The Upcycled Collection – Wedding and Special Occasion Statement Necklaces

One of my latest collections has been brewing in my mind for quite some time.

 

I’m sure most of us are at least vaguely aware of the wastefulness that occurs in today’s society, but it’s probably not something that is given too much thought on a daily basis. As a jewelry designer, I see “wasted” product every day that I work. Paper scraps from map cut-outs. Wire clippings from metalwork. Short segments of chain from a previously broken strand. It happens. I recycle as much of it as I possibly can, but in the back of my mind I knew that there is so much jewelry that’s tossed out, destined for the landfill without a second chance.

 

This got me thinking. Instead of continuously buying new materials, what else could I do?

 

Well, for starters,  I use vintage materials whenever I can. If I can re-purpose something that’s already been in existence for decades rather than buying brand new, then I do it. I’ve actually been doing that for a long time, but I felt like I needed to do something more.. challenging.

 

And thus, the Upcycled Collection was born!

 

Multi Strand Statement Wedding Necklace, Vintage Flower Brooch

 

To design this collection, I’ve spent many hours sourcing the perfect components: vintage brooches, beads and baubles; broken necklaces and bracelets destined for the landfill; strands of vintage pearls, chains and beads that need a little TLC..

 

Layered Chain and Pearl Wedding Necklace, Vintage Green Flower Brooch

 

The purpose of this collection was to utilize as many old/vintage components as possible without buying anything new. Now, I do have to use some newer pieces – such as jump-rings, beading wire, and other small (but essential) pieces to hold everything together – but the bulk of the designs are composed of vintage and re-purposed parts. Many of the parts I had were broken necklaces, half-length strands of chain that had broken in the middle, vintage pearl strands that weren’t all pretty. (Of course, I didn’t use any of the ones that couldn’t be made presentable with a good cleaning.)

 

In the necklace below, for example, I had four jumbo metal chain links that had been removed from an old broken necklace. These links were still in good usable condition, and were a great accent to this statement piece!

 

Multi Strand Statement Wedding Necklace, Vintage Flower Brooch

 

The next design also contains of my FAVORITE vintage brooches! This color orange is so unusual.. not quite orange, not quite salmon.. but something inbetween. You’ll notice the center of the daisy is composed of teeny tiny orange and yellow flowers, with orange rhinestone centers. Beautiful!

 

Multi Strand Statement Wedding Necklace, Vintage Orange Flower Brooch

 

Multi Strand Statement Wedding Necklace, Vintage Orange Flower Brooch

 

The vintage brooches in the majority of these designs are removable. I think they look fantastic on the necklace and really add the “oomph” factor, but they’re too pretty to remain static.. they are pinned in place, and can be taken off if you want to wear just the brooch and make a more subtle statement.

 

I’ll admit.. it’s been a little difficult to let some of these go. (Such as the PHENOMENAL vintage brooch in the first photo – gold filigree flowers with white enamel, blue and clear rhinestones.. that piece still had its original tags on it when I found it!) Not to mention this Coro brooch; I have a weakness for Coro brooches. Perhaps it’s the rhinestones. This brooch isn’t in perfect condition, but really adds a delicate femininity to the pearl necklace (all vintage pearl strands.) It needed a little TLC first, including a replacement of the center rhinestone. Still one of my favorite pieces, regardless.

Layered Pearl Wedding Necklace, Vintage Rhinestone Flower Brooch

 

 

I also made a couple of longer statement pieces that could be worn on everyday occasions, such as a day at the office or a day out with your friends. If you’re a more dramatic bride, you could wear them on your wedding day! The brooches are not removable on these two designs.

 

Long Layered Gold Chain Necklace, Gold Flower, Dramatic, Multi Layer

 

Long Layered Silver Chain Pearl Necklace, Vintage Aqua Flower Brooch

 

I may add a couple more pieces to the collection later on, but these are the designs currently available. Each necklace is absolutely one of a kind. If you click on any picture, it will take you to the item listing.

 

Feel free to share your thoughts!

 

 

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Fine Silver Rings (Adventures in fine silver clay..)

Long overdue as it is, I’ve begun making fine silver rings to add to my collection!

