How to Revitalize an Heirloom

Brooch to Necklace - Blue, ©2009, Patricia C Vener

Brooch to Necklace – Blue, ©2009, Patricia C Vener

The season of gift giving for many people is coming up. In fact it’s pretty much already here. You might already be thinking about what to buy or make for your friends and loved ones. One idea is to transform a family heirloom jewelry piece that sits in a box dodging dust into one or more pieces that spend at least some time being worn or shown off. You can see some examples on my Transform page at my website.

Transforming means that you will be doing more than just repairing a broken necklace or bracelet. It means that you could be radically changing the whole visual statement. Be prepared to add as well as remove beads and findings. Consider turning a single necklace into a jewelry set, for example bracelet and earrings. Or divide up some outstanding art beads that graced your grandmother’s necklace into several pendants to share with your sisters, daughters, or nieces. Or create a masculine piece for a male relative.

The transformation can be simple or opulent. The only rule is the guiding principle that the piece no longer be always hidden away.

If you don’t want to or can’t do the work yourself you will find many jewelry artists who enjoy the challenge of redesigning unworn vintage and antique jewelry. I started out by transforming broken pieces picked up at tag sales and online auctions so that by the time I started doing this for others, l could do so with a foundation of some experience. You should choose an artist whose style is one you (or more importantly the recipient) admire.

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