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Beautiful projects to make with unwearable antique jewellery and heirlooms

if you’ve got a piece of antique jewellery or an heirloom that has become unwearable because of its age, or damage, or you just want to modernise it, there is a simple way of transforming your item into a brand-new piece of jewellery. Follow these tips to turn an old piece of jewellery into something modern and new.

Simple Bracelet Method

You can do this with any piece of antique jewellery or heirloom that has lots of beads. Begin by removing the beads from its original form; you can do this easily by using craft scissors or wire snippers, but is a good idea to wear something to protect your eyes in case of stray beads or pieces of wire.

Next, take a piece of memory wire or stretch magic and measure it around your wrist. When you have the right length, snip the stretch magic off with craft scissors or use memory wire cutters for the memory wire: be careful when using this as it can sometimes spring back and the wire is sharp if it catches against your skin.

Now thread the beads in the order that you like. You might find it easier to sketch out a design before you start or perhaps use a beading board to help decide the sequence. For a different look, you could thread charms or spacer beads in between each of the beads.

Finishing your bracelet

There are several ways to finish a memory wire bracelet, but these two are among the easiest. The first method is to start by creating a loop before you start threading by using round nose pliers. You can find full instructions for that here, and then make an identical loop when you have finished.

The next method you can use is a beading cap. To do this, smooth the end of the memory wire down with some sandpaper and then apply some jewellery glue. Leave to dry, and then repeat on the other end when you have finished threading the beads.

If you are using stretch magic, allow plenty of space on each, stretch out the cord a few times and then tie a knot. Instructions on how to tie a secure knot can be found here.

Conclusion: there are many different ways of transforming old jewellery; the method detailed above is just one option. However, if you want expert advice on how to turn a classic piece into a contemporary design, ask a gemmologist for help.

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