Adapting Vintage Charms to a Pandora Charm Bracelet
Your Favorite Vintage Charms are Not Obsolete
If you love vintage charms and charm bracelets and worry that your beloved charms are now obsolete, with the introduction of Pandora charm bracelets, never fear. There is an easy way to adapt your gold and sterling charms for use on a Pandora Bracelet. I'll show you how do it yourself or where to go to get it done for you. I'll also share with you other delightful things you can use as charms for Pandora bracelets.
This is my Pandora bracelet. It holds many of my favorite charms that I've adapted to fit Pandora. I makes my Pandora bracelet feel a little bit more like..."me".
All Photos by Diane Cass
How to Adapt Your Vintage Charms
Adapting your favorite vintage charms is easy, if you have the proper tools. By making a few jump rings, your charms will be able to hang on Pandora's cable-like bracelet. Here is what you will need.
18 - 20 gauge sterling silver wire
Round Nose Pliers (optional)
Side Wire Cutters
1/4" diameter crochet hook (size J), knitting needle, wooden dowel, metal rod or chipstick
Fine Metal Nail File
1 - Holding one end of the wire in place next to your stick, wrap your sterling silver wire around it, making a 1" section. of tightly coiled wire
2 - Remove the wire from the stick
3 - Snip rings off of wrapped section, one at a time with the wire cutters
4 - File ends of each ring until smooth and no sharp edges remain
See the video below for a demonstration of how to do this. .
Stuff You Might Need For This Project
Making Sterling Silver Jump Rings the Easy Way
This is a good, clear demonstration of jump ring making.
Hardening Sterling Silver Jump Rings
Newly made sterling silver jump rings are too soft to use in jewelry. They will easily pull apart. You can avoid this, and the loss of your treasured charms by hardening the jump rings. Hardening happens when metal is beaten. You don't want to distort the rings though, so the best way to do this is with a tumbler and small steel shot. The video below demonstrates how easy this is.
Soldering Jump Rings
Jump Rings, unsoldered, can catch on clothing and pull open. You can avoid this by soldering them closed after you place them on your charm. Use a little silver paste and a blow torch, while holding the ring with some long nosed pliers. This video demonstrates how easy it is to protect your charms by soldering the jump rings closed.
Things You Might Need for Soldering
Other Things You Can Use for Pandora Charms
Do you have single earrings without their mates? Small pendants you don't wear anymore, but still like? Why not make them into charms for your Pandora bracelet?
Many of the charms on my bracelet are single earrings, like the little smoky quartz in the picture. The turquoise charm was a small pendant. I enjoy finding new ways to use old things. I hate to see them fall into disuse or worse...get thrown away.
Make jump rings to add them to your Pandora charm bracelet, or if yout don't feel crafty, take them to your local jeweler and have them make the rings for you. I had my jeweler make some of mine. They were about $5 each, including the soldering.
Don't Want to Do This Yourself? No Problem.
Take the charms you want to add to your bracelet to a local jeweler who does custom work. They can create the silver rings you need for a reasonable price. My local jeweler charged me $5 each for materials and labor. That's very affordable if you only have a few charms to put on. Ask around to get the best price.
I've loved charm bracelets all of my life. Many people have a treasured bracelet that is a little story of their life; where they've been, what they did, who was important to them. Do you have a charm bracelet? If so, what is your favorite charm, and why? Does your bracelet have a theme?