Nautical Redesign

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. But if it is broken, why not make it better? This is the basic mantra for up-cycling materials that have seen livelier days.

Necklace and Bracelet made from repurposed vintage beads

Necklace and Bracelet made from repurposed vintage beads

My Grandma is a stylish woman. As a child, I liked to dress up in her costume jewelry. She set aside an old jewelry box of treasures for my cousins and I to play with. She never tossed any jewelry away, even after the strands broke or the clasp came apart. Eventually, a two-gallon bag of broken costume jewelry came my way. Some of the pieces were beyond repair, while time had surpassed the others in style. Grandma gave them to me to recreate, repair, and restore.

The inspiration for this Nautical necklace and bracelet set stems from both my grandparents. The beads are from two of my Grandma’s necklaces, and remind me of summertime when she would wear these with her red, white, and blue outfits. The water is also very near to my family, since my Grandpa is a Navy Veteran.

The blue beads are bold and stand out from the white in a daring way, as if crying out to be noticed. The gold spacer beads on the other hand have the opposite effect and offer a more neutral balance.

The gold spacers give the blue and white a touch of elegance.

The gold spacers give the blue and white a touch of elegance.

A mixture of beads from a few different pieces of costume jewelry.

A mixture of beads from a few different pieces of costume jewelry.

Working with my Grandma’s beads gives me more of an appreciation for the craftsmanship and what people look for in their jewelry. Both my grandmothers want easy-to-wear jewelry. That’s why, though the necklace has a clasp, the bracelet is actually elastic and slides easily onto the wrist.

The result is a set that revitalizes two broken necklaces into fresh new piece ready to take on the world.

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