started going through my mother's vast collection of vintage costume jewelry. These beautiful treasures were passed on to me after her passing in 2013. I wrote about some of these pieces in a blog post two years ago - you can click here to read that post.

Well I put the jewelry aside for a while and am now revisiting the adventure of going through all these marvelous pieces. My attention was redirected to the jewelry after my brother and sister-in-law found even more of my Mom's jewelry while helping my Dad sort through some things at his home.

This spectacular necklace is a triple strand of dark cream faux pearls and aurora borealis crystals. It is a choker style measuring 15 inches plus a three inch extender chain. I love this piece for its bold deco styling!

This next piece I'm pretty sure was one of my Mom's favorites because it is in her favorite color which was pink!  It is another triple stranded faux pearl necklace in several rich vibrant hues of pink.  There is hot pink, light pink and some hints of purple and lavender in some of the beads. The eclectic mixture of pearls, glass beads and fire-polished crystals is just my Mom's style! It is a choker style measuring 15 inches plus a two inch beaded extender.

Now I need to decide on whether to keep these pieces "as is" or to disassemble and repurpose them into something different. Comments and suggestions are welcome!

And if you want to see more pieces from my Mom's collection, you can visit my Pinterest board dedicated to her collection.