Friday, September 19, 2014

Can I Take Your Order? Custom Jewelry Fun...

I recently sold a bunch of repurposed vintage jewelry to a somewhat local retail shop owner. She was so intrigued by the unique way I was able to take unusual objects and upcycle them into something wearable... that she entrusted me to create a few pieces from her own personal mementos. I was touched and honored, but when I got her box of goodies... Wow! It was filled with the most unique heirlooms I had ever seen! Here's what happened after that...

I tackled the easy one first. My client had a vintage strand of pearls she wanted to convert to a double strand, and paired with a pearl pin. The biggest hurdle was that the pin had an open area in the center which exposed the pin backing.

There were several solutions I could have gone with, and eventually chose the understated elegance of a vintage pearl button set behind the pin. Good thing I have such a large button collection! Current inventory: 2,846 white and off white buttons, now minus... 1!

Next I took on the task of upcycling a few of her favorite pieces —a trio of gold heirlooms — which included her mother's baby pin, her own birth charm, and the letter M from a monogram pin she had. The design of the piece is a challenge for my imagination, but I love putting disparate items together to make them look as if it were perfectly planned from the start. The engineering of the piece as I turn my vision into an actual wearable necklace... well, that's another story. And I have to confess that taking apart and drilling holes in people's one-of-a-kind mementos is a bit nerve wracking. But everything went smoothly!

After all that intensity, my mind needed a little break and I worked on my client's charm bracelet. Filled with tons of mementos from a vintage charm bracelet that belonged to her mom, then paired with a bunch of goodies I found from her own stash... this was lots of fun to work on. I do love a good charm bracelet. Made my want to make one for myself!

Then it was back to the most difficult but also the most intriguing piece of them all. With this perfectly patina'd necklace I incorporated a very unique carved, enameled pin with the letter P on it. I paired that with a vintage silver rattle that belonged to her mom. And the piece de resistance... her mom's carved, embossed silver birth bell. I had never seen heirlooms like this in my life. And the greatest part? They'll no longer be tucked quietly away in the jewelry box. They'll be the start of many, many interesting and touching conversations!

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michelle renee bernard