Up-cycle, Upgrade–Making New Jewelry From Old or Found Pieces

My booty for the fall challenge.  Znetshows has such great beads.

My booty for the fall challenge. Znetshows has such great beads.

I just finished another Znetshows challenge and I cannot wait for you to see what I made. Woot! Woot!  If you like, check out the latest issue of Creative Spark and see all the great jewelry and then come back here for the full story!  I’ll wait for you.

This round was SO much fun.  I really stepped outside my comfort zone.  Usually when I make jewelry I start with a great set of beads and inspiration leads me on a merry dance.  This time, my challenge was to take a found piece or an old piece and up-cycle or upgrade it into a new and fabulous piece of jewelry using some of the great beads from my friends at Znetshows.  Piece of cake–right?  Okay, okay–it was, but I had an unexpected head start.

A few months ago, my friend Sandy had given me some crystal pieces from a chandelier her husband had taken apart.  At the time I had visions of making some earrings and had grabbed some graduated sizes of the crystals.  I didn’t notice at the time they were double-drilled from the top down.  I played around with a couple of styles , but I was not thrilled so I put them away for another project, another day.

I also had another dilemma.  I had made a necklace for a potential new client, but she did not like my choice of pendant, so I was left scrambling trying to find something else that would reflect her style and fit the necklace I had made.  I was not having much luck until my bestie, Susan, suggested we visit a bead store she had found in Decatur, Georgia, called The Bead Shoppe.  What a great store!  What was surprising to me was that I was not drawn to her selection of beads which was pretty terrific.  Instead, I found myself going back to a couple of vintage pieces that I told myself could use in the necklace, but (honestly) I wanted to make something completely new.  See what I found!


This was probably an earring from the 1970s.  I wish I had its twin

This was probably an earring from the 1970s. I wish I had its twin


This was on a necklace and was really nice as is, but I wanted to do something more.

This was on a necklace and was really nice as is, but I wanted to do something more.



When Hope (Craftyhope@gmail.com) sent out this season’s challenge I was ready with these pieces.  Notice that the metals are in good shape.  They were already clean and I didn’t notice any pitting.  Both pieces had places for me to add stones and/or break it down into different components.  That is exactly what I did.  Check it out


Let me show you what I did with the chandelier pieces first.  (Sorry for no before photo–the crystals just don’t show up well in pictures by this amateur photographer.)

Crystallne bug closeup

If it looks like a bug to you, then you’re right!  I love this crystalline bug, fancy enough to wear to any ball.  The graduated size of the crystals worked to my advantage as a pendant. I added some crystal rondelles in olive green and made a necklace of some soft, milky moonstone.  The antennae is a bit of vintage chain and a couple of more of those olive rondelles.


Next up is what I did with the diamond-shaped pendant.

Flower Drop Earrings

I deconstructed the diamond into square units of four flowers.  I wired some of the units together–again using some of the lovely crystal rondelles in olive from Znetshows.  The earrings would not hang quite the way I wanted so I moved some of the floral units around until I came up with what you see above.  They are perfect for every day or night.  I’ve got a few of the flower units left over.  I may make something else with those, too.

Now I saved the best for last.   Drum roll, please!  Ta! Dah!!

70s to 20s in progress

In the magazine, Creative Spark, I made the mistake of taking the picture with the pearl side down.  I really want you to see the glass pearls I wired to the front of the piece.  I removed the spangles and added crystal rondelles in a fire red and more pearls.  The necklace (not shown) is some gold chain with some of the same crystals and pearls added in for interest.  This is a simple yet GLAMOROUS piece.  My photographic skills do not do it justice.

Please make sure you check out this issue of Creative Spark online magazine.  You’ll find these pieces and many more gorgeous items.  I share with you some of my ideas for finding some of these types of great items when you want to turn some of your old, tired pieces into new, wearable art.

My links:

Znetshows:  http://znetshows.com/

Creative Spark Online Magazine:  http://joom.ag/Q8Tb

The Bead Shoppe:  http://www.thebeadshoppeatlanta.com/

And email me:  swash139@icloud.com