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Eclectic Charm Bracelets ~ New Life for Old Jewelry

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Posted 7 years ago


(3 items)

For the fashionista or vintage jewelry collector, a recent trend in handmade or altered art jewelry is evidently here to stay. With the emergence of DIY in almost every avenue of life, jewelry artists and craftsment, hobbiests and collectors are breathing new life into old creations.
A search for Vintage Charm Bracelets on eBay and RubyLane brings standard results and imagery for linked bracelets made of metal with traditional symbolic and even kitschy "charms" dangling from the links. But it also produces reborn "new old stock" jewelry - in particular - bracelets. An example of such an item might feature a 1940 Coro heavy linked bracelet, with a multitude of altered jewelry now "re-purposed" into art elements or charms; a Bakelite yellow rose, a vintage victorian garnet cluster set on a filigree frame, an vintage J.J. butterfly with enamel wings, new findings dangle with faux pearls, vintage Juliana rhinestone figural, antique poured glass florals or hand wired bead clusters (formerly earrings) may all "live" together on a single new, old bracelet.
The result can be quite lovely - or a darn shame - depending on your point of view. To alter vintage jewelry is to change it from it's original merit - permanently removing a "MINT" or in tact status. For very rare items, collectors of vintage jewelry feel a sense of loss for sure.
But the trend has re-vived interest in "old masters" of jewelry design - such as Carnegie, Haskell, Lisner and Weiss. Old peices that may have never again seen the light of day become part of an ensemble cast so to speak - and themed bracelets can be quite delightful - both for the creativity of the mix and the value of the items individually or as new to you design.
Whatever your opinion on altering old jewelry is - it's certainly a trend which supports a more eco friendly manufacturing concept. Recycling and re-purposing cuts the use of fossil fuels and new manufactured item environmental wear or damage. This is achieved by claiming what has already been created for re-use.
Putting a new twist on old favorites is often an exercise in creativity and curiostity, history and social studies ~ and in this way, even when altered, preserves the past. Appreciation for the vintage creation or antiquity thus remains intact. Importantly, it also introduces the beauty of vintage jewelry, and the potential to collect and appreciate it, to a new generation with as much vitality as singular piece did in it's introductory offering so many years ago.

Resource: Auction


  1. Andrea, 6 years ago
    What began as a use for damaged or irrepairable gems that deserved a new life has sadly become a wrecking yard for enterprising opportunists...I watch with great dismay as too many lovely pieces in wonderful condition are purchased on ebay then ripped apart shamelessly and hastily to be relisted immediately by the buyer as a "work of art"!
  2. vintagemad vintagemad, 6 years ago
    This is such a hard topic. I am all for re-purposing things. Retail is a dirty word........But when I run into crafties (people who craft) and they tell me all about their plans for a pair of magnets from an intact pair of Juliana earrings I want to shake the glue from their brains! Guess if it wasn't for people tossing or not understanding the value of objects nothing would be rare or hard to find.
    I guess we all need to get out and save more things from what can sometimes be a horrible demise.
  3. Libbey, 6 years ago
    The two comments above speak to an important issue: Preservation. And even as a designer whose business is based upon the use of retro and vintage jewelry - I must say: I AGREE! There is a vast difference between utilizing an orphaned element or piece of vintage jewelry - and purposefully destroying lovely jewelry. I dedicate a portion of my sales to intact jewelry (aside from item I collect, which obviously, I don't sell) whenever possible. Recently, I sold a simply beautiful antique morning necklace... hand tooled black jet, original gross grain ribbon. So serenely crafted - it would be disrespectful to the era and in particular this kind of jewelry (created to act as a visual memorial of sorts to a deceased loved one) to have deconstructed it.
    That said - I have been commissioned to create a charm bracelet using the some of my clients inherited items - ear bobs, pendants, pins & brooches - and re-purpose them by adding a bale, with great care and often using method that doesn't change the integrity of the individual piece (i.e. creating a charm base that the item can slide into)... from there the pieces are strung on a single charm bracelet. Like mourning jewelry, these new constructions are memory bracelets, or even represent a timeline of significance to the wearer. The piece I've created then actually becomes destined to be inheritited AGAIN someday, and the memories of two people are now held in this single cache of jewelry. That was my reason for evolving a passion for collecting into a passion for creating. Those of us who are purists who NEVER, and I mean EVER - destroy a perfect peice of Juliana or any other vintage item.
    Sadly - I see others who do. And it really is destruction - without cause. The newer design actually is worth far less than an intact piece. I hope anyone who wanders into jewelry design using vintage pieces does so with respect - and that collectors like the two individuals above will hold fast to the ideal that preservation ideals should be expressed and upheld. Thank you both for your comments!

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