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Friday, November 19, 2010

Five Essentials to Update Your Jewelry Box

     With these five essential elements, you can transform tired and worn costume or vintage jewelry into fabulous new creations:

1.  Courage!  It takes courage to tear up old jewelry, especially sentimental pieces.  Rule of thumb:  If it gives you heartburn, don't do it.  Go to a thrift store and find something cool without the sentiment attached to it.

Basic Jewelry Tools
2.  Tools and Techniques.  I use three tools over and over:  good wire cutters, long nose pliers and round nose pliers.  With a small investment in tools, you can do a lot of creative damage!  Once you invest in the tools, learn a few simple techniques like how to open and close a jump ring and how to loop wire.  You Tube is a great source for learning basic wire jewelry techniques.  Check out this video:  YouTube - Looping Method For Wire Wrapping

Jump Rings
3.  Jump rings.  Jump rings come in a variety of sizes, thickness and materials.  I use 7 mm jump rings most often to attach charms, brooches, pins and chain.  I use sterling silver and gold filled jump rings for most projects, but you may want to use less expensive silver tone or gold tone jump rings, depending upon the value of the piece.

4.  Head pins and eye pins.  I'm lumping these two items into one category.  You can use wire head pins and eye pins to restring jewelry, create earrings from old beads, attach brooches to chain, and much, much more.  Often I'll take a an old vintage double or triple strand necklace and restring the beads vertically using new head and eye pins.

Vintage chain

5.  Chain.  Old or new, chain can be used to refashion jewelry into major statement pieces.  I buy chain by the yard at jewelry supply stores, but sometimes I'll hit the clearance aisle at Kohls or Target to pick up chain.  I disregard the pendants and beads, since I'm primarily looking for quality chain, and fastenings.

With a small investment in a few tools and techniques, you can transform your jewelry into new, sparkling treasures like these:

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