Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What to do with Vintage Jewelry Components...

Many jewelry artists and mixed media artists today are focused on recycling, reusing and up-cycling vintage and antique jewelry making components for their jewelry designs. While I think using new jewelry components are necessary and relevant in today's market place, I applaud the desire to reuse a beautiful brooch or beads that had their heyday once but now are sitting in old crusty boxes somewhere in a dark warehouse wrapped in faded tissue. Using vintage components in a jewelry design gives it that added special touch that many people fall in love with. I find it gratifying to use vintage components and beading supplies in my designs knowing that some pieces of the past have found a new home and are not discarded for waste.

In the past several years it has become increasingly difficult to find quality vintage components. A few of my favorite items to use these days are vintage brass filigree stampings once used for the trade to make clip on earrings and brooches, these today can be transformed by adding patina, folding them over a center stone for a pendant or adding to a mixed media canvas for extra depth and dimension. Also worth noting are old chandelier parts. I love to put a photo or vintage picture glued behind a chandelier crystal and add some beaded chain for a one of a kind personalized necklace. Of course who can do without some fantastic vintage beads! There were so many great colors in the 40's and 50's, I love the banana yellows and the vibrant cherry reds. Giving your clients a piece of history in a handsomely crafted jewelry design is not only good for the environment but good for the soul.

To find some of these fabulous vintage components, you can look for some interesting pieces at a local garage sales, your local bead store or in antique malls but by far the best place I think is the internet for those really unique pieces. I come across all sorts of great, hard to find supplies out there on the internet. Using a few good search terms and words can yield the unexpected find like 'vintage jewelry components' or more specific 'vintage brass stamping'. If you don't know what something is called, use a basic term like 'vintage chandelier parts', then look at a suggested site and gather more specific terms like 'vintage two hole faceted crystal' or 'vintage large teardrop crystal'. By adding different combinations using two to three words in a search term, you may stumble upon a great website that carries exactly what you are looking for. Happy hunting!

Written by Denise Ferguson, Jewelry artist and collector. To see and collect some of my latest vintage finds go to http://www.houseoftwinkle.com

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