Repairing Vintage and Retro Jewellery

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Vintage jewellery has a style and charm which is not always found among the racks of the modern costume jewellery store. With a few tools and a little know-how charming pieces can be repaired to make them wearable again. A little imagination can also allow the nimble fingered person to craft new creations from older pieces so they retain their romantic history but suit the modern wearer!

The following three examples are provided with pictures to get you started on a fascinating new hobby.

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Broken green glass necklace

This green glass necklace had come apart at several points. It is possible that some of the beads are missing as well, however, sufficient length is left to create an attractive necklace if the broken pieces are simply rejoined.

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1. I laid the two strands side by side attempting to determine their best alignment.

2. I rejoined the necklace at one point by opening a wire link using the jeweller's pliers, hooking the end link of the other piece over the open link and squeezing it shut again using the pliers.

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3. Even if it is long enough to drop right over your head, a necklace may be more classy with a catch. I sourced a fitting off another necklace with similar metal. (The second necklace was not worth repairing.)

4. Using the jeweller's pliers, I opened the link which attached the catch on the left side and slid it over one end of the necklace. I then squeezed the link closed.

5. Using the pliers I then opened the link which would attach the catch to the right side of the necklace. I inserted the end link of the necklace and squeezed the wire closed.

6. The finished necklace may not have the exact symmetry of the original, but is once again a complete necklace. It is also unique and a pleasing example of vintage glass jewellery.

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Transforming a heavy disk ear ring into a pendant

Heavy ear rings give me a headache! The brass tone disk on this ear ring was also discoloured and the ear ring was a single -- it had lost it's partner.

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1. I removed the ear hook by opening the wire using a jeweller's pliers.

2. This yielded 3 separate disks. The black one may have been onyx and the orange one may have been red agate. Both were attractive and worth using again.

3. I had some blue cord which I looped through the holes in the disks and knotted. I also knotted the ends at an easy necklace length. This created a simple necklace suitable for casual wear.

4. An alternate necklace could have been created by linking the two disks with a circular finding and stringing onto a silver toned chain. If I tire of my blue cord version I may do this.

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1970s orange feather earring

This ear ring would have been light and a delight to wear, but has sadly lost it's partner. As it has two large feathers and conveniently two of several other components, it should be possible to transform it back into a pair of earrings!

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1. Using the jeweller's pliers, separate all the components of the original ear ring.

2. Locate a similar ear hook fitting.

3. Lay the components out in pairs.

4. Attach one of each component type to each ear hook.

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5. Using the jeweler's pliers, squeeze the loop end of the ear hook fitting closed around the components, so they will hang correctly and not fall off during wear.

6. This creates two complete wearable earrings - resulting in a pair!

The resulting ear rings are not as spectacular as the 1970s originals would have been, but are still quite pleasing and have retro appeal.

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1 comment

dajine profile image

dajine 20 months ago from Kakanj, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Useful article, I like

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