‘Up-cycling’ Jewellery – Turning broken jewellery into something new & wonderful

I always end up with so much broken jewellery and single earrings, so thought why not turn it into something new and useful. For part of my 30th birthday extravaganza this year, I did an up-cycle craft session with friends and family.

Our throw away culture which I believe is eventually becoming less popular encourages us to always buy new. I love that now even in city centres we see vintage, second hand and up-cycled shops and fairs are appearing. In Cardiff a great new place called CFQ (Cardiff Fashion Quarter) has appeared. It opens everyday and even late in the evenings, perfect for me so I can choose this over the big shopping centres for urgent purchases and gifts.

We used a few new elements to put them all together, including: wire, beads, FIMO (polymer clay), earring hooks, embroidery thread and snail shells. Here are some photos of our creations:

Close up photo of upcycled Snail Shell EarringsI collected some snail shells while on holiday and they had pretty yellow and golden colours. We added some brown and golden beads along with gold wire and fastenings. I am a little afraid to wear them, in case I lean on the shells and break them but I am sure a good opportunity will arise soon. I love how beautiful and elegant adding natural items to jewellery can be.

Close up photo of upcycled Snail Shell EarringsThese creations were more of a repair job that have brought new life to a well-loved pair of earrings. We took apart an un-paired earring and used the small hanging disks to add more substance to this pair that had lost many of their beads and decorations. I had these earrings as a present from a friend who brought them back from Kuwait for me. It was extremely nice to give them a revamp; I can now love them again for many years to come.

Close up photo of upcycled Snail Shell EarringsThe larger beads were made in FIMO (polymer clay) and the small beads are wooden from an old broken pair of earrings. I used embroidery thread platted into stronger thicker lengths to string them together. My skills from many hours of making friendship bracelets as a teenager came in handy. I have already worn this pair numerous times as they bring a dash of bright colour to many outfits. I love pink, as three different shades were used, they perfectly match numerous items of clothing I own.

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An old necklace was carefully twisted to create this unique pair of earrings. Other necklaces and bracelets, which the string had broken on, I had carefully stored the beads away to be used again. They came in very useful in our crafting session; the snail shell earrings also featured the same beads. This pair I think are glamorous and I doubt anyone will guess they are made from old broken jewellery.

I was inspired to write this post by fellow bloggers. Paperbox Couture does amazing up-cycling in New Zealand. Seamless has some great principles to share on not buying new. She even lends a helping hand by asking you to make a pledge and has a community to help you keep your commitment. Last year at some of the Cardiff Blog events, I met many other inspiring craft and fashion bloggers with fabulous ideas and principles on this new emerging culture.

I hope this new wave of fashion and culture continues to grow and prosper; I know I will support it. Many of my friends and acquaintances are looking at up-cycling, home-made and second hand as a way to make or contribute to their income. Maybe one day I will also and help bring sustainability and recycling back to society as a profitable and valuable craft. I know my Grandma and Nana would approve.

Have you also started to up-cycle? Or choose revamped, second-hand and vintage over new? I would love to hear about your experiences.

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