When friends hand you old jewelry, you make something new. And when that doesn't work, you do it again.

Recently a friend brought me a pair of vintage clip-on earrings and asked me to repurpose the crystals into something new and different.  So apart they came....

And yes, I did do some research to find that these Eugene earrings, which had originally been purchased from Neiman Marcus, were made sometime between 1952 and 1962, as those were the years the company was in business.  Some people might be aghast at taking them apart, but they weren't particularly unique or valuable.  My friend had suggested that she might like a bracelet made from the crystals.  Once the earrings were apart, though, I found the base they were built on quite interesting, so I decided to make new earrings with that piece exposed.  They were actually two pieces, wired back to back, with the ear clip soldered to the back and the loops of crystals wired into a knot on the front.

My original idea for the bracelet was to make a strand of each of the colors, deep pink, pale pink and clear, with baroque freshwater pearls at each end accenting a toggle clasp.  So I purchased a couple of clasps and brought them home, ultimately deciding on an antiqued pewter clasp because it matched the tone and style of the earring base better than the sterling clasp I had also purchased.  After an afternoon's work, the earrings looked great, but the finished bracelet just didn't work.  It looked too contemporary for the ornate detail of the earrings....

So....back to the drawing board (not really, I seldom draw anything...mostly I lie in bed at night and think of designs, which unfortunately I don't always remember in the morning).  And another trip to The Artful Bead for more metal.  It definitely needed more metal.  Hopefully something to match the pewter clasp and give it more oomph and make it look like I have some idea what I'm doing! 

It took me two afternoons of fussing and fiddling, once I had the findings I thought would work.  For one thing, I was stringing those crystals on silk cord.  I NEVER string beads.  Never.  Not ever.  So getting the cord knotted so that it would stay together was a challenge.  And I had to convince myself that I could use the smaller pearls, but the big baroque ones simply did not work.  But finally, finally, finally....

Better?  Well, I think so.  I did use sterling ear wires and argentium sterling wire for the dangles on the earrings and the pearl links on either side of the bracelet's clasp.  But I was so grateful to find the end bars in pewter that matched both the scale and detail of the clasp and the beaded detail on the ear wires.  Now, the friend I made them for hasn't seen them, but hopefully she'll be pleased.  I sure hope she doesn't prefer the first incarnation of the bracelet, because I'd have to exercise poetic license, or jeweler's license, or something like that.  Maybe she's looking at them right now (Is that you?  What do you think?).

p.s.  These are some of the first items to be completed in my not-quite-completed-but-workable jewelry studio/laundry room.  Pictures coming soon!


  1. Very cool- hmmmm - maybe I'll have to look around at my old jewelry...


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