 

The first ring I started with was one for myself (naturally.) I wanted to see how much the metal clay would shrink in my kiln and get an idea for how well they wear on the hand.

 

 

I thought it came out pretty darn nice! I could have put a little more work into the band itself to make it smoother and more even, but I was more concerned about the shrinkage factor and placement of the roses. As you can see, it fits my pinky (which is SMALL! About a size US 2.) The clay shrank about three ring sizes, which surprised me, because the brand I use is supposedly known for not shrinking as much. (Art Clay 650.)

 

Regardless, I was still thrilled with the ring and excited to make more!

 

The next ring I made was this:

 

 

I have mixed emotions about the outcome of this ring. I purchased some fine silver ring band blanks, which means that you form your clay design around the band of the ring, and then fire it as usual. This is supposed to adhere the fine silver clay onto the band and leave a nice smooth inner ring surface. Well, I’m not sure if I should have fired it for less time given that the band was used as the base, but the clay shrank too much. Or, maybe I didn’t use enough of it around the band and should have covered it with a thicker surface area. Either way, I ended up with a couple of hairline cracks which was really disappointing. I filled them in and fired it in the kiln again (for much less time than previous) and it’s now mended. However, it’s sort of “lumpy” in my eyes, so this prototype will again be delegated to my fingers.

 

In designing this ring, I used a teeny tiny hexagon shaped stamp that I made for myself. It’s one single hexagon, so each time I press the stamp into the clay, it makes one single honeycomb cell. I know they make hexagon/honeycomb sheet stamps, but I think that takes the fun out of designing and creating something by hand. I also created the tiny bee by hand, piece by piece, and used my x-acto knife and some sand paper to carve out the small details. I’m sort of attached to the little guy! (My father was a beekeeper for many years, so I think it’s just in my DNA or something to be a honeybee fan. Evidence as seen in my previous post about honeybees and honeycomb..)

 

Anyway, despite the somewhat discouraging former attempt, I’m definitely going to make more of these in the future. Next time, I’ll form the base by hand as usual instead of using those darn ring band bases. (So much for that!)

 

The third ring on my agenda was another rose ring. I spent substantially more time shaping and sanding the band on this one, and am truly happy with the result! The roses were much easier to form and set this time around too.

 

 

 

Oohhhh shiny! The band came out nice and smooth. I burnished and polished it a lot, so it has a lovely glossy sheen! I oxidized the inside of the roses to add depth, as I do with my rose earrings.

 

 

This ring is completed and ready to ship, in a US size 5 1/2.  I’ll have other sizes available at some point, but not quite yet.

The listing for this ring can be found here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/104072934/fine-silver-rose-ring-size-5-12-hand

If you’d like to learn more about the process involved in working with fine silver metal clay – creating the rose jewelry in particular – please feel free to check out my previous blog post,  Fine Silver Rose Earrings.

Weekend Jewelry Sale!

It’s finally March! I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely ready for spring time. (And summer ….. but I won’t push it!) I’ve been busy making a lot of new styles, and it’s time to move out some previous designs that will no longer be in stock. This weekend I’m having a 50% off sale on select designs! You can view which items are on currently on sale here.

Here’s a glimpse of what’s on sale! Click on the photo to go directly to the item listing. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch.

Peachy Pink Rose and Vintage Glass Necklace on Sterling Silver (Originally $55, currently on sale this weekend for $27.50.)

Sterling Silver Bee Necklace with Golden Honey Vintage Glass Beads (Originally $45, currently on sale this weekend for $22.50.)

Purple Amethyst Gemstone Necklace on Sterling Silver Chain (Originally $49, currently on sale this weekend for $24.50.)

Yellow Quartz and White Pearl Drop Earrings on Sterling Silver (Originally $50, currently on sale this weekend for $25.)

White Clay Rose and Dark Olive Pearl Drop Earrings (Originally $40, currently on sale this weekend for $20.)

Tiny Silver Bow and Rose Quartz Drop Earrings on Sterling Silver (Originally $32, currently on sale this weekend for $16.)

All of the sale designs are one of a kind pieces. Once they’re styles are sold, they’re gone for good!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!