The Great Necklace Making Makeover: How to Update Vintage Jewelry
Fast forward to 1995, and the first time my husband brought me up to Lake Placid, New York for a vacation during the February Winter Carnival in nearby Saranac Lake. As we walked along Lake Placid’s Main Street, I wanted to go into every single antique store I saw—and there were a lot of them. It wasn’t a deciding factor, but one of the great things about living near Lake Placid is that there are plenty of curio shops full of antiques, including vintage and antique beaded necklaces.
Earlier this year, my dear friend sent me a huge box of vintage and antique jewelry that belonged to her stepfather’s first wife. Her stepfather and his wife traveled all over the world while he was in the United States Army, and when they traveled, she collected beautiful jewelry from every corner of the world. After he passed away last year, the jewelry went to my friend, who thoughtfully sent me a huge box of it with some truly beautiful and unique vintage pieces.
I loved the long, white tube beads in this necklace, and my first thought was that I wanted to turn this piece into something with a lot of fringe. I’d seen a whole lot of glass bead necklaces in my local Target store over the weekend, and I wanted to use these vintage beads to make a fashionable, modern necklace.
Using the plastic rounds and seed beads, I stitched a quick base using right-angle weave. Then I started stringing the fringe between units of right-angle weave, graduating the strands from one side to the other.
Finally, I found the perfect vintage button in my stash for the clasp, and there it was! Everything old is new again, or so they say, and that holds true even for my necklace making projects when I reuse vintage jewelry and vintage beads to create brand-new designs.
I’ll bet if you took a look through your jewelry box, you’d find some great vintage jewelry that you can re-use in brand new necklace making projects! Maybe you’ve got some jewelry with a story behind it—did it belong to your mother, your grandmother, or a beloved aunt? Maybe it’s a piece that you found on a weekend trip with your significant other. Whatever it is, you can incorporate a piece of the past into a new piece of beaded jewelry.
Have you ever taken a piece of vintage jewelry and turned it into something new? If you have before and after photos, post them in the Reader Photo Gallery to inspire us!