Thrift Shop Jewelry Stringing Finds

A few weeks ago, my best friend and I headed to our local thrift shop for a quick Saturday morning outing. Whenever I’m at the thrift shop, I make sure to browse the jewelry selection, since you never know what you might find that can be recycled or upcycled into a cool new jewelry-making project! This trip yielded three little treasures: a stretchy bracelet with freshwater pearls, coral, and lava (basalt) rondelles; a strand of pretty white shell heishi beads; and a fun gold mesh bangle bracelet.

My most recent thrift shop jewelry finds: white shell heishi, stretchy bracelet with assorted gemstones, and a gold mesh bangle bracelet. Total cost: $6.50
Coral, freshwater pearl, and lava (basalt) rondelles make this a powerful healing bracelet

The stretchy cord on the bracelet was well past its useful shelf life, so to speak, so I cut it apart and restrung it on a brand-new piece of cord. It’s the perfect size for my tiny wrist, but the colors still look a little too Halloween-y for me, so this one may get another makeover in the near future. Coral and lava (basalt) have some pretty interesting metaphysical properties, too. According to my favorite gemstone reference book, coral is believed to quiet the emotions and bring peace to your inner self. It also facilitates intuition, imagination, and visualization, and can help you tap into the knowledge handed down by past spiritual masters. Lava (also called basalt) is believed to provide strength for enduring difficult times in life, assisting with changes and bringing stability through those changes. This is one bracelet that will require a little more careful thought for me to re-design.

It might have just looked like a simple strand of white shell heishi beads, but when I mixed it with a strand of smooth turquoise pebbles and a strand of dramatic deep red coral branches, it became part of a beautiful symphony of gemstone and shell beads! I finished this dramatic piece with a gorgeously detailed 3-strand box clasp from A Grain of Sand, and I predict that I’m going to get a lot of wear from this beaded necklace. When it comes to repurposing a simple strand of gemstone beads, I say, go big or go home!

Go big or go home! White shell heishi beads are the perfect accent for tiny tumbled turquoise nuggets and red coral sticks

My last challenge was the gold metal mesh bangle bracelet. It looked like it needed some love, so I thought about adding some vintage glass pearls (also from A Grain of Sand) and some of my favorite 3mm crystal bicone beads for a little extra sparkle. I strung a loop of beads, alternating pearls and crystals, that fit snugly and securely around the bangle and nestled up against the raised center ridge. But then my real challenge became how I would secure them to the mesh bangle. I’ve tried everything so far — my beading needle doesn’t fit through the mesh. I’m having a hard time poking the beading thread (I used 10 lb. Wildfire as my stringing material here) through the mesh, too. My last option is…glue? Put your creative jewelry-making thinking caps on, and if you can help me find a solution to this particular quandry, I’d be most appreciative.

The vintage pearls and crystals look beautiful, but how do I get them to stay put?

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Bead Happy,


